UFC 140 Prelims: Pokrajac Blasts Soszynski in 35 Seconds


Igor Pokrajac did not waste any time.

The 32-year-old Mirko Filipovic protégé knocked out “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 semifinalist Krzysztof Soszynski with a brutal first-round flurry at UFC 140 “Jones vs. Machida” on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Soszynski (26-12-1, 6-3 UFC) lay unconscious at the foot of the cage 35 seconds into round one.

After absorbing a straight right from “The Polish Experiment,” Pokrajac (24-8, 2-4 UFC) moved forward with a series of stinging straight punches. A volley of lefts and rights buried Soszynski, and the Croat followed him to the ground. Brutal shots turned out the lights and gave Pokrajac (Pictured) the most significant victory of his six-fight UFC tenure.

Serra-Longo Fight Team representative Constantinos Philippou laid waste to Jared Hamman, as he delivered a devastating first-round knockout in a middleweight contest. It came to a merciful conclusion 3:11 into round one.

Known for his ability to absorb punishment, Hamman could not withstand the relentless Philippou onslaught. A two-punch combination sent Hamman (13-4, 2-3 UFC) into retreat mode, and a right hand put him down. He was never the same. Philippou (9-2, 1 NC, 2-1 UFC) landed at will from that moment forward and polished off the Californian with heavy punches on the cage.

“It was about time,” Philippou said. “I wanted to apologize [after my last fight], but this is it. This is who I am. I belong here. This is the best day of my life.”

Dennis Hallman ran a clinic on the previously undefeated John Makdessi, submitting the Tristar Gym representative with a first-round rear-naked choke in a woefully one-sided preliminary lightweight matchup. The tapout came 2:58 into round one. Makdessi (9-1, 2-1 UFC) did not mount a shred of meaningful offense.

Hallman (50-15-2, 1 NC, 4-5 UFC) pushed immediately to the clinch, dragged Makdessi to the ground -- despite the Canadian twice grabbing the cage -- and went to work on him. He moved to Makdessi’s back, softened him with punches and lured him into mount. More punches and elbows forced Makdessi to his stomach again, and Hallman cinched the choke with virtually no resistance.

“I didn’t want to stand up with that kid,” said Hallman, who failed to make weight in his return to the 155-pound division. “I’ve seen his fights. [He has] unbelievable standup, and I didn’t want to get caught up in that. Luckily, my game plan worked.”

Hallman plans to remain at lightweight.

“I’m going to stay at 155 [pounds],” he said. “I wanted to make that point. This fight is kind of a wash. I apologize to John for missing weight. Put a little asterisk next to the victory, because I didn’t make weight.”

Haitian-born Canadian Yves Jabouin outdueled Walel Watson in an entertaining bantamweight bout, as he captured a split decision at 135 pounds. Two of the three cageside judges scored it for Jabouin by 30-27 and 29-28 counts; a third cast a dissenting 29-28 vote in favor of Watson.

The two men traded flashy strikes throughout the 15-minute encounter, as the spinning-back fists and wheel kicks flew. Jabouin (17-7, 2-1 UFC) countered effectively early, dipping inside Watson’s five-inch reach and seven-inch height advantage. He also delivered a trip takedown.

Mark Bocek File Photo


Bocek outpointed Lentz.

Rounds two and three were far more competitive, as Jabouin attacked with kicks to the legs and body. However, he found himself trapped inside a guillotine choke in the second round and a brabo choke in the third. He escaped both and left with his third victory in four outings. Watson (9-3, 1-1 UFC) saw his two-fight winning streak come to a halt.

Toronto native Mark Bocek halted Nik Lentz’s 15-fight unbeaten streak, as he recorded a unanimous decision in a preliminary lightweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Bocek (10-4, 6-4 UFC).

Bocek gave Lentz (21-4-2, 1 NC, 5-1-1, 1 NC UFC) a taste of his own medicine, as he landed multiple takedowns, weathered the Minnesotan’s guillotine attempts from the bottom and peppered him with ground-and-pound in all three rounds.

Bocek did his best work in the third round, where he scored with two takedowns and pelted Lentz with strikes from the top, including hammerfists to the head and an axe kick to the gut.

The defeat was Lentz’s first since March 2007.

Welterweight newcomer Jake Hecht put away American Top Team representative Rich Attonito with second-round elbows and punches in a preliminary showdown at 170 pounds. Attonito (10-5, 3-2 UFC) met his end 70 seconds into round two.

Attonito was in charge through the first five minutes, as he grounded Hecht and scored with ground-and-pound. However, he failed to carry the momentum into the second round. Caught in a tie-up, Hecht (11-2, 1-0 UFC) floored “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum with a pair of elbows to the head, trailed him to the mat and unleashed roughly a dozen punches for the finish. A 27-year-old Fiore MMA representative, Hecht has rattled off four consecutive wins, none more important than this one.

Former Ring of Combat champion John Cholish stopped the previously unbeaten Mitch Clarke on second-round punches in a preliminary lightweight tilt between two UFC rookies. Cholish (8-1, 1-0 UFC) brought a close to the encounter 4:36 into round two, as he recorded his eighth consecutive victory.

Cholish, a 27-year-old Renzo Gracie protégé, backed up the Canadian with power punches in the second round, drove him to the canvas, transitioned to mount in a scramble and moved to his foe’s back in a blink. Heavy blows fell from above, and, with Clarke (9-1, 0-1 UFC) no longer defending himself, referee “Big” John McCarthy elected to intervene.

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