UFC Live 4 Prelims: Griffin Takes Majority Decision Over Gamburyan


In his first appearance as a featherweight in nearly six years, Tyson Griffin made a significant splash.

Griffin (15-5, 8-5 UFC) blitzed the world-ranked Manny Gamburyan with repeated low kicks en route to a majority decision over the former WEC title contender at UFC Live 4 “Kongo vs. Barry” on Sunday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Two of the three cageside judges saw it 29-28 for Griffin. A third scored it a 29-29 draw.

Based at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas, Griffin (Pictured, File Photo) overcame a slow start and gained a foothold in the match with stinging kicks to the Armenian’s thigh. Still, Gamburyan (12-5, 2-4 UFC) did not go away. He scored with multiple takedowns in the third round despite the obvious damage to his leg.

Griffin won a majority of the striking exchanges between the two featherweights, as he fought well in close quarters and scored effectively to the head and body. The narrow victory brought an end to Griffin’s three-fight losing streak.

WEC import Javier Vazquez handed former lightweight title contender Joe Stevenson his fourth consecutive defeat and left “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2 winner’s career inside the UFC in doubt, as he notched a unanimous decision in an undercard bout at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges ruled in Vazquez’s favor: 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.

Vazquez (16-5, 1-0 UFC), a former King of the Cage champion, out-struck, outwrestled and out-grappled the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative, warding off exhaustion in the latter stages of the fight. Vazquez established his jab, countered effectively, scored with a single-leg takedown in the first round and threatened his opponent with a tight guillotine choke in the second.

With desperation settling in, Stevenson (31-14, 8-8 UFC) was the aggressor in round three, as he attacked early with sharp punches and low kicks. However, Vazquez held firm despite visible fatigue and racked up points with standing combinations and clean counter punches.

Joe Lauzon made quick work of Wolfslair Academy representative Curt Warburton, as he submitted the Englishman with a nasty first-round kimura 1:58 into their preliminary lightweight matchup.

Lauzon zapped Warburton (7-3, 1-2 UFC) with a two-punch combination, stacked him against the fence and wrenched the kimura. The 27-year-old Massachusetts native cut off any hope of an escape route by throwing up a triangle choke for good measure, torquing Warburton’s arm in grotesque fashion until the submission came. Lauzon (20-6, 7-3 UFC) still has never lost back-to-back fights as a professional.

Rich Attonito File Photo


Attonito had Roberts hurt.

Superior standup, coupled with a heavy and punishing top game, carried American Top Team’s Rich Attonito to a unanimous decision over Daniel Roberts in an undercard tilt at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Attonito: 29-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Attonito (10-4, 3-1 UFC) nearly finished it in the third round, when he folded his foe with a perfectly placed head kick and followed him to the canvas with punches. Roberts somehow survived but had nothing left to offer. A knee and a pair of right hands only strengthened Attonito’s cause, as “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum closed the match inside the Roberts guard.

A 34-year-old Elizabeth, N.J., native, Attonito utilized superior defensive grappling in rounds one and two, as he avoided numerous submission attempts from Roberts (12-3, 3-3 UFC).

Whenever the fight spilled onto the ground, Attonito managed to wind up in an advantageous position, grinding down his opponent with punches to the head and body. He has won five of his last six fights.

Highly regarded Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira submitted Nik Lentz with a second-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary lightweight duel. Lentz asked out of the fight 1:48 into round two, as he tasted defeat for the first time since March 2007.

Oliveira (15-1, 3-1 UFC) established his dominance in a crackling first five minutes. The once-beaten 21-year-old neutralized Lentz with his potent guard, dropped him with a crisp right hand while the two were upright and threatened to finish him with an anaconda choke. Lentz ultimately broke free and locked in a guillotine choke of his own. That, too, failed to end the fight. Oliveira finished the first period in top position after he dropped the Minnesotan with a knee.

In the second round, Oliveira turned the tide on what appeared to be an illegal knee to his downed foe. Referee Chip Snider did not acknowledge the foul, however, and the Brazilian teed off with punches. Lentz (21-4-2, 5-1-1 UFC) surrendered his back and soon succumbed to the choke. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission will likely review the outcome of the fight due to the foul.

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 finalist Michael Johnson stopped Edward Faaloloto on first-round punches in a preliminary lightweight matchup. The end came 4:42 into round one.

Johnson (9-5, 1-1 UFC), who absorbed a number of stinging low kicks, secured a pair of takedowns but did his most import work from the clinch. He trapped Faaloloto (2-2, 0-2 UFC) in the Thai plum late in the first period and attacked with knees to the body and head. A follow-up right hand sent the Hawaiian crashing to the canvas in the fetal position, as Johnson finished him near the cage.

WEC import Ricardo Lamas made the most of his promotional debut, as he stopped Matt Grice on first-round punches in an undercard bout at 145 pounds. Referee Keith Peterson stepped in on Grice’s behalf 4:41 into round one.

Lamas (10-2, 1-0 UFC) controlled much of the encounter, landing a takedown and passing to side mount before the two resumed their standup exchanges. Later, the 29-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt wobbled Grice (13-4, 1-4 UFC) with a head kick, swarmed him on the fence and polished him off as he tried to regain his bearings, sending him to the canvas and forcing the stoppage. The defeat snapped Grice’s four-fight winning streak.

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