Perhaps inspired by the night of fast finishes at last week's all-heavyweight UFC 146, the fighters of the Ultimate Fighter Live Finale's main card followed suit, with four of five bouts ending before the final bell. At the end of the night, Mike Chiesa was named the new Ultimate Fighter, a storybook ending to a heart-wrenching season that saw him lose his father less than a week into the show's taping. And in the main event, Martin Kampmann used his inhuman chin and Muay Thai base to launch himself one step closer to the 170-pound strap.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann
After a night of lighter-weight action put on by the best of the UFC’s newest faces, two veterans waged a welterweight war at The Palms that saw Martin Kampmann earn his 20th pro MMA victory – and a possible title contender eliminator bout -- in his 15th Octagon outing. Jake Ellenberger scored early and did serious damage in his eighth UFC appearance, but Kampmann’s trademark durability paid off as he knocked out Ellenberger with a knee at 1:40 of the second round.
Both men promised to end things early, and the action started almost immediately as Ellenberger moved forward and dropped Kampmann with his signature left hook within thirty seconds of the opening bell. He swarmed with hooks and elbows, but somehow Kampmann survived. On the mat with his back against the fence, Kampmann threatened Ellenberger with the potential for a guillotine on the ground for most of the rest of the round, staying active enough to ward off a stand-up and allowing both men to recover.
Kampmann came forward aggressively at the beginning of the second, and was rewarded with an absolute flurry of punches from Ellenberger, who threw every fist with 100% power and opened Kampmann’s nose. The two stood and traded – Kampmann temporarily warier due to his spraying nose -- and Ellenberger swung with such force that he spun himself off balance, aided by a short right from Kampmann in the exchange. Kampmann capitalized by rushing him to the fence, where Kampmann, a former Danish Thai boxing champion, lobbed just three knees. The third one floored “The Juggernaut,” and referee Steve Mazzagatti dove in to save Ellenberger from unnecessary damage at 1:40 of the second.
A clearly dejected Ellenberger was gracious in the Octagon but later said: "The stoppage was terrible. It's not my decision, but I knocked him down in the first round and he kept fighting. I didn't get the chance to keep fighting."
"I have to get hit a couple times before I get going," said Kampmann. "So if I see a mistake I try to take advantage of it. I just wish I wouldn't get hit with so many punches." Kampmann sees his record improve to 20-5, while Ellenberger’s six-fight win streak ends as he falls to 27-6.
Mike Chiesa vs. Al Iaquinta
The all-Team Faber TUF Live finals between lanky scrambler Mike Chiesa and the stoic Al Iaquinta promised a war between heart and skill. Both lightweight ground specialists were fighting their third fight in the last month, and in the end it was underdog Michael Chiesa who capped an emotional 13-week season by choking out Iaquinta in the first and becoming the first season of TUF Live’s Ultimate Fighter.
Iaquinta came out ruthlessly with right straights, which Chiesa answered with testing kicks. Iaquinta caught one of Chiesa’s kicks, then used it to bull him aginst the wall and unload. Chiesa fought back with a takedown attempt that Iaquinta turned into a trip before standing back up.
Again the two faced off with occasional punches, and again Iaquinta caught a kick and used it to force Chiesa against the cage. This time, though, Chiesa took Iaquinta’s back while they were still standing, then dropped to the ground with both hooks in and more than half the round left to work. As Iaquinta struggled for wrist control, Chiesa sunk in the rear-naked choke and Iaquinta – unwilling to tap – went to sleep at 2:47 of the first.
"Al's a tough guy," said Chiesa. "I'm just kind of sneaky so when I made it to my choke, I squeezed and squeezed. Each and every day has been a battle when it comes to my Dad. He's responsible for all of this. He's the one who told me what hard work was all about." The win – Chiesa’s sixth pro victory by submission -- improves the new UFC fighter’s record to 8-0; Iaquinta tastes his first loss of the season and sees his overall record drop to 5-2-1. Hear what the new Ultimate Fighter had to say in his post-fight interview
Jonathan Brookins vs. Charles Oliveira
In a fascinating featherweight matchup between TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins and Brazilian BJJ wunderkind Charles Oliveira, Oliveira gamely boxed for a round before seeing an opportunity to lock in one of his night-ending submissions (of his six previous UFC bouts, three have earned him Sub of the Night honors and one Fight of the Night).
The feeling out process consisted of boxing from Brookins and leg kicks from Olivera. Both guys did damage with knees in the clinch, and Olivera landed a body kick and right straight on the break. Brookins got a takedown and Oliveira grabbed for an armbar, but Brookins escaped danger and wisely backed off, forcing the bout to the feet. From there, Oliveira showed his stand-up skills, dropping Brookins once and repeatedly cornering him against the fence and unloading. But Brookins fought back and had his own moments, tagging Brookins with one solid right and a series of winging punches followed by another straight that Olivera ate without ever moving his head.
In round two, Brookins found his range and the two traded in the center of the cage. Brookins did particularly well with uppercuts, and Olivera answered with a knee in the clinch. Olivera pushed the bout against the cage and Brookins worked for a standing guillotine. Brookins dropped to the mat with his back to the fence with the choke in. Black belt Oliveira worked his way out and then locked in his own arm-in guillotine from top position against the cage. He got his hooks between Brookins and the fence and 2:42 minutes in, Brookins was forced to tap.
Oliveira’s record rises to 16-2 (1 NC), and the former lightweight is now 2-0 at featherweight; Brookins on the other hand, who won TUF at lightweight, slides to 14-5 and is 1-2 at 145.
Watch "Do Bronx's" post-fight interview
Max Holloway vs. Pat Schilling
Twenty-year-old striker Max Holloway toyed with a sluggish Pat Schilling
for three rounds in a bizarre featherweight bout in which Schilling had
to be instructed to stand up ten different times.
Schilling took the center of the cage and quickly tried for a single leg
against the cage. The taller Holloway narrowly avoided a ride as he
worked to neutralize the college wrestler. Once Schilling did get things
to the ground, Holloway quickly bounced up and then chased Schilling
around the cage with low kicks.
Though both men connected through the fight, it was Holloway who used a
diverse arsenal including low kicks, body blows and knees throughout all
three rounds and forced a competitive pace. Time after time, Holloway
cornered Schilling against the fence, injuring
him with body shots and strikes, only to have Schilling dive
desperately for a foot and then stay on the ground, refusing to stand
until instructed by the referee.
Holloway easily stepped out of two Schilling takedowns, after which
Schilling stayed on the mat to try and goad Holloway down. Both times the action
stalled as the ref stepped in so Schilling could stand. At one point,
plunked himself onto the mat during one of Holloway’s flurries in the
hopes of luring Holloway in for a Hail Mary armbar, but Holloway would have none
Schilling ended first the round by diving and rolling for a kneebar, but
the bell sounded before he could get a tap and he punched the mat in
frustration. At the end of the second, Holloway dropped Schilling with
strikes and followed up, but the bell intervened.
Round three was more Holloway boxing practice, with constant jabs,
straights and body shots earning only the occasional rally from
Schilling. Schilling’s striking found its mark when he bothered to use
it, including two dramatic spinning back fists, but otherwise he was
sluggish and unwilling to attack, which led to him being dropped yet
again toward the end of the round.
Judges’ scores were 30-27 across the board for Holloway, whose record
now stands at 5-1; Schilling, who acknowledged post-fight that he injured his shoulder in the first round, drops to 5-2, with both of his losses coming in the
Hear what Holloway had to say in his post-fight interview
Justin Lawrence vs. John Cofer
With TUF Live semifinalists Vinc
Pinchel and James Vick both on medical suspensions after their bout last
Friday. kickboxing standout Justin Lawrence and tough Southerner John
Cofer scored a spot on the Finale’s main card, opening the FUEL TV
broadcast with a wild stand-up exchange. At just 19 seconds of the third
round, Lawrence landed a highlight-reel head-kick knockout that felled
his opponent and showed the benefits of training at Black House MMA with
names like Anderson Silva.
Lawrence’s first kick of the fight
was caught by Cofer, who wasted no time getting the dangerous striker to
the mat and unloading an elbow. Lawrence hustled up and then caught one
of Cofer’s kicks, dropping him and chasing him to the ground with
punches. And that was the first 40 seconds of the fight.
stood to get the action back on the feet, and the rest of that round
and the next was a standup affair between two fearless lightweights.
Lawrence mixed up punches and kicks with equal ease, landing his left
hook in particular on exits and counters. His kicks landed with huge
thuds that could be heard throughout The Pearl at the Palms. For his
part, Cofer was relentless, moving forward with lefts-right combinations
and eventually finding his own range, especially with low kicks and
With under a minute left in round two, Lawrence
turned away for a spinning back kick, only to have his back taken by
Cofer who arced him through the air for a huge takedown. Lawrence
escaped out the back and tried to get Cofer to stand, but eventually
dove in with a flying punch. Cofer held Lawrence in tight guard as the
round wore down.
Cofer opened round three with another high kick
and the two traded up close. Lawrence landed a couple of close
uppercuts, Cofer scored with a left hook on the exit, and then a huge
high kick from Lawrence put the five-foot-nine Cofer instantly to sleep.
The 22-year-old Lawrence is now 4-0 in his pro career; Cofer slips to 7-3. "This is just the beginning," said Lawrence. "I won't be satisfied until I crack the top five. I got myself in a few bad spots but didn't panic."
Watch Lawrence's post-fight interview
TUF Live Finale: Main Card Results
By Laura Gilbert June 01, 2012