By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, November 21 – Before Saturday night’s clash with Marcus Davis at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, welterweight prospect Ben Saunders said that he hoped to become the first fighter to knock “The Irish Hand Grenade” out. His wish came true, as he used his deadly knees to halt the veteran contender in the first round of their UFC 106 preliminary bout.
“I’m on top of the world,” said Saunders. “This is the most amazing fight of my career.”
After Saunders’ attempts to end the bout early from long-range were unsuccessful, Davis closed the gap with some hard punches, only to be greeted by knees in the clinch from the Floridian that were just as hard. Soon, Davis was cut over the right eye, and Saunders was moving in for the finish. Davis fired back though, keeping his foe honest. With under two minutes left, Saunders began to find his range with his right hand, and to elude the punches, Davis moved in close again. That proved to be a costly mistake, as Saunders unleashed more knees, with a final right knee dropping Davis to the canvas. A final right hand ended the bout, with referee Josh Rosenthall moving in to halt the bout at the 3:24 mark.
With the win, Saunders improves to 8-1-2; Davis falls to 21-7.
Season three winner Kendall Grove made sure he didn’t join Chris Leben as Ultimate Fighter alumni to fall to middleweight prospect Jake Rosholt, submitting the former college wrestling standout in the first round.
Rosholt (6-2) made no secret of his gameplan, shooting in for the takedown and getting it via a thudding slam. Grove (13-6) fought his way back to his feet, but Rosholt took him right back down. By the two minute mark, Grove turned the tables by standing and getting a takedown of his own, but Rosholt responded well defensively and got back to his feet. Back on the offensive, Rosholt scored with some good strikes before taking matters back to the mat, but this time, Grove bounced back with a tight triangle choke, forcing Rosholt to tap out at 3:59 of the round.
“The triangle’s my thing,” said Grove. “That’s what works for me with my long legs. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Illinois welterweight Brian Foster nabbed his first UFC win in his second try, impressively stopping veteran Brock Larson in the second round.
The feeling out process between the two only took about 20 seconds before they engaged, Foster landing with some hard shots before Larson closed the gap and slammed him to the mat. Foster battled his way back to his feet, but Larson kept him locked up. Foster turned the tables on his foe moments later, and started unleashing an array of ground strikes. In an ensuing exchange, Larson kicked Foster in the face while he was downed, costing Larson a point for the foul from referee Yves Lavigne, and bringing in the Octagonside physician to look at the Foster’s eye. When the action resumed, Larson locked Foster up, but lost another point when he landed a knee to the head while Foster was considered to be down, putting the Brainerd, Minnesota native in a 10-7 hole.
Foster didn’t sit on his lead in round two, as he stalked Larson and looked to finish matters with his fists. For his part, Larson seemed tentative, not what you’d expect from a fighter down on the scorecards. Instead, it was Foster fighting like he was behind, as he slammed Larson to the canvas and landed flush ground strikes. After Larson stood and made a final shot, he was caught with a right hand and a follow-up barrage that brought Lavigne in to halt the bout at the 3:25 mark.
With the win, Foster improves to 15-4. He lost his UFC debut earlier this year in a Fight of the Night match against Rick Story. Larson falls to 27-4. Watch Now
In lightweight action, a second round point deduction from debuting Brazilian Fabricio “Morango” Camoes proved to be the deciding factor as he battled to a three round majority draw with Japanese veteran Caol Uno.
Scores were 29-27 for Uno, and 28-28 twice.
Camoes (10-4-1) opened up his UFC career with a blistering kick to the head of Uno, who left the exchange with a reddening on the side of his face. By the second minute, Camoes had taken Uno down, but he was unable to advance his positioning there and Uno got back to his feet. Moments later, Uno (25-12-5) was on the mat again, this time with Camoes looking to finish things with a rear naked choke. After some dicey moments, Uno escaped, got back to his feet, and went on the offensive, taking advantage when Camoes slipped to the canvas with ground strikes until the bell sounded.
There were some good standup exchanges to open the second round, with Camoes holding the edge before he got hold of Uno and slammed him to the mat. Uno reversed his position, but Camoes kicked him in the face from the bottom spot, drawing a point reduction from referee Mario Yamasaki for the infraction. When the bout resumed, Uno scored well as Camoes looked for a submission before eventually standing and tagging Uno again with power shots. Another trip to the canvas saw Uno score points with his ground strikes, but by the end of the round it was Camoes again landing with hard punches that jarred the Kanagawa native.
After eating more leather from Camoes to start the third round, Uno looked for the takedown but was turned away. Uno moved to Plan B and began trading with Camoes until getting his takedown on the second try midway through the round. On the mat, Uno took control with his striking, with Camoes unable to get back to his feet for the remainder of the bout. Watch Now
Lightweight up and comer George Sotiropoulos opened up the UFC 106 card with his fourth straight Octagon victory, submitting Jason Dent in a battle of The Ultimate Fighter alumni.
Sotiropoulos dominated the first round, showing off some sharp standup before taking Dent to the mat midway through the round for an extended ground and pound session that lasted until the bell.
Dent, battered but unbowed, tried to turn the tide in round two, but Sotiropoulos weathered the early attack and put Dent back on the canvas, where the Ohio native had little answer for the Australian, who sunk in the finishing armbar and got the tap out victory at 4:36 of the round.
With the win, Sotirpoulos improves to 11-2; Dent falls to 19-11