by Eric Thim
Alan Belcher vs. Jason MacDonald
Fighters touch gloves and exchange punches in center of the ring. MacDonald shoots for double leg that is defended by Belcher. Belcher presses MacDonald against cage. Both fighters exchange knees and MacDonald reverses position before attempting another takedown. Macdonald pulls guard. MacDonald attempts to control posture but punches and an elbow from Belcher on top find their mark. MacDonald tagged with a big right that hurts him. Belcher follows up with more punches and elbows and scores repeatedly. MacDonald works for kimura that fails, and Belcher moves to side control briefly. MacDonald gets back to guard, but Belcher works to knee on belly and pounds MacDonald out. Official stoppage is at 3:48 of round 1, coming by way of verbal tapout due to strikes. Impressive performance by Belcher against a solid gatekeeper after a layoff of more than a year.
Erik Koch vs. Jonathan Brookins
After brief feeling out process, a right by Brookins lands followed by a front kick and a takedown attempt that is defended by Koch. Koch is pressed against the cage by Brookins. A few knees to the body and a good elbow by Brookins land. Elbow by Koch followed by a knee to the body as Brookins works for another takedown. Two solid elbows land on Koch, but Koch finally gets free from against the cage. Nice right and a leg kick by Koch. Brookins misses a jab, and counter left by Koch lands. Another leg kick by Koch, and Brookins shoots for another takedown. Short punches from Koch as he finds himself against the cage. Koch presses Brookins against the cage briefly, but Brookins reverses before the round ends. 10-9 for Jonathan Brookins due to Octagon control and aggression.
Leg kick by Koch opens the round, followed by another leg kick and a punch. One-two misses for Koch and Brookins presses Koch against the cage again. Koch escapes, throws headkick that misses. Koch finding his jab, and connects with a follow-up left. Right jab left hook combo lands again for Koch, and Brookins attempts the takedown. Koch back against the cage again with Brookins working to get him to the ground. Brookins tries to drag him down, but Koch ends up on top before Brookins immediately escapes and presses Koch back against the cage. Fighters working against the cage again, and the crowd gets restless. Koch spins around and lands a knee before separating. Headkick from from Koch just misses. Brookins shoots for another double leg and eventually gets Koch to the ground. Koch controlling posture and gets back to his feet with Brookins working for yet another takedown. Short elbows from Koch as the round ends. 10-9 Erik Koch due to edges in aggression and damage inflicted.
Koch comes out attempting one-two combos. Brookins throws a jab and follows it up with knee in clinch, and Koch escapes. Brookins shoots in for takedown but Koch shrugs it off. Koch lands a couple jabs followed by a leg kick. Brookins shoots for takedown and presses Koch against the cage. Brookins continues to press Koch against cage but continues to not land anything. Fighters separate and Koch goes for a high kick that just misses. Fighters trade jabs and a leg kick from Koch. Brookins attempts asuperman punch that misses and Koch goes for the surprise takedown. Both fighters hit the ground before popping right back up to their feet. Brookins’ takedown attempt leads to more action against the cage, Koch reverses, but Brookins reverses himself. Fight ends with little action. Close round. I score it 10-9 Koch for being more aggressive, with Koch winning 29-28
Judges have it 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28, a unanimous decision for Erik Koch.
Court McGee vs. Dongi Yang
McGee comes out with a leg kick, but it is Yang who takes the center of the Octagon. Yang goes to the body, and then a straight left to the head of McGee. Yang lands with several leg kicks. An extended lull in the action ends with McGee staggering Yang, but Yang recovers and connects with nice one-two combo. Yang counters a McGee kick with a kick of his own. Yang slips at end of round but cannot capitalize. Round ends uneventfully. Close round that I give 10-9 to Yang for damage done.
Round begins slowly. McGee throws leg kicks and Yang tries to catch them and counter, but neither fighter lands effectively. McGee presses Yang against fence. Yang escapes quickly. McGee moves forward but Yang connects with a combo. McGee shoots for a takedown that is defended before they clinch up again. Knee from Yang followed by a hook and then they break. One-two from Yang countered with a blocked headkick from McGee. McGee throws leg kicks and shoots for a takedown at the end of the round. 10-9 round for McGee due to aggression, as neither fighter did any significant damage.
McGee works for a single leg but Yang defends. McGee again looks for the takedown but is shoved aside by Yang. Yang connects with a right, and then a big right that drops McGee. Yang follows it up with a flying knee that connects with McGee’s face. The fight goes to the ground but McGee slips out after Yang attempts to take his back, and both fighters are back to their feet quickly. McGee lands a couple punches that bloody up Yang’s face. McGee still looks wobbly but Yang looks too tired to capitalize. Yang landing punches but not able to follow up on them. McGee attempts a takedown that is unsuccessful. McGee tries again and initially is defended but persistence pays off and takedown is successful. Yang escapes but a single leg by McGee is successful and McGee ends up on top of Yang. Punches and elbows land from McGee. McGee cinches in a guillotine choke that is deep, but the bell saves Yang. Great round, going to McGee 10-9.
Judges have it 30-28, 30-27, and 29-28 for McGee, who takes the unanimous decision.
Jake Shields vs. Jake Ellenberger
Shields takes the center of Octagon. One-two combo from Ellenberger. Shields tries to clinch up and Ellenberger ragdolls him off. Shields shoots again and can’t take him down. Fighters exchange punches and Ellenberger lands a knee to the body and then a devastating knee to the face. Ellenberger follows Shields to the ground and finishes him with vicious ground and pound. Very impressive victory by Ellenberger! I can’t help but feel bad for Shields after all he’s been through the past few weeks with the passing of his father.