T.J. Grant and Evan Dunham had an all-out war. | Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Grant notched perhaps the most significant victory of his career, as he took a unanimous decision from Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts export Evan Dunham in a memorable lightweight slugfest at UFC 152 “Jones vs. Belfort” on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. All three cageside judges scored it for Grant (19-5, 6-3 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.
From the start, it became clear that Grant and Dunham had only one intention: to fire away at one another. Fists, feet and knees flew, and neither man backed down. A second-round knee strike from Grant was the most decisive blow of the bout and left the Oregonian with a nasty vertical gash on his forehead. Dunham secured takedowns in all three rounds but did little else to neutralize Grant’s advantage on the feet, as he attacked with a barrage of punches, leg kicks and knees to the body. The 28-year-old Canadian has won three consecutive fights.
A successful but ill-fated takedown from the Croatian led to the finish. Magalhaes lured Pokrajac (25-9, 4-4 UFC) into his guard, trapped him first in a triangle choke and then transitioned to the armbar. A finalist on Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Magalhaes has rattled off six straight victories, the longest such streak of his career.
Outside of a brief first-round skirmish on the canvas, Benoist (6-2, 1-2 UFC) never had a chance to engage his potent submission game. Pierson kept him off balance with airtight takedown defense and volley after volley of rights and lefts. In the third, Benoist landed a straight left out of nowhere and turned the tide in an instant. Somehow, Pierson survived the onslaught and escaped to his feet after an ill-advised choke attempt from his opponent.
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Brimage (right) outlasted Hettes.
Brimage controlled rounds one and three with his stiff right jab and heavy left crosses, one of which had Hettes (10-1, 2-1 UFC) in serious trouble inside the first five minutes. Hettes did his best work in the second frame, when he grounded the Alabaman twice, softened him with ground-and-pound and fished for chokes. Brimage survived to see a third round, where he resumed his excellent work on the feet and outlasted the fading Pennsylvanian.
Thoresen (17-3-1, 1-1 UFC) spent much of the encounter frustrating “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum with his length. Punches and kicks from the perimeter racked up the points and left Baczynski with a bloody lip. However, his left hand proved to be quite the equalizer and sent the 28-year-old Norwegian to the canvas for good, erasing all that had transpired before it.
“He has a really long reach, and it was going to be difficult because I usually fight smaller opponents,” said Baczynski, who has won his past six fights. “Soon, I’m going to be fighting better guys, so I have to get a little more patient. I had to tell myself to calm down in the tunnel, because there were the [two] quick finishes. I was, like, ‘You don’t have to live up to those fights, man. Just go out there and do your thing.’ And I was having trouble getting off early. He was doing well.”
A wicked left hook from Gagnon (9-2, 1-1 UFC) spelled the beginning of the end for the man they call “The Gazelle.” The 27-year-old Team Shredder representative followed Watson to the mat, battered him with punches and secured back control. From there, the choke was a mere formality. It was the eighth first-round submission of Gagnon’s 11-fight professional career.
“It feels great. I knew I belonged in here, but my last bout I didn’t come out on top,” Gagnon said. “I’m used to being aggressive, and sometimes I blow my load. I didn’t want to just punch and punch and exhaust myself. Instead, I kept calm and found my shots smarter this time.”
A stiff jab from Noke had “The Spaniard” on uneasy footing and a beautiful right cross put him on the ground. Brenneman (15-5, 4-4 UFC) clung to the Australian’s legs in desperation, but referee Dan Miragliotta intervened on his behalf after a few more punches found their mark. The beaten fighter protested briefly after rising on wobbly legs.
“The cut [to welterweight] was easy,” Noke said. “I wasn’t cutting to make 185, so I felt great. It’s a fight. You can’t blame the ref. I would have liked Charlie to keep going, too. I wanted to keep fighting.”view original article >>
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