By Jaime C. Feal
What a show. Easily the best night of action the UFC has had on FOX, there were four fights on the main card, all of which ended in either a knockout or a submission. Right off the bat the opening fight delivered what everyone was looking for. Mike “Quick” Swick made a successful comeback bid against DaMarques Johnson by catching a leg kick and dropping Johnson with a straight right. Swick pounced on his fallen foe with three more right hands to render Johnson unconscious, giving Swick the 2nd round KO victory. The fight quality never dropped off from there, and fans got to see two light heavyweight title shot eliminators, with Lyoto Machida impressively dispatching of Ryan Bader to earn his crack at gold, meaning the Zuffa brass will be thrilled with how their event unfolded last night.
Lightweight Division (155 lbs.):
Jamie “C4” Varner (20-6-1, 2-1 UFC) vs. Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (21-7, 8-4 UFC)
The lightweights touch gloves to begin this explosive duel. Varner jabbing and circling the outside. Lauzon pressing. Varner with a one-two. Good footwork and straight right from Varner. Excellent left body hook by Varner. Straight right from Lauzon, answered with a body kick from Varner. Right hook from Varner staggers Lauzon, but “J-Lau” recovers. Lauzon with a knee and then a one-two which has Varner backpedaling. Varner trying to unload with a flying knee and elbows but misses everything. Lauzon with a nice jab and hook. Varner slowing down. Left body kick by Varner. Left hook and uppercut by Varner, but blocked by Lauzon. Nasty left body shot by Lauzon, Varner gasps for air. Jab and hand combo by Lazuon, then clinches up with Varner on the cage. Left hook from Varner to the body, not as much sting on it anymore though. Clean right hand by Lauzon and he pressed forward. Varner clips him with a right hand to the temple which puts Lauzon on his back. Varner gets on top and Lauzon gets guard and starts attacking submissions. Varner defends and lands a few strikes to end the round. 10-9 Round for Varner.
Outside leg kick by Varner. Nice knee to the body by Lauzon. “J-Lau” still pressing the fight. Nice one-two by Varner. Good elbow by Varner, has to be careful not to gas himself. Lauzon shoots for a single and gets it. Lauzon has Varner’s back with both hook. Jamie stands up and escapes. Varner going back to work with the hands. Varner just murdering Lauzon to the body right now, digging with left hooks and great footwork. Lauzon has had enough and nails Varner with punches, comes forward and takes him down. Lauzon in side control working serious ground and pound. Varner slowly gets up and back to his feet. Lauzon working for an inside leg trip, doesn’t get it. Eventually Lauzon just drags him down abd gets the back again. Both hooks in and Lauzon is looking for a rear-naked choke. Lauzon bails on the RNC and transitions to mount. Now “J-Lau” looking for an arm-triangle choke, loses it. Back mount again, some punches, a scramble has Varner on top who finishes the round punching Lauzon. Great round. 10-9 round for Lauzon.
Varner takes a very light punch and motions for “time-out,” which the ref grants – he forgot his mouth piece to start the round! Varner apologizes and the round resumes. Good standing elbows from Varner again. Lauzon shoots for a takedown and gets stuffed. Jab from Lauzon. Varner shoots for a double and scores. Varner passes to half-guard. Lauzon employs a beautiful jiu-jitsu sweep to get back up to his feet. Good combo from Varner. More standing elbows from Varner, but they get blocked by Lauzon. Varner shoots for a power double and nails it. Lauzon goes for a sweep, and a scramble ensues. Varner gets back on top but Lauzon locked up a triangle choke in the process. Varner trying to defend but his face is going bright red and he is forced to tap out. Fight of the Night.
Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon wins by submission (triangle choke) at 2:44 of Round 3.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (17-3, 9-3 UFC) vs. Ryan “Darth” Bader (14-2, 7-2 UFC)
Machida begins in his familiar southpaw Karate stance. The fighters are cautious early as they measure the distance. Left front kick to the body by “The Dragon.” Now Machida switches to orthodox and lands a knee to the body. Machida switches back to southpaw. Bader leaps forward and misses two punches, Machida calmly backing away. Nasty left body kick by Machida. Crowd reacting to the snap of that kick. Another knee to the body by Machida. Jab by Bader. Front kick to the body by Machida, then a sick right jab. Bader swings and misses with a right hook. Bader comes in to clinch Machida and eats an elbow to the head. Machida is clinched up with Bader in the center of the cage, and after just a couple seconds, the lighter Machida shrugs Bader off. Impressive. Left body kick by Machida. Brilliant round. 10-9 Round for Machida.
Inside leg kick by Machida, crowd getting restless as Machida is feinting and looking to counter strike. “The Dragon” switches to orthodox stance. Bader rushes head first into a straight right from Machida which knocks Bader senseless. Machida pounces with two follow up rights and backs away as Ryan Bader is out cold.
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida wins by KO at 1:32 of Round 2.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (20-6, 4-4 UFC) vs. Brandon “The Truth” Vera (12-5, 8-5 UFC)
Left body kick by Vera. Shogun catches a kick and takes Vera down. Shogun in half guard as Vera is scrambling to get up. Vera being held down, Rua looking to pass to side control. Shogun can’t pass half-guard initially, finally does pass to side control. Vera looking to regain half, cant. Shogun trying for a guillotine, knees Vera to the body. Vera gets up and throws two head kicks that miss. Fighters clinch and trade knees on the cage. Shogun tries for a single leg, guillotine attempt by Vera. Shogun’s head is in pretty deep but able to pop out. Shogun in full guard lands a big right hand. Shogun passes to half guard. Nasty left hands by Rua. Shogun passes to side control and then takes the back of Vera, both hooks in. Shogun trying to flatten Vera out, punching him with hooks and hammerfists. 10-9 Round for Shogun.
Amazing inside leg kick by Shogun almost knocks Vera down. Hard left hook by Shogun, knee by Vera. Shogun clips Vera with a right hand, “The Truth” stumbling back into the cage. Shogun swarms with knees and punches from the Thai Clinch, but a game Vera survives as Shogun starts to tire. Standing elbow by Brandon. Right hook and straight left by Vera. Right hook and left body kick by Vera. Shogun appears to be gassing, eats an elbow. HUGE right hand by Shogun hurts Vera again. Shogun utilizing a front headlock and knees. Vera turtling and Shogun punching, but is tired himself. Shogun with an uppercut, Vera is bleeding under his eye. Hard right hand by Vera! What a war. The light heavyweights clinch up on the cage. Shogun is cut as well on his eye. Nice takedown by Vera and into half guard. Vera lands some light shots and a nice elbow to close the round. 10-9 Round for Shogun.
Vera turning it on with punches and a knee to the body. “The Truth” really came to fight. Shogun clinching up with Vera. Nice left hook by Shogun. Good left kick by Vera. Left hook again by Shogun. Big knee by Shogun, Vera goes down to his knees. Shogun has a front headlock, knees Vera to the body. Vera finally gets back up after taking some punishment there. Nice one-two and a leg kick by Vera. Hard right hand to the body and a leg kick by Vera. Left head kick from “The Truth.” Hard one-two and a knee to the body by Vera, pouring it on now. Shogun desperately works for a trip takedown and gets it. Both men are exhausted. Shogun is about to mount Vera, slowly but surely. Shogun lands some hammerfists and Vera regains half guard. 10-9 Round for Vera.
Vera opens with a left body kick. Shogun tries to respond but Vera is coming back harder right now. Good left hook by Shogun, then clinches Vera on the cage. Shogun has the Thai plum and lands a good knee to the body, then the head. Now Vera has the Thai clinch and is landing some knees to the body of Shogun. Grueling battle between these two warriors. Good left kick by Vera. Big uppercut by Shogun. Nice combo by Vera. Shogun, undeterred, presses forward looking for the kill. Rua throwing everything he has left now, nailing Vera with a hook and an uppercut. Enormous one-two from Shogun drops Vera, who turtles to his side, nothing left to offer. Shogun seals the deal with two right hands and ref Herb Dean correctly stops the fight.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua wins by TKO at 4:09 of Round 4.