Cyrille Diabate shocked Chad Griggs with a rear-naked choke in round one. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images


A series of illegal hammerfists to the back of the head resulted in Alessio Sakara being disqualified against Patrick Cote at UFC 154 “St. Pierre vs. Condit” on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The middleweight bout ended just 86 seconds after it began.

Cote (18-8, 5-8 UFC) scored with dirty boxing at the start, only to be pinned against the cage by the American Top Team export. Sakara hurt the Canadian badly with a pair of standing elbows and a right hand but lost his way with Cote diving at his legs in desperation. He repeatedly struck the back of Cote’s head with hammerfists, leading to an anticlimactic conclusion.

“I was expecting a war with Alessio, and that’s exactly what he gave me,” Cote said. “But listen, there are rules for a reason. I wanted to give you the best show possible. If Sakara wants to fight me again, I’ll take him. We’re going to give you the best show possible.”

Sakara (15-10, 6-7 UFC) was apologetic afterward.

“I already felt like he was out when I was throwing the elbows,” he said. “When [Cote] went down, [the illegal shots] were not intentional. I didn’t have any intention to hit him [in the back of the head]. It was an adrenaline time in the moment. I’m so sorry to finish the fight like this. Guys, I’m not a crazy guy. I’m a sporting guy. I’m sorry.”

Diabate Choke Finishes Griggs


Pride Fighting Championships veteran Cyrille Diabate submitted Chad Griggs with a first-round rear-naked choke in an undercard tilt at 205 pounds. Griggs (11-3, 0-2 UFC) conceded defeat 2:24 into round one, finished for the second time in as many Octagon appearances.

Diabate (19-8-1, 4-2 UFC) folded the Strikeforce import with a precision left cross to the nose inside the first 30 seconds. Bleeding profusely, Griggs was on the defensive from that point forward. Diabate thwarted a desperate takedown attempt, moved to the Arizonan’s back and cinched the palm-to-palm rear-naked choke for the finish.

“I was looking for the knockout, but he gave me the opportunity to try to submit [him], and I went for it,” said Diabate, who has recorded nine wins in his last 11 outings. “This is very sweet. I’m a striker, so I like going for submissions, and I got it tonight.”

Makdessi Halts Skid, Outduels Stout


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Makdessi outpointed his fellow countryman.

Tristar Gym representative John Makdessi was in prime form, as he halted a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over fellow Canadian Sam Stout in a preliminary lightweight match. All three cageside judges saw it for Makdessi (10-2, 3-2 UFC) by 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27 scores.

The jab was Makdessi’s weapon of choice, and it was a beauty. He repeatedly snapped back Stout’s head with the punch, keeping the Team Tompkins export at bay.

Makdessi also countered effectively against the aggressive Stout (18-8-1, 7-7 UFC), pairing clean standup with airtight takedown defense. Stout picked up his pace in the second and third rounds, but never found a path to victory through the Makdessi jab.

Carvalho Edges Damm on Cards


Backed by punishing low kicks, Antonio Carvalho picked up a narrow split decision against “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 alum Rodrigo Damm in an undercard featherweight encounter. All three judges saw it 29-28, two of them siding with Carvalho (15-5, 2-1 UFC).

Carvalho repeatedly whipped his shin into the lead leg of his opponent, leaving visible damage above the knee. Damm (10-6, 1-1 UFC) did well in spurts, utilizing combinations and nearly taking the Canadian’s back during a scramble in the second round. However, he had no answer for Carvalho’s assault on his legs. Damm has lost five of his last seven bouts.

‘Deep Waters’ Riddle Outpoints Maguire


“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Matt Riddle captured a unanimous decision from Englishman John Maguire in a rather non-descript undercard affair at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Riddle (7-3, 7-3 UFC) by 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 counts.

Riddle controlled the standup and the clinch, attacking his foe with jabs and leg kicks from a distance while mixing in knees in close quarters. The 26-year-old Allentown, Pa., native fought at a measured pace outside of a few brawling bursts in the second and third rounds. Riddle did well to avoid the Maguire (18-5, 2-2 UFC) guard, though he wandered into an attempted guillotine choke in the closing seconds of round three.

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Menjivar was at the top of his game.

Menjivar Armbar Submits Gashimov


Tristar Gym’s Ivan Menjivar submitted Russian newcomer Azamat Gashimov with a first-round armbar in a preliminary bantamweight bout. Menjivar (25-9, 4-2 UFC) finished it 2:44 into round one, as he won for the fourth time in five fights.

Gashimov (7-2, 0-1 UFC) delivered a takedown inside the first minute and immediately found himself trapped inside the dangerous Menjivar guard. The 30-year-old El Salvador native stayed aggressive from the bottom, avoided an attempted Ezekiel choke and snatched Gashimov’s arm in a blink. Menjivar went belly-down with the hold, hyperextending his 22-year-old foe’s limb at a gruesome angle.

Elkins Wins Fourth Straight


Takedowns, ground-and-pound and a relentless stream of submission attempts carried Darren Elkins to a one-sided unanimous decision over Steven Siler in an undercard battle at 145 pounds.

All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Elkins (15-2, 5-1 UFC).

Elkins struck for takedowns in all three rounds, totaling six of them in the 15-minute encounter. When he was not scoring with elbows, hammerfists and standing-to-ground punches, the Duneland Vale Tudo representative was threatening Siler (21-10, 3-1 UFC) with chokes. Elkins was particularly dominant in the second round, where he battered “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 alum on the ground and nearly finished him with a rear-naked choke.

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