By Jaime Feal
Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2) vs. George Roop (12-8-1); Featherweight
The fighters begin by circling for the first 10 seconds. Roop partially lands a left head kick and connects with a right. Roop controlling the standup and he lands a low leg kick. Referee Josh Rosenthal calls time as Hioki is struck with a low blow. The fight resumes and the fighters trade hands but neither lands. Hioki is starting to pick up his pace. Midway through the round and Hioki clinches Roop against the cage. Hioki works for a takedown but is thwarted by Roop. Hioki continues to push for a takedown while landing light strikes but is unable to get Roop down. Roop pushes Hioki’s face backwards with both hands and Hioki circles to take Roop’s back. Roop escapes and the two men clinch on the cage again. Hioki lands a nice takedown from the clinch and lands in side control with a minute left in the round. Hioki attempting to mount now, and after a scramble he winds up in guard. Hioki lets Roop up and briefly attempts a choke but abandons it. Roop connects with a combination towards the end of the round. 10-10 round.
Roop lands a nice combination and finishes with a head kick. This round is beginning like the last with Roop looking fresher and faster on his feet. Roop advancing and Hioki is backing up. Roop misses with a one-two and Hioki steps in for a very nice takedown which lands him in full mount. Hioki locks his legs to secure the mount but starts to lose the position so he transitions to side control. Hioki is landing light strikes and looking for an Americana. Roop defends and Hioki explodes back into full mount. Hioki is still striking lightly with short elbows. Hioki looks to posture up and land strikes but Roop looks to escape so Hioki pushes back down. Hioki is essentially employing top control with light strikes. The crowd grows restless as the round nears an end. Roop lands a nice upkick and gets up to his feet. Roop waves his hands to try to pump up the crowd and comes forward recklessly as the round ends. 10-9 round for Hioki.
Roop scores a takedown and immediately lets up Hioki on the advice of his corner. Roop attempts a flying knee but narrowly misses. Hioki attempts a double leg but it stuffed. Hioki clinches and pushes his opponent against the cage. Pace slows as neither fighter attempting anything big. Roop working foot stomps. Rosenthal employs the fighters to work or he will separate them. Rosenthal does break the fighters. Roop is cut on the bridge of his nose but not badly. Roop lands a takedown and works from Hioki’s guard. Roop resting as Hioki works his legs for a submission. Roop now striking with his left hand. Hioki looking for rubber guard but Roop lands a nice left to the head. 30 seconds to go and Roop slightly picks up Hioki and drops him down several times to end the fight. 10-9 for Roop. Extremely close fight.
The judges score the fight 29-28 Hioki, 29-28 Roop, and 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Hatsu Hioki. The Japanese star picks up his 25th win as a professional and is victorious in his UFC debut.
Scott “Young Guns” Jorgenson (12-4-0) vs. Jeff “Big Frog” Curran (35-13-1); Bantamweight
The fighters touch gloves and Curran lands a quick inside leg kick. Curran again lands the same left low kick. Jorgenson connects with a jab. Curran himself lands with a jab and two more in succession. Curran misses with a kick and Jorgenson takes him down. Jorgenson looking to ground and pound with right hands to the body. Curran trying to control his posture with his legs and arms. Jorgenson separates and throws short punches. Jorgenson unable to pass or do too much damage. Curran looking to escape to his feet. Jorgenson throws a nice left elbow. Curran going for a sweep and Jorgenson defends. In the transition Curran goes for mission control but Jorgenson backs off and hops back on into guard. Jorgenson is controlling Curran and landing occasional punches. Curran gets up and is taken back down with a minute left. Referee stands the fighters up for inactivity with 30 seconds left. Curran is throwing big punches but not connecting cleanly. Jorgenson gets another takedown to end the round. 10-9 round for Jorgenson.
Curran attempts a left head kick that is blocked. Jorgenson with a front push kick. Curran goes for a takedown and Jorgenson sprawls then converts to a front headlock position. “Young Guns” working knees while controlling his opponent with a headlock. Curran frees his head and the fighters are in the clinch. Jorgenson lands a takedown as Curran throws a knee and Jorgenson is in half guard. Curran escapes to his feet and tries for a guillotine on the ground which looks threatening. Jorgenson is able to escape to his feet. The fighters are in the center of the ring and exchange but nothing lands. Jorgenson stalks “Big Frog” to the fence and takes him down. Jorgenson employing a conservative strategy and respecting Curran’s ground game. Jorgenson not looking to pass but does land some punches to the body and head. Curran misses a sweep attempt but winds up in a dominant position in the transition. Curran on top of a crouched Jorgenson and lands a good punch to the ribs as the round ends. 10-9 round for Jorgenson.
Curran misses a right hand and Jorgenson feints. Curran misses an uppercut and Jorgenson feints some more. Curran lands a nice right hand and Jorgenson finally throws a right low lick. Curran lands another right and is winning the standup this round. The fighters exchange kicks. Curran with a nice combo. Jorgenson throws a kick and Curran counters with a right. Midway through the final stanza and Curran looking to load up on his right but misses with an uppercut. Jorgenson clinches and presses Curran to the fence with knees. Curran now lands two knees of his own to the midsection. Curran is bleeding moderately from his nose. The fighters trade knees and then separate to the center of the cage. Curran throwing punches and landing. Inside leg kick from Curran and an attempted take down but Jorgenson sprawls. 10-9 round for Curran.
The judges score the fight 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Scott “Young Guns” Jorgenson.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (27-9-2) vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (16-6); Heavyweight
Nelson comes out with his right hand high to protect against Cro Cop’s infamous left head kick. Nelson feinting and then throws a wild left hook which misses. Cro Cop looking for jabs but not landing. Both fighters throwing out their jab as a range finder. Nelson lands a single leg takedown. Cro Cop trying to control Nelson’s posture from the closed guard. Nelson throws left hands to the head and looks to posture up. Nelson throws a right hand and a left elbow. Nelson using his weight advantage nicely and controlling from top position. Mirko is able to get to his feet when Nelson attempts to posture up. Mirko lands a left kick to the body. Cro Cop is tagged by a right haymaker but comes back with a left uppercut. Cro Cop lands a big left uppercut while pulling down the head with his right. Nelson isn’t fazed and hunts Cro Cop down. Half a minute left and Mirko counters Nelson’s aggression with a left. Mirko lands another left body kick but Nelson’s aggression and top control win him the round. 10-9 round for Nelson.
Nelson again begins aggressively and comes forward with a right. Nelson lands a right which backs Cro Cop to the cage with a slight stumble. Nelson comes in but eats a left counter which hurts him. Nelson now against the cage with both his hands trying to cover up while Cro Cop tees off. Cro Cop landing huge left uppercuts to the head and body. Nelson shows his amazing ability to take punishment and continues to battle. Fighters separate and Nelson is a bloody mess. Nelson now throwing punches again while recovering. Cro Cop spent a significant amount of energy trying to finish the fight and is now resting himself. Nelson misses wildly with a right haymaker. Cro Cop throws the left head kick but it is blocked. Nelson wades in and clinches. The fighters take turns jockeying for position but Cro Cop gets the best of it. Roy works for a takedown and after some effort completes the takedown. Nelson in half guard and looking for his crushing crucifix position. The heavy-set BJJ black belt is smothering Cro Cop and pounding with his left hand to the head. “Big Country” gets the mounted crucifix with less than a minute remaining and starts to hammer with his left looking for the finish. Cro Cop bucks but cannot get Nelson off him and he is getting pounded with left hands. Cro Cops face is beat red but he does enough bucking and defending to survive the round. However, what was initially a successful round for Cro Cop ended with him nearly being finished in the mounted crucifix position. 10-10 round.
Fighters appear to be slightly gassed as their movement is plodding. Nelson is still the aggressor on the feet with Cro Cop looking to counter. Nelson lands a straight right hand. Nelson lands a nice left-right-left combo which drops Cro Cop. Nelson takes Cro Cop’s back with both hooks in and starts landing bombs. Cro Cop not defending himself and referee Steve Mazzegatti steps in to stop the fight giving Nelson the victory. Winner by TKO 1:30 3rd round, Roy “Big Country” Nelson. In the post-fight interview Joe Rogan asks Cro Cop if he will continue to fight. Mirko says that it was his farewell fight and thanks the fans for all their support.
Cheick Kongo (26-6-2) vs. Matt Mitrione (5-0); Heavyweight
Mitrione begins slightly forward in the southpaw stance and bounces around while Kongo is upright and measured. Neither fighter throws for the first 20 seconds. Kongo feints the right hand twice. Mitrione looks very relaxed and jumps in with a right hand but misses. Kongo starting to paw the jab out as a measuring stick. The fighters are mostly feinting and circling in the center of the Octagon. Kongo throws a one-two but Mitrione backs away. Mitrione moves forward and clinches Kongo. Mitrione is spun around. Kongo has double underhooks and is foot stomping his opponent. Referee Herb Dean warns tells the fighters to work. Dean breaks the fighters with 1:50 left in the round. Kongo throws two short right hands which miss. Kongo lands a right outside leg kick. Mitrione catches a kick and sweeps Kongo down who pops up. Fighters exchange hands and Mitrione lands a left. Mitrione moves forward to end an uneventful first round. 10-10 round.
Mitrione quickly takes the center of the ring to start the round and connects with a left. Kongo lands a couple decent low leg kicks. Mitrione throws a low kick now and Kongo responds with the same. Both fighers are throwing their hands now but not landing. Kongo throws another left kick and six consecutive punches with the latter two hooks landing. Mitrione comes off the cage and moves forward. Kongo counters with a left hook but Mitrione is undeterred. Kongo is hit with a right hand on the cage and is backing up. Mitrione still stalking Kongo but not landing anything of consequence. Cheick lands some more low kicks. Mitrione lands a left which backs Kongo up. An uppercut from Mitrione appears to bother Kongo as he backs up and takes a deep breath. Kongo may be playing possum as he is quickly back in the center striking. Kongo opening up with his hands but Mitrione is dodging the punches. Kongo lands the occasional leg kick but Mitrione is controlling the round with his aggression and he backs up Kongo to end the round. 10-9 round for Mitrione.
Kongo comes out with a one-two and another one-two with a little more pop. Mitrione circles away. Kongo moves forward and connects with a punch then slams Mitrione down with a double leg. Mitrione rolling and trying for a kneebar. Kongo on top of Mitrione landing elbows to the body as Mitrione rolls again for the kneebar but gives up his back. Kongo landing some nice shots with his right hand while Mitrione is turtled up. Mitrione takes some more shots but is able to stand up. His left eye is swollen and cut. Kongo clinches with double underhooks and has really turned up his work rate. Mitrione breaks the double unders and looks up at the clock half way through the round as he takes a deep breath. Kongo takes him down again and is in half guard. Kongo lands right elbows to the body as Mitrione looks to improve position from the bottom. Kongo now with some left hands to the head. Kongo is looking for a neck crank or choke but can’t complete either technique. Kongo landing nice shots as Mitrione is turtled up. The round ends with Kongo repeatedly punching Mitrione in the head and securing dominant back positions. 10-8 round for Kongo.
The judges score the fight 30-27, 30-28, and 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, Cheick Kongo.
B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn (16-7-2) vs. Nick Diaz (26-7-1); Welterweight
B.J. comes out aggressive and backs Diaz up with a left-right combination. Penn clinches but gets spun around by Diaz. Penn spins out to the center and lands some effective strikes with his hands. Diaz briefly gains the Muay Thai clinch and gets a knee in. Diaz lands a nice right hand after the fighters separate. “The Prodigy” takes Diaz down with a quick single leg. As Diaz rolls Penn takes his back and looks dangerous as always. He gets one hook in and hammers with some right hands but Diaz shows his skilled Jiu Jitsu game to defend the second hook and eventually improve position to guard. Penn lands some punches to the head on the ground. Diaz is able to get back up and goes for a single leg of his own but looks tired as Penn punches his ribs. Diaz gives up the attempt and goes to the clinch on the cage. Penn gets off the cage by throwing his hands nicely to back Diaz up. Penn circling rapidly as Diaz paws the jab and tries to utilize his reach. Penn feinting and throwing a jab now. Diaz throws a nice right hand but Penn counters with a few quick punches. 10-9 round for Penn.
Diaz comes out with his hands down talking to Penn. He lets Penn jab his forehead a couple times then sticks his hands out while coming forward. Classic Nick Diaz as he is showing a complete lack of respect for the power of Penn. Diaz pushes Penn to the cage and starts working hooks to the body. Diaz throws a right and Penn steps away. Diaz has a mouse under his right eye. The fighters trade punches and then Penn goes for a single leg but gets stuffed. Diaz lands a knee when Penn is getting back up and then some nice body shots. Penn gets on his bike and looks scared now. Diaz is starting to land at will. BJ is getting tagged by quick combinations to the head and body. Penn is breathing heavy and Diaz is turning it on with an extremely high punch volume and almost everything is landing. Penn is backing up and just trying to survive now. Diaz digs to the body and drops down for a double leg which is stuffed. He gets up and continues to pepper Penn with hands. A left hook to the head sends Penn reeling. Diaz tracks him down and lands several straight lefts. Penn stumbles away as Diaz confidently stalks his prey. A right hook to the body and Penn isn’t throwing punches anymore. Penn is up against the cage and is getting hammered with combinations again. Penn backs away to another corner and is stumbling as Diaz lands more punches. Penn trying to battle back with a one-two but it’s all Diaz with huge punches to the head and body. Penn’s face is a bloody mess and he is in survival mode with 20 seconds left. Penn shows massive heart to escape the round. 10-8 round for Diaz.
Diaz picks up right where he left off with a high punch volume and lots of pressure. He connects with a few and presses Penn against the cage. Penn looks gassed and beaten. Diaz landing more straight lefts and Penn is bleeding and his eye is swelling shut. Diaz is walking Penn down and going to the body again. Diaz is bleeding from the mouse under his eye and his nose but looks mean and nasty as he sucks it up and comes forward. Penn is bewildered but is game and is throwing back. Diaz again going to work in the corner on Penn’s body. Penn looks up at the clock which shows 2 minutes left. He is throwing back but there is not much left on his punches. Diaz momentarily backs up but then starts applying the pressure. Penn’s eye is now swollen almost completely shut. The fighters trade punches with less than a minute to go. Both men are battered but Penn looks worse for wear and is retreating to end the fight. 10-9 round for Diaz. Incredible fight.
The Judges score the fight 29-28, 29-27, and 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision Nick Diaz. In the post-fight interview Penn says he is retiring and that it’s the last time we’ll see him in the Octagon.