By Jaime C. Feal
The premiere of the Fox Sport 1 Channel and the UFC Fight Night that accompanied it were a resounding success, as a stacked card delivered on its potential.
In the prelims, Connor McGregor continued to live up to his hype by beating Max Holloway via unanimous decision. Steven Siler scored an upset victory over veteran Mike Brown, knocking him unconscious in the first round. In a battle of bantamweight title contenders, Michael “Mayday” McDonald destroyed Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who was in danger of being stopped in the first round by strikes. Ultimately, Pickett succumbed to a triangle choke in the second round, and the 22-year-old McDonald proved he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Starting off the main card, Michael Johnson earned an upset victory over hometown favorite Joe Lauzon. Johnson used superior speed and footwork in his striking game to come away with a decision win. Ultimate Fighter runner-up Uriah Hall failed to impress yet again, losing his second straight against the returning John “Doomsday” Howard. In a battle of welterweights on massive win streaks, Matt “The Immortal” Brown made short work of veteran Mike Pyle, knocking him out just 29 seconds into the first round.
Bantamweight Division (135 lbs.):
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (28-6, 4-2 UFC) vs. Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara (28-4, 3-1 UFC)
Alcantara quickly scores a takedown and gets full mount. Faber is trying to scramble out, but Alcantara is working on an armbar. Now Faber is working on a leg, loses it, nice hammerfists from Alcantara. Faber gives up his back, Alcantara has both hooks in, scoring with nice ground and pound. Alcantara completely dominating this opening frame, Faber cannot get up. Now Alcantara is looking for a rear-naked choke. Alcantara is softening him up with left hands. Faber is able to scramble to his knees, then lifts Alcantara up and slams him. Now it’s Faber on top doing work. Faber lands a big elbow as he passes to half guard. Another elbow scores for “The California Kid.” A series of hard elbows hit home, Faber taking over now. What a fight, with one minute left this round is up for grabs. More elbows from Urijah, starting to do damage. A few more elbows graze Alcantara as the round ends. 10-10 round.
Faber dashes forward to take the center of the Octagon. Faber misses with a head kick, stumbles, gets up, then gets a takedown. Faber working in the full guard of Alcantara. More elbows from the former WEC Featherweight champ, going to his bread and butter techniques here. Now Urijah working for his favorite submission, the guillotine choke, but bails on it. Good right hand from Faber. Alcantara is trapped against the cage. Two right elbows land for Faber, then a right one. Alcantara is getting beat up now. Faber working for a guillotine as Alcantara is sitting up. Faber gives it up, trying to maintain top position while landing elbows. Again Urijah tries for the guillotine and switches back to right hands. Alcantara is finally able to get up, only to get thrown back down. More hard elbows land solidly for Faber, who took over in this round. 10-9 round for Faber.
Faber fakes a takedown, both fighters pawing with the jab. Leg kick lands for Iuri. Lots of feinting from Faber right now, looks to be setting up as takedown. Faber misses with a right hand. Nice left from Alcantara, then stuffs a takedown. Faber gets a hold of Alcantara, then gets a trip takedown. Faber back in a familiar spot; inside Alcantara’s guard landing elbows. Faber now standing over Alcantara, tries to land some punches, but can’t do it. Faber jumps back in the guard, has Alcantara trapped up against the cage yet again. A minute and a half to go in the fight. Alcantara looking from an armbar off his back, Faber defends well. Now Alcantara has another submission attempt, Faber must be cautious. Faber’s arm is trapped, but he is spinning to relieve pressure. Faber gets free, and with ten seconds left he lands some left hands. 10-9 round for Faber.
The judges score the fight 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision Urijah “The California Kid” Faber.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (36-12, 1-1 UFC) vs. Travis “Hapa” Browne (14-1-1, 5-1-1 UFC)
They touch gloves and Browne starts pawing with the jab. Overeem comes forward and lands a knee to the body. Overeem clinches with Browne against the cage. Overeem lands a right hand, Browne gets free. Overeem closes the gap again, but Browne lands a knee. Alistair has a guillotine now, Browne breaks free and gets up. Overeem hurts Browne with a knee to the body, and Browne is crumpled against the cage. Overeem is swarming with a serious of short, powerful right hands. Ref Mario Yamasaki is taking a close look as Browne cannot get up. Now Browne gets up, but another massive knee to the body puts him back down. Overeem again looking for the finish, but somehow Browne gets up, and is now swinging back, all while eating huge knees to the body. Three minutes to go, Overeem clinched up with Browne on the cage. Another knee to the body for The Reem. How many of these body shots can Browne take? Overeem briefly gets a takedown, Browne scrambles up. Browne trying front kicks, not really landing. Left body kick lands for Overeem, but Browne scoring with the occasional shots. Out of nowhere, Browne lands a left front kick to the head that drops Overeem. Browne pounces with two right hands to seal the deal, and Yamasaki rushes in to stop the fight.
Travis “Hapa” Browne wins by TKO at 4:08 of Round 1.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-7, 5-5 UFC) vs. Chael Sonnen (27-13-1, 6-6 UFC)
Chael rushes forward and takes down Shogun with a double leg. Shogun working to get up and does. Shogun now takes Chael down. Shogun on top in the guard of Sonnen. Rua is trying to keep Sonnen down, but Sonnen is able to get back up. Sonnen is clinched up with Rua on the cage. Sonnen reverses a trip takedown attempt, and is on top in half guard. Shogun working for a sweep, but bails on it. Shogun trying to sit up. Sonnen postures up and nails Shogun with a couple hard punches. Sonnen back in guard, grinding with ground and pound. More heavy shots from Sonnen, then passes to half guard. Sonnen gets up, but Sonnen is working a guillotine choke. Sonnen pulls guard and starts to lock it in deeper. Shogun is struggling violently now, makes one last desperate attempt to get his head free, then taps out.
Chael Sonnen wins by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:47 of Round 1.