By Jaime C. Feal
The UFC’s first event on FX featured four free fights for the viewers, and Zuffa has to be pleased with how things transpired. Three of the four fights ended in the first round via KO or submission, and the lone main card fight that went the distance earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Furthermore, the new announcing team of Jon Anik and Kenny Florian made an impressive debut, bringing intelligence, excitement, and knowledge to the play-by-play.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Christian Morecraft (7-2, 1-2 UFC) vs. Pat “HD” Barry (6-4, 3-4 UFC)
Barry starts with a right leg kick and Morecraft immediately catches the leg and gets the takedown. Morecraft is looking to take Barry’s back as he stands. Now Morecraft moves to mount and is looking for a choke, but it’s more of a neck crank and he gives it up. Morecraft again tries to take the back as Barry stands, but his hips are too high and Barry shakes him off and stands. Very nice jab by Barry finds the mark. Powerful right leg kick by Barry temporarily knocks Morecraft off his feet. Morecraft shoots for a takedown and pushes Barry to the cage, then gets him down. Morecraft moves to mount and is looking for an arm-triangle choke, but bails on it. Morecraft lands a shot from mount and Barry gives up his back, now Morecraft is looking for a belly-down armbar. It’s in deep but Barry methodically works both his legs over Morecraft’s head to counter, and now it’s Morecraft who’s on his back. The fighters stand with two minutes left in the opening round. Morecraft misses with a looping left hook, and Barry nails him with a counter left hook of his own. Morecraft drops to his back and “HD” pounces. A big right hand and follow up bombs on the ground turn Morecraft’s lights out.
Pat “HD” Barry wins by knockout at 3:38 of Round 1.
Bantamweight Division (135 lbs.):
Mike “The Hulk” Easton (11-1, 1-0 UFC) vs. Jared “The Jackhammer” Papazian (14-6, 0-0 UFC)
Easton comes right in and gets the half Thai clinch. The fighters go crazy and both start throwing right uppercuts and knees from the half clinch. Now Easton muscles Papazian to the cage and works knees to the body. Papazian lands a nice elbow and spins Easton to the cage. Easton uses an underhook and spins “The Jackhammer” on the cage, and then Easton counters and the sequence continues as the Bantamweights shift for position. Referee Mario Yamasaki separates the fighters due to the stalemate. The fighters trade decent right leg kicks. Nice jab by Papazian. Easton continuously coming forward, able to dodge a big overhand right and left hook by Papazian. Nice left and right hook by “The Hulk.” Papazian steps in with a one-two but eats a counter left by Easton. Spinning back kick by Easton, but it doesn’t land clean, Papazian tries to counter with a one-two but it doesn’t land clean either. Snapping right leg kick by Easton. With 10 seconds to go, the fighters get in the half clinch again and go nuts, throwing knees and short uppercuts as the horn sounds. Yamasaki has to yell “Stop!” as the bantamweights continue to scrap a second after the horn. 10-9 round for Easton.
Easton again pressing forward as Papazian circles on the outside. Nice right hook by the “Jackhammer.” Nice left hook from Easton. Good knee to the body and hook by Papazian. Excellent pace being maintained by both fighters. Huge right leg kick and solid straight right by Easton have Papazian reeling. Papazian slips the next punch and clinches up with Easton on the cage. The bantamweights are trading knees on the cage while jockeying for position. Yamasaki warns he’s going to break them, and he does. Nice right hand by Papazian. Easton secures double underhooks and presses him to the cage, but gets spun by Papazian. Nice trip-takedown from Easton into half guard. Easton starting to land some ground and pound. Papazian stands back up and eats a left hand for his trouble. Easton stuffs a Papazian shot at the end of the round and throws him on his back. 10-9 round for Easton.
The fighters begin with another wild flurry of hooks and kicks, both displaying their chins. Easton muscles Papazian to the cage. The fighters again working underhooks and reversing position, and Yamasaki breaks it. Easton gets double unders and tries for a trip, but Papazian defends. Good jabs by Easton, nice right uppercut by Papazian in response. Still blinding speed by both bantamweights. Nice right hand by Easton cracks Papazian, who hangs in no problem and throws back. Another wild flurry ensues, with Easton getting the better of it. Big uppercut by Papazian, but it doesn’t faze Easton. Nice left hook, right leg kick combo by Easton. The fighters trade right leg kicks. Nice trip by Easton and right hand as Papazian stands. Easton with the full Thai clinch, and briefly lands a couple knees to the body. Papazian throwing a lot but not landing, showing signs of fatigue. Big uppercut pops Easton’s heads up but he takes it. Papazian shoots for a lazy takedown, which is easily defended by Easton to close the fight. 10-9 round for Easton.
The judges score the fight 30-27, 29-28, and 29-29 for the winner by majority decision, Mike “The Hulk” Easton.
Welterweight Divison (170 lbs.):
Duane “Bang” Ludwig (21-11, 4-2 UFC) vs. Josh “The Dentist” Neer (32-10-1, 5-6 UFC)
Neer starts with a jab and forward pressure. Counter right by Ludwig buckles Neer’s knees, who clinches in response. Neer takes a knee and waives Ludwig on. Neer countinues to come forward and lands a left hook. Stiff right hand and a big knee to the body by Ludwig have Neer in trouble, backing up for the first time. Now Neer is in the center of the cage standing virtually still as he tries to recover. “The Dentist” looks at the ref and points to this deeth signaling he had lost his mouth guard, and ref Josh Rosenthal breaks the fighters. Neer gets his mouthpiece back in and the fight resumes. Veteran move by Neer to earn himself extra time to recover. Nice right hand to the body by Ludwig, then a left hook. Neer still coming forward. Knees to the body by Ludwig have Neer looking for a single leg. Neer has Ludwig’s leg lifted off the ground but is taking big shots for his troubles. Finally he gets Ludwig down with the relentless effort. Neer in half guard, Ludwig pushes him off briefly. Neer smothers him with hip pressure and gets back in guard. As Ludwig tries to push off again to get back to his feet, Neer locks up a guillotine choke. As he cranks the technique “Bang” tries to tap out, but falls asleep before he can. Neer looks at the ref and is shaking his head to signal his foe is unconscious, and Rosenthal rushes in to stop the fight.
Josh “The Dentist” Neer wins by technical submission (guillotine choke) at 3:02 of Round 1.
Lightweight Division (155 lbs.):
Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (29-9-2, 10-5 UFC) vs. Jim Miller (20-3, 9-2 UFC)
The lightweights touch gloves and Miller misses with a right hook. Flying knee attempt by Guillard but Miller backs away just in time. Another flying knee by Guillard blocked by Miller. Hard left hook by “The Young Assassin” drops Miller. Guillard hammerfisting Miller’s head as he tries to get up and shoot for a single. Guillard whizzers and punches to the head with right hands, then lands a big knee to the body. Miller is pushing is weight on Guillard against the cage, and eats another knee for his efforts. Guillard pulls the head down and lands another knee and a right head kick while Miller is backing away. Miller bleeding from the nose, shoots for a double and pushes Guillard to the cage. Flying knee by Guillard lands but Miller takes him down and winds up in guard. Miller passes to half guard, then moves to mount and Guillard gives up his back. As Guillard tries to stand, Miller locks in a body triangle and rear-naked choke, and drags Guillard to the ground. Even though his arm is on Guillard’s chin, the technique is way too tight and Guillard taps out.
Jim Miller wins by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:04 of Round 1.