Nick Ring punishing James Head

The UFC 131 prelims hit Youtube and Facebook on Saturday night, with some emphatic finishes from a couple of fights and a controversial decision to open the show.

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Mike Massenzio
Give credit to Mike Massenzio for stepping up on short notice and moving up to 205lbs for a chance to come back to the UFC, but Krzysztof Soszynski was simply too much, winning a unanimous decision at UFC 131.

Finally facing Massenzio after three opponent switches, Soszynski still performed almost flawlessly, stuffing the wrestler’s takedown attempts and cracking him with big shots in every round.

Massenzio’s only success came during the first five minutes when he did manage to get Soszynski to the ground, but after that it was all down hill.

Soszynski stuffed every takedown attempt and in the third round, with Massenzio turtled up, the Canadian unloaded huge knees to the ribs of his opponent. The judges gave Soszynski the nod by unanimous decision, but the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ still wanted to apologize for not finishing his opponent.

“Three days ago I got the news that I’m fighting a wrestler, I just wasn’t prepared for a wrestler,” Soszynsnki explained. “I felt great, my conditioning was good, I just wish I would have finished.”

Nick Ring vs. James Head

Nick Ring had to battle back from a knockdown in the first round, but he made up for it by absolutely dominating and then finishing James Head by rear naked choke.

As the fighters exchanged strikes in the opening stanza, Head caught Ring with a good punch as the Canadian stepped forward, and it staggered him and landed Ring on the mat. Head tried to follow up, but Ring did a good job playing defense and recovered effectively.

The rest of the fight was as one sided as a fight can get.

Ring took Head down and opened a nasty cut that started bleeding in his eye, and the Canadian was relentless with his offensive onslaught. By the midway point of the 3rd round, Head was exhausted and covered in his own blood.

Ring took advantage and following his punishing attack, sunk in a rear naked choke to which Head had no answer for, and had to tap. Ring is now 2-0 since re-entering the UFC after being forced out of the 11th season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ due to injury.

Joey Beltran and Aaron Rosa at UFC 131

Joey Beltran TKO's Aaron Rosa at UFC 131.


Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young

Dustin Poirier found out real quick that British newcomer Jason Young was going to give him a fight.

The two young featherweights came out firing like machine guns, with Poirier getting the better of Young when the fight started. A student of UFC middleweight Tim Credeur, Poirier knows all too well how to get in a scrap.

Poirier was throwing his punches with pure power, and opened a large gash on Young’s head that caused quite a bit of bleeding, but nothing that endangered the fight from continuing. After an exhausting first round, Poirier slowed down in the 2nd, and the result was Young eating away at his opponent’s lead leg with inside kicks.

The damage done was enough for Poirier to look for a ground fight in the third round, where he dragged Young down and controlled the action. Poirier kept the fight in his favor until the final horn sounded, and picked up a unanimous decision win.

Joey Beltran vs. Aaron Rosa

It wasn’t the most technical fight, but it was a battle.

Joey Beltran and Aaron Rosa threw everything at each other including the kitchen sink. The two heavyweights blasted away at each other for 2 solid rounds before Beltran finally took the heat up a level in the final 5 minutes.

While Beltran likely won both of the first two rounds landing the better and crisper strikes, in the 3rd round he decided he wanted a finish.

Tagging Rosa with a big punch that dropped the former Strikeforce fighter, Beltran just never let up the pressure until he had his opponent on the mat and begging for air.

Beltran blasted away at Rosa with elbows and hammer fists until blood started flowing on Rosa’s face, and the referee had seen enough. The win puts Beltran back on track after suffering losses in his last two fights.

Michihiro Omigawa vs. Darren Elkins

Darren Elkins pulled out a razor close decision over Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 131 to get his first win at featherweight, but not without a fair amount of criticism from the judges scoring the fight.

Elkins and Omigawa went back and forth with strikes for the biggest part of their 15 minute fight, but the Japanese fighter appeared to be getting the better of the exchanges.

Omigawa also opened several large cuts on Elkins’ head that saw his face become a crimson mask as the fight wore on. The former Sengoku fighter managed to get the fight to the ground as well, landing several nice strikes on Elkins’ head before getting back to the feet.

To Elkins’ credit he stuck in the pocket and landed some glancing blows to Omigawa, but didn’t seem to do much damage.

The judges ruled the fight 29-28, 29-28, and a shocking 30-27 score for Darren Elkins. UFC President Dana White commented after the fight on Twitter that he believed Omigawa was robbed in the fight.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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