Craig used Chris Leben
as a springboard.
Knees from the clinch, well-disguised takedowns and crisp, accurate
combinations spurred the former Legacy Fighting Championship
titleholder to a split decision over Leben at UFC 162 “Silva vs.
Weidman” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Two of the three cageside judges ruled in Craig’s favor by 29-28
and 30-27 scores; a third cast a dissenting 29-28 nod for Leben
(22-10, 12-9 UFC).
Craig (9-1, 3-1 UFC) utilized a multi-pronged standup attack,
oftentimes using Leben’s relentless aggression against him. “The
Crippler” kept moving forward, and the well-rounded Houston-based
middleweight kept feeding him punches, knees and standing elbows.
Craig punctuated the most significant victory of his career with a
strong third round, where he nearly finished Leben with a shower of
surgical strikes to the head.
“I wouldn’t say I avoided all of [his punches],” Craig said. “He
hits as hard as a rock. He makes other people feel like they hit
soft, so I’m just happy with the win. My hands hurt like crazy. I
can’t believe I didn’t finish him.”
Parke Outpoints Tokudome, Wins Eighth Straight
A steady stream of overhand lefts, timely takedowns and strong
defensive grappling carried “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes”
Parke to a unanimous decision over Pancrase veteran Kazuki
Tokudome in an undercard bout at 155 pounds. All three cageside
judges scored it for Parke (18-2, 2-0 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and
Tokudome (12-4-1, 1-1 UFC) never adjusted to his opponent’s
approach. Parke blasted him repeatedly with left hands over the
top, mixed in the occasional takedown and briefly transitioned to
full mount in the second round. Tokudome did his best work in round
three, where he stayed in the Irishman’s face with punches and
countered a takedown with one of his own. Still, it was not enough
to woo the judges.
Parke has won eight consecutive fights.
Gonzaga Fells Herman in 17 Seconds
Team Link’s Gabriel
Gonzaga dispatched the enigmatic Dave Herman
with a short counter right hand and follow-up blows in the first
round of their brief preliminary heavyweight matchup. Gonzaga
(15-7, 10-6 UFC) sealed the deal just 17 seconds into round
Herman (21-6, 1-4 UFC) pecked away with a few front kicks and made
the mistake of lowering his guard against the brick-fisted
Brazilian. Gonzaga answered an inside low kick from the 28-year-old
Fort Wayne, Ind., native with an exquisite counter right hand. A
dazed Herman collapsed, and “Napao” swarmed him with punches for
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/UFC
Barboza chopped Oliveira down with low kicks.
Barboza Leg Kicks Overwhelm Oliveira
Former Ring of Combat champion Edson
Barboza wrecked Rafaello
Oliveira with a volley of savage leg kicks, as he halted the
South Carolina-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in the second
round of their undercard tilt at 155 pounds. Oliveira (16-6, 2-5
UFC) succumbed to the blows 1:44 into round two.
Barboza (12-1, 6-1 UFC) zeroed in on the leg from the start, and
his countryman was powerless against his attacks. Oliveira did what
he could to withstand the barrage and landed the occasional punch,
but his inability to get the fight to the ground made him a sitting
duck on the feet.
Two final leg kicks forced a crippled Oliveira to his back and led
referee Herb Dean to
intervene on his behalf.
Melancon Beats Buzzer, KOs Baczynski
Strikeforce veteran Brian
Melancon wowed the crowd in his promotional debut, as he wiped
out “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum Seth
Baczynski with first-round punches in a preliminary
welterweight affair. Melancon (7-2, 1-0 UFC) left “The Polish
Pistola” bloodied and unconscious 4:59 into round one.
The Houston-based Melancon had Baczynski (18-10, 4-3 UFC) reeling
throughout their encounter, as he put his powerful left hand to use
and also countered to great effect. Late in the first round, he
delivered a takedown, moved to half guard and blasted away with
punches until his work was done.
Pierce Stops Mitchell, Pushes Streak to Four
Sports Lab representative Mike Pierce
put away David
Mitchell with a second-round left hook and follow-up punches in
an undercard battle at 170 pounds. Pierce (17-5, 9-3 UFC) drew it
to a close 2:55 into round two, as he won for the fourth time in as
Mitchell (12-3, 1-3 UFC) more than held his own through the first
five minutes, as he frustrated the rugged Oregonian with his
defensive wrestling and did some solid work in the clinch. Pierce
made his move in the second, as he floored the Nor-Cal Fighting
Alliance export with a left hook and then finished it with a series
of right hands.