By Jaime C. Feal
Alistair Overeem certainly did not disappoint in his UFC debut. The hulking Dutchman systematically broke Lesnar down with a dynamic display of strikes. Overeem is now set to face Junior Dos Santos for the heavyweight title, in what should be a world class stand up war. In the co-main event, Nate Diaz utilized vastly improved boxing to pick apart Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in an upset win.
Featherweight Division (145 lbs.):
Nam Phan (17-9, 1-2 UFC) vs. Jimy “The Kid” Hettes (9-0, 1-0 UFC)
The undefeated submission whiz Hettes comes out and touches gloves with Phan. Hettes starts with a light head kick that is blocked. Hettes goes for a single leg and then converts to a sweep, and gets the takedown. Phan stands back up; “The Kid” takes him back down. Hettes looking impressive early. Hettes starting to work punches. Nam wall walks and gets back up. Hettes again looking for the sweep and gets it. Phan back up and now Hettes has a mounted guillotine, and is working for the finish. Hettes loses it. Good punches from Hettes who is raining down terror from the top. Vicious ground and pound fromm Hettes. Phan is turtled up and Referee Herb Dean is telling him to fight back. Shot after shot from Hettes and he takes Nam’s back with both hooks in. Hettes now back on top, postured up in guard still throwing bombs. Phan stands up with two minutes left. Nam lands a decent uppercut and Hettes shoots again for a single leg and presses Nam against the cage. Beautiful judo hip toss into side control by Hettes. “The Kid” moves to full mount and lands a nice elbow. Another elbow from Hettes, and now he’s looking for an armbar. He’s got the position but can’t get Phan’s hands separated. Hettes is battering Nam’s face while Phan defends against the armbar. With ten seconds left, Hettes gives up the armbar to move into mount. Hettes lands some hard punches with the left hand, and Nam stands up a bloody mess as the round ends. 10-8 round for Hettes.
Hettes shoots for a single and then tries for his judo trip but Nam defends this time. Phan’s back is on the cage, and eventually he succumbs to the judo trip of Hettes. “The Kid” working punches from half guard. Nam Phan looking completely outclassed. Hettes works punches, then very slickly slides towards Nam’s back as he looks for a rear naked choke. His grip is too high on the head and Phan slips out. Hettes tries to transition to a guillotine, but Nam escapes and gets top position. Nam landing his first meaningful punches on the fight. Phan’s corner yelling for him to step back and stand up, but Nam looks for more ground and pound. Hettes stands up himself and looks for another judo trip. Nam barely defends, but eats some punches for his troubles. The fighters separate momentarily, but Hettes pushes Phan to the ground with a trip. The featherweights stand and begin to trade strikes. Another beautiful judo trip by Hettes into side control. Nice accurate punches from Hettes. 10-9 round for Hettes.
The fighters trade strikes while looking gassed for the first minute. Nothing of consequence landing, and Hettes gets yet another takedown. Every time Phan gets up he gets taken right back down. Hettes has Phan’s back with one hook in, and again working ground and pound. Now Hettes is looking for an arm triangle, and he scoots to side control to try and cinch it up. Nam correctly defends, and Hettes simply moves back to mount to punch him in the face some more. Hettes finishes the fight by pounding on Phan from half guard, bloodying him up some more. Hettes looked nasty in this fight; what an incredible prospect. 10-9 round for Hettes.
The Judges score the fight 30-25, 30-25, and 30-26 for the winner by unanimous decision, Jimy “The Kid” Hettes. With the win, the 24 year old Hettes moves to 10-0 (2-0 UFC) and figures to be a fighter to watch in 2012.
Light heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko (26-5, 7-3 UFC) vs. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (12-1, 4-1 UFC)
Gustaffson begins with a series of feints, then misses with a front kick. Matyushenko tries to come in with a left and right hook but the punches miss their mark. Hard leg kick from “The Mauler.” Gustaffson lands a front kick as Matyushenko comes in for the clinch. “The Janitor” works some dirty boxing, and the fighters break. Gustaffson lands a snapping low kick. As Matyushenko steps in with a jab he gets caught with a straight left that drops him, and causes him to turtle up. Gustaffson pounces with short, accurate punches and hammerfists, finishing Matyushenko with strikes.
Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson wins by TKO at 2:13 of Round 1.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
Jon Fitch (23-3-1, 13-1-1 UFC) vs. Johny Hendricks (11-1, 6-1 UFC)
Fitch begins with a one-two that misses the mark. Hendricks, the southpaw, steps in and lands a crushing straight left hand that stiffens Fitch up. Hendricks follows Fitch to the ground and lands one more left for good measure, as Referee Steve Mazzagatti pushes him off Fitch to stop the fight. Fitch is so out of it he is wrestling with Mazzagatti. He comes to and realizes he is in the referee’s arms and asks Mazzagatti “what happened?” Brutal KO by Hendricks, and excellent stoppage by Mazzagatti.
Johny Hendricks wins by KO at :12 of Round 1.
Lightweight Division (155 lbs.):
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (17-3, 4-0 UFC) vs. Nate Diaz (14-7, 9-5 UFC)
As he promised, Cerrone sprints forward at Diaz to begin the round. A lot of bad blood between the two as they immediately clinch up and struggle for position. Nate tries for a couple takedowns, but Cerrone uses his strength to fight them off. Diaz comes forward with some nice punches, but “Cowboy” responds nicely with a counter straight right. Nate with some good accurate punches, disorienting Cerrone. Diaz continues to pick Cerrone apart with punches, looking like his older brother Nick Diaz. Cerrone unusually backing up and getting tagged. Cerrone may be hurt as he is taking a high volume of punches. “Cowboy” finally gets it going with a left head kick and left leg kick. Diaz back to more straight accurate punches, picking Cerrone apart again and again. “Cowboy” has no answer for the superior boxing of Diaz. Cerrone’s mouth is very bloody and his mouth is wide open, signs of a possible broken jaw. Diaz walking Cowboy down now, a complete role reversal of what the pundits predicted. Cerrone’s head snaps back after another accurate three punch combo from Diaz. 10-8 round for Diaz.
Diaz tries to begin with a combination but misses. Cerrone with a nice leg kick that sweeps Diaz off his feet. Nate pops right up. Diaz trying to walk Cerrone down again, but not landing many punches. Cerrone again knocks him off his feet with a leg kick, and Diaz gets right back up. Diaz coming forward with punches, grazing “Cowboy” with a couple decent shots. Cerrone just misses a big knee from the clinch. Good right uppercut from Diaz. Diaz with more solid punches, then Cerrone throws a head kick while falling back. Both fighters fall backwards from Cerrone’s head kick. Cerrone gets up first and lets Diaz up. Cowboy again takes Diaz legs out with a low kick. Diaz lands some big punches which back Cerrone up. The pattern continues as Cerrone eats several clean, accurate punches, then briefly sweeps Diaz off his feet. 10-9 round for Diaz.
Cerrone with a good straight right, but Diaz with a better right hook in response. Good jab and combinations from Diaz. Leg kick from Cerrone and a left hand. Diaz with three right jabs that land. Diaz goes to the body and then lands a solid one-two to the head. More hard shots from Diaz land to Cerrone’s head. “Cowboy” lands a left, but his volume of striking is nowhere near Diaz, and he looks worse for wear. Good knee to the body by Cerrone. Diaz again battering Cerrone with punches for almost a minute straight. Cerrone lands a leg kick which temporarily sweeps Diaz down. Nate gets up and goes back to boxing. “Cowboy” getting torn apart, tries a flying knee but misses. Diaz closes out the fight with hard combinations, easily winning the round. Diaz looks to have elevated his boxing to new heights. 10-9 round for Diaz.
The judges score the fight 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, Nate Diaz.
Heavyweight Title Eliminator (265 lbs.):
Brock Lesnar (5-2, 4-2 UFC) vs. Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem (35-11, 0-0 UFC)
Lesnar starts with a leg kick. Good jab from Lesnar. Overeem misses with a huge overhand right. Lesnar steps in and misses a right. Overeem feints a right and Lesnar grabs a single, looking for a takedown. Overeem is able to hop out and defend against being taken down. Overeem bleeding from his right eye, maybe from the Lesnar jab early in the round. Big knee to the body by Overeem. A left knee to the body, and then an even bigger right knee to the body hurt Lesnar. Overeem senses this and opens up, landing two good punches and another left knee to the body. Right leg kick to the body by “The Reem.” Brock misses a straight right hand and Overeem nails him with another left knee to the body. Lesnar doubles over, and Overeem lands two nice left hands. Lesnar backs away and Overeem lands a thudding left body kick. Lesnar winces in pain and gasps for air as he backs away from the decisive blow. Now Lesnar is fallen, back to the cage, with his hands covering his face. Overeem rushes in and lands a series of right hands. Lesnar, who is sitting down with his hands covering his face, is offering no intelligent defense, and Referee Mario Yamasaki steps in to halt the contest.
Alistair Overeem wins by TKO at 2:26 of Round 1.
After the fight, Brock Lesnar announced he is retiring from MMA. He thanked his family, training partners, and the fans for their support.