A group of Ultimate Fighter veterans shined during the UFC on Fox 3 prelims on Fuel TV, with two flyweight fights stealing the show.
Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson told MMAWeekly Radio prior to facing Tony Ferguson that he believed the former Ultimate Fighter winner was talented, but was also the product of a weaker season of the reality show than the one he was on just two sessions earlier.
Johnson backed up his claim with a very strong performance as he defeated Ferguson to cap off the UFC on Fox 3 prelims on Fuel TV.
Showing off his striking acumen, Johnson put Ferguson on his heels multiple times throughout their 15-minute war, and showed his punching power as he popped his fellow Ultimate Fighter alum right in the mush without fear of reprival.
Johnson’s footwork and hand speed kept Ferguson guessing and it appeared he just couldn’t get his timing down because his normal attack of moving forward with aggressive power wasn’t working this time around.
The judges agreed and gave Johnson the unanimous decision victory, his second in a row. Meanwhile, Ferguson drops his first fight since winning the 14th season of the reality show.
John Dodson vs. Tim Elliott
For his first bout after winning the Ultimate Fighter season 14, John Dodson had no easy task in UFC newcomer Tim Elliott.
Some said Elliott was just a late replacement, but to those in the know, he was a tough as nails fighter who had just recently knocked out former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver.
Elliott showed why he belongs in the UFC’s flyweight division as he was immediately gunning for Dodson and showing no fear attacking the long time Team Greg Jackson fighter. Looking like the bigger and taller fighter, Elliott pawed at Dodson with his jab and kept the former TUF competitor backing up for much of the fight.
Where Dodson excelled however were those moments when Elliott got too aggressive or a little too fancy for his own good. Dodson cracked Elliott with a number of jumping knees, and straight punches that gave him the edge throughout the fight.
The downside for Dodson was the loss of his left hand because it appeared somewhere in the middle of the first round he broke it, and that left him down one limb for much of the fight.
Still, Dodson persevered and did enough to out point and avoid Elliot’s unorthodox attacks to win a unanimous decision. John Dodson will be a force in the UFC’s flyweight division, and probably won’t have to wait long to be considered one of the top contenders at 125lbs, while Tim Elliott showed he belongs in the UFC and will match-up well with many of the top competitors in the weight class.
John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss
In a battle of two up and coming welterweights out of Europe, England’s John Hathaway got the best of German Pascal Krauss by unanimous decision.
Hathaway bloodied up Krauss by the third round, but landed his biggest shot of the night in the opening stanza. As Krauss slipped away from a clinch, it was Hathaway who rocketed a knee straight up the middle and connected flush with the chin of his opponent.
That became a common theme throughout the night as Krauss just had no answer to the knee strikes from Hathaway, who landed them time and time again.
When it was over, Krauss was wearing a mask of crimson and Hathaway walked away with his sixth win in the UFC.
Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker
The flyweights are certainly doing their part to show UFC President Dana White why it was a good idea to introduce the weight class earlier this year.
The latest sterling example of that happened on Saturday as Louis Gaudinot defeated John Lineker by guillotine choke, but not before an absolute slugfest happened first.
As soon as the fight started, Gaudinot and Lineker abandoned all game plans and instead employed the ‘Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em’ robot strategy. Both 125lbers were gunning for a knockout and throwing hands as fast and as furiously as possible.
In the second round, Lineker was able to back Gaudinot off with some of his heavy punches, but after rushing in against the cage the green-haired former Ultimate Fighter saw an opening.
Gaudinot grabbed for a guillotine choke and as Lineker lifted him in the air, you could see a smile creep across his face as he knew the end was near.
“Once I’m under the chin, they’re done,” said Gaudinot.
Done he was as Lineker refused to tap, but instead went to sleep. Gaudinot, now successful in his flyweight debut, showed once again just how good the UFC’s newest division is capable of being.
Danny Castillo vs. John Cholish
Sometimes when you match-up two fighters of the same discipline, it’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.
Such was the case with wrestler vs. wrestler when Danny Castillo met New Jersey native John Cholish on Saturday night. With both fighters coming from grappling roots, neither wanted to give up an inch on the ground.
The experience edge landed in Castillo’s corner however and he seemed to know how to play the game a bit better than his opponent. Castillo landed a couple of good takedowns, but it looked like it was most for scoring purposes, not to put Cholish on his back to do damage.
On the feet, Castillo was a bit more crisp with his strikes and a little quicker moving in and out while tagging Cholish.
When it was all said and done, Castillo walked away with a victory, his third in a row inside the Octagon.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Pablo Garza
He was seconds away from becoming the Ultimate Fighter season 14 champion, but Dennis Bermudez came up just short after a comeback of epic proportions courtesy of former housemate Diego Brandao.
For his first fight since the show ended, Bermudez wanted to leave nothing to chance this time so he put on a methodical and explosive performance to defeat Pablo Garza at UFC on Fox 3 Saturday night.
Bermudez literally tossed Garza around the cage at will landing all of his takedown attempts, while also throwing his opponent like a rag doll. The powerful wrestler unleashed powerful strikes, and outside of a series of upkicks in the first round that dazed Bermudez, Garza just had no answers.
Slam after slam just put Garza down and by round three it may have broken his will a bit as Bermudez’s dominance just overwhelmed him. The judges saw the fight the same way and gave Bermudez the unanimous decision victory.
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