Dunham decisioned Shamar Bailey at UFC Fight Night 25. | File
Dunham simply had more tools with which to work.
Dunham returned to the win column with a unanimous decision over
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 quarterfinalist Shamar
Bailey at UFC Fight
Night 25 on Saturday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
in New Orleans. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who not long ago
was ranked in the Top 10 at 155 pounds, Dunham (12-2, 5-2 UFC)
utilized a polished, well-rounded striking game and excellent
takedown defense in securing the nod from the judges, all three of
which saw it 30-27 in his favor.
In a stellar performance, Dunham landed virtually at will
throughout the 15-minute encounter and shut down Bailey’s
takedowns, the most viable option in the Integrated Fighting
Academy representative’s arsenal. Combinations from Dunham grew in
intensity and volume as the fight deepened, as the 29-year-old
Oregonian mixed in head kicks, straight lefts, right uppercuts and
left hooks and attacked Bailey (12-4, 1-1 UFC) with constant and
effective aggression. By round three, Bailey’s face was swollen
from the punishment.
The victory put the brakes on a two-fight losing streak for Dunham,
who rebounded nicely from defeats to former UFC lightweight
champion Sean Sherk and
surging 155-pound contender Melvin
Rocha submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 alum Cody
McKenzie with a second-round rear-naked choke, as the
Popovitch disciple recorded his first win inside the Octagon.
McKenzie (12-2, 1-2 UFC) waved the white flag 3:49 into round
The two lightweights exchanged submission attempts throughout their
matchup, and Rocha defended against McKenzie’s trademark guillotine
without much difficulty. In the second round, the Alaskan succumbed
to a takedown and freed himself from a brabo choke, but he
eventually surrendered his back and found himself in full mount
underneath a world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. The end
was near. Rocha (7-2, 1-1 UFC) showered him with punches, forced
him back to his stomach and cinched the choke for the finish.
Undefeated St. Louis-based prospect Lance
Benoist made a strong first impression, as he outpointed “The
Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Matt Riddle
in his Octagon debut. Benoist (6-0, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards
by matching 29-28 counts in the preliminary welterweight duel.
Benoist opened with a strong first round, as he stung Riddle with
punches, reversed a takedown into full mount with a textbook kimura
sweep and battered the 25-year-old Allentown, Pa., native with a
barrage of punches and elbows from top position. Benoist exchanged
second-round takedowns with Riddle and looked to improve his
position despite the blood leaking from his visibly broken nose. He
closed out the frame with more ground-and-pound, but his pace had
slowed -- and noticeably so.
The third period belonged to Riddle (5-3, 5-3 UFC), who secured a
takedown and attacked with knees to the body and elbows to the
head. Blood was plentiful. He closed in top position as the fresher
of the two, but Benoist’s two-round advantage proved too great a
hurdle to clear.
American Top Team representative Ken Stone
needed a little more than half a round to submit Donny
Walker with a rear-naked choke in their bantamweight bout, as
he rendered the 31-year-old veteran unconscious 2:40 into round
one. The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for Stone (10-3,
Stone softened his opponent with knees from the clinch prior to
securing a trip takedown. With that, the advantage was his. Elbows
and punches followed, as Stone attached himself to Walker’s back as
he stood near the cage. Soon after, Stone brought the bout back
down to the canvas and cinched the rear-naked choke. Walker (15-8,
0-2 UFC) refused to tap out, rolled to his stomach and went
Baczynski File Photo
Baczynski tapped out Harvison.
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum Seth
Baczynski extended his winning streak to three fights, as he
coaxed a second-round tapout from Clay
Harvison with a rear-naked choke. Harvison asked out of the
preliminary welterweight tilt 72 seconds into round two.
Baczynski (14-6, 1-1 UFC) struck his foe into retreat throughout a
one-sided first round, as he landed knees, punches, kicks and
elbows with regularity. With that, the table for victory was set.
He backed up a few low kicks with a ringing right uppercut that
sent Harvison (7-2, 1-1 UFC) to the floor early in the second
round. Elbows and punches followed, as Baszynski forced his
opponent to surrender his back. The choke came next, providing a
Fights welterweight champion T.J.
Waldburger won for the fifth time in six outings, as he
submitted late replacement Mike Stumpf
with a first-round triangle choke in a preliminary pairing at 170
pounds. The end came 3:52 into round one.
Stumpf (11-3, 0-1 UFC) immediately found himself on the defensive,
as a low kick knocked him off balance and opened the door for
Waldburger. The 23-year-old Texan capitalized, moved to Stumpf’s
back and threatened with a rear-naked choke. The Jeff Curran
understudy defended well and secured a brief reversal, though he
ultimately wound up back on the mat. Later, a flying knee attempt
failed and led to another takedown from Waldburger (14-6, 2-1 UFC).
He moved to side control, tried for an armbar and then transitioned
beautifully to a triangle for the finish.
Low kicks and superb takedown defense carried Strikeforce
Peralta to a unanimous verdict over Mike Lullo in
a preliminary featherweight bout. Peralta (15-3, 1-0 UFC), who has
rattled off eight consecutive victories, swept the scorecards:
30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Peralta established his superiority right out of the gate, as he
whipped out the kicks to Lullo’s legs, made him pay for attempted
takedowns and floored him briefly with a body kick late in the
first round. Lullo (8-3, 0-2 UFC) emerged from his corner in the
second with visible signs of damage, sporting a hematoma on the
left side of his head. Peralta showed no mercy, as he returned to
attacking the inside and outside of his foe’s legs and scored
effectively in close quarters.
Round three was more competitive, but Peralta, even though he
succumbed to a few takedowns, largely shut down Lullo’s
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 alum Justin
Edwards utilized a steady diet of takedowns, submission
attempts and occasional strikes, as he captured a unanimous
decision from Jorge Lopez
in a preliminary welterweight matchup. All three judges scored it
29-28 for Edwards (7-1, 1-1 UFC), who halted Lopez’s 10-fight
Edwards set the tone from the start with three first-round
takedowns. He again worked the fight to the floor in the second,
where he struck with more effect and eventually secured back
control, racking up points with ground-and-pound from behind his
Lopez (11-2, 0-1 UFC) finally put his offense in gear in the third
round, as he delivered a takedown of his own, mounted Edwards and
later flattened out the Ohioan when turned to his stomach. However,
Silva protégé’s failure to finish it cost him, as he could not
dig out from underneath the early deficit.