Event: UFC 135 Pay-Per-View
Airdate: Saturday, September 24th, 2011 (Pay-Per-View)
Location: The Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado
James Te Huna vs. Ricardo Romero
Romero shoots for a long single-leg and gets shucked easily. Te Huna zaps the New Jerseyite with a hard right hand and Romero goes to a knee. Romero survives, stands back up and goes back to shooting from way out. As Romero grabs at Te Huna’s ankles, the New Zealander slugs him with a right uppercut, then another. Romero is out cold on his face and referee Tim Mills jumps in for the save after just 47 seconds.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cole Escovedo
Mizugaki pushes forward early, slugging at his man with hooking combos. Escovedo returns fire with a high kick and lands a few knees as the bantamweights briefly tie up. Mizugaki socks the “Apache Kid” with a solid left hand and tries to trip him down with a waistlock, but they wind up vying for position on the fence. Underhooks for Mizugaki while Escovedo grabs at the Thai plum. Finally, it’s Mizugaki who gets his way and trips Escovedo down, but the Californian is right back up. With his back to the fence, Escovedo jumps guard and tries to slap a triangle on the standing Mizugaki. He can’t get there, however, before Mizugaki shakes him loose and drives him into the canvas. They’re quickly back on the feet, where Mizugaki connects with a hard left and Escovedo answers with a pair of sharp knees. They trade uppercuts, dirty boxing, until a series of level elbows stagger Mizugaki and they split. Mizugaki comes on strong in the final 20 seconds, blasting away with combinations to the head and body.
Mizugaki catches a kick and trips Escovedo down, but allows him right back up. A particularly high inside thigh kick from Mizugaki prompts referee Adam Martinez to caution him. Left hook-right hook combination from Mizugaki backs up Escovedo, who responds with a high kick that catches Mizugaki on the head, but mostly with the foot. Mizugaki continues throwing his two-piece combos and a right uppercut-left hook has Escovedo staggering slightly. Another well-timed countershot sends Escovedo stumbling halfway across the cage and onto his rear, but again Mizugaki lets him up. Mizugaki lands a pair of punches, causing Escovedo to clinch, but the American can’t mount any offense as Mizugaki is busy slugging him with another six or eight crisp punches. Mizugaki is just ripping Escovedo apart with punches now, mixing in a few knees to the body for good measure. A left hook finally sends Escovedo crashing to the ground. Mizugaki dives in to seal the deal with one more punch, but referee Martinez is already moving into action, the stop coming officially at 4:30 of round two.
Junior Assuncao vs. Eddie Yagin
Both men look very tentative off the bat, the much larger Assuncao taking the center of the cage while Yagin moves cautiously outside. The crowd begins booing after only 40 seconds of inactivity. Assuncao tries a few front kicks then lunges forward with a punch, but gets hit on a counter by Yagin. The Brazilian stays cautious until he eats a punch from Yagin, misses a kick and shoots. Easy takedown for Assuncao finds him stacking Yagin up against the cage. Yagin throws up a triangle, but Assuncao slips it and tries to move to side control. Yagin does well to keep his position; Assuncao lands a few solid punches from guard before Yagin shoves him off and stands. Yagin pushes forward, looking for a big right hand. The pace on the feet remains tepid. Assuncao ducks a punch and lands another double-leg with 30 seconds left, though it’s Yagin who immediately begins throwing elbows from the bottom. Yagin throws a few more before the horn and the Denver audience jeers again.
Assuncao starts leg- and front-kicking to begin the second, and nearly runs into a knee. Yagin keeps lunging forward with right hands, but Assuncao sidesteps them and shoots in after about 80 seconds. Assuncao can’t get Yagin down and instead tries to jump on his back. Yagin won’t have it and turns around, his back to the cage, before shoving Assuncao away. The featherweights go back to feinting and slapping with leg kicks and the crowd voices its displeasure. Assuncao is throwing long, single left hands to keep the shorter Yagin at bay. He shoots a single-leg and Yagin grabs a guillotine as he’s falling to his back. The choke looks deep, but Assuncao wags his finger theatrically to indicate his lack of concern. Assuncao peels the hands of Yagin away and they go back to the feet, where the round ends without much more action.
Assuncao slaps with a few low kicks and shoots in. He’s stuffed by Yagin, who takes top position briefly before being shoved off. Yagin tries for another guillotine when Assuncao shoots a high double. Yagin jumps guard and wrenches the choke, but Assuncao waits it out, leaning forward and popping his head loose. Assuncao sits in Yagin’s guard at the base of the fence with three minutes left in the bout. Yagin’s right arm is pinned by Assuncao’s leg and Assuncao socks away with left hands to Yagin’s unprotected face. Yagin gets his arm loose but still can’t protect against the punches and elbows of Assuncao. The shots aren’t particularly hard, but they’re accumulating and Yagin is offering nothing in return. Referee Josh Rosenthal implores Yagin to fight as he eats more left hands to the head, elbows to the body. Assuncao lets loose with 20 seconds remaining and Yagin can’t escape before the final horn.
Official result: One scorecard reads 30-27 and the remaining pair say 30-26, all three in favor of the winner by unanimous decision, Junior Assuncao. Judges’ names are not announced.
Nick Ring vs. Tim Boetsch
The righty Boetsch throws a few front kicks to keep circling southpaw Ring at a distance. Ring is sidestepping Boetsch’s punches, trying to counter and step off. He catches a kick from Boetsch and Boetsch drives forward, looking for a takedown. Ring sprawls on it and ties up the head and shoulders, then drives a few well-placed knees into Boetsch’s shoulder. Ring stands and lets Boetsch loose before resuming his circling. The Canadian slips a big right hand from Boetsch and tries to catch another front kick, but this time Boetsch lands a solid left. Boetsch is chasing Ring all around the Octagon, unable to find his range with punches, so he goes low for a takedown. It doesn’t come and Ring sticks Boetsch with a few stiff jabs, firing off a blocked head kick just as the round ends.
Boetsch continues pressing forward, headhunting. A solid right hand gets through, but Ring answers with a series of stiff jabs. Boetsch grazes with an overhand right, lands more solidly with a right uppercut and ties up. They split and another right from Boetsch drops Ring to a knee. Ring pops back up and clinches Boetsch into the cage, delivering a knee to the body before he’s tripped to the mat. Ring is able to stand back up easily and immediately finds himself in a headlock. Boetsch jumps guard and threatens with the guillotine, but Ring has a good angle on top and waits it out. Boetsch tries to scramble to his feet and winds up in north-south position, where Ring goes for a guillotine of his own. There’s nothing on this one and Boetsch stands, then mugs Ring with a flurry of punches in close quarters. Boetsch closes out the round in full mount, hunting for a kimura, after bringing Ring down with an inside trip.
Boetsch is landing the more effective strikes in the opening minute of the final round, zapping Ring with a couple of hard left hooks. The “Barbarian” bullies Ring into the cage and the middleweights jockey for position momentarily until referee Mario Yamasaki splits them up. Boetsch pushes forward on Ring, who lands a jab and a knee to the body before being tripped down. Boetsch sits in Ring’s closed guard, smothering and throwing a few tired punches. Referee Yamasaki wants them back up with 90 seconds remaining. Both men look exhausted now and Boetsch sends a knee to Ring’s body before sending him hurtling to the ground with an uchi mata. Boetsch has the crucifix momentarily, Ring escapes to north-south, but Boetsch winds up back on top. Boetsch has side-control, then opts to stand up and finish the fight punching downward at Ring.
Official result: It’s a unanimous decision with all three scorecards — 30-27 and 29-28, twice — in favor of Tim Boetsch.
Tony Ferguson vs. Aaron Riley
Ferguson misses with rangy punches and catches a left high kick from the smaller man. Right uppercuts from Ferguson begin to find their marks as Riley kicks high again, but this time his leg is caught and Ferguson sends him cartwheeling. A left uppercut-right hook combo stuns Riley, then another hard uppercut. Riley regains his wits and keeps on his feet, but Ferguson is walking him down now. Ferguson takes a kick to the groin and socks Riley with an uppercut, a straight. Ferguson grabs the collar with his left hand and uses his right to thud Riley up against the fence. Riley’s bleeding from the nose, breathing with his mouth open as the first round enters its last minute. Ferguson lands a hard kick to the midsection, misses with a swiping follow-up right and takes a punch from Riley.
When the round ends, Riley immediately informs his corner that his jaw is broken and the fight is waved off. Tony Ferguson is the winner by TKO after five minutes.
Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi
The southpaws bend at the knees and search the distance with pawing right hands. A straight left from Diaz sends Gomi spinning to the ground, the “Fireball Kid” carried down from the momentum of his own shot. Gomi hops back up and recovers, landing a swiping right as Diaz walks him into the cage. Gomi drills Diaz’s ribs and Diaz socks him with a right-handed scorcher. The rangier Diaz is using the distance well, piling on his family’s trademark slapping shots while Gomi swings for the fences and misses. Taunting Gomi with his hands by his sides, Diaz picks his punches and drops Gomi again at the base of the cage. After a couple more shots, Gomi goes down on a delayed effect and Diaz leaps on his back. Gomi gets out the backdoor and escapes trouble on the floor, only to find himself eating more punches on the feet. Gomi tosses Diaz down, and Diaz instantly attacks off his back with an armbar. Gomi pulls the limb free and Diaz transitions straight into a triangle choke. It looks tight for a moment, but Diaz lets it go and slaps the armbar back on Gomi’s left arm. There’s nowhere for Gomi to go this time; he taps out at 4:27 of the opening round.
Travis Browne vs. Rob Broughton
The big men touch gloves and Browne throws first, missing with a big right hand. Browne misses again with the right and ties up when he gets inside, shoveling Broughton into the fence with an underhook. They split and Browne just misses as he pulls Broughton’s head down for a knee. Browne throws chopping leg kicks inside and out, then snaps off a front kick to keep the shorter Broughton outside. Not much action in the middle of the stanza as Broughton tries to walk Browne down and find a punch. Broughton gets underhooks on the circling Browne, holds him on the fence for a moment and then backs out without inflicting any punishment. Browne pushes Broughton backward with some big swings, clips him with a punch and tries to leap in with a flying knee. The knee misses and the pair tie up, Browne absorbing a compact right from Broughton in the clinch. Browne puts Broughton on his back with an effortless single-leg and gets to mount immediately, where he begins dropping elbows. Broughton puts him back in half-guard before the horn.
Both men pump left jabs to start the second frame, but it’s a swiping left from Browne that connects. Broughton lobs a slow inside leg kick which Browne times well with a counterpunch. Browne throws a hard right hand to the body and a leg kick outside. The next high kick attempt from Browne is caught, but Broughton can’t or doesn’t want to bring him down. Browne continues circling away from Broughton and the crowd boos. Just as they do, Browne charges forward, winging punches, clinching up and landing a group of solid knees to the head and body of the Englishman. Broughton reverses Browne into the fence and Browne shoves him off. Now it’s Browne who shoves Broughton into the fence, but doesn’t get much done in the 30 seconds before he releases. With just under a minute left, Browne gets another easy takedown and again moves to full mount. A few punches have Broughton turning over, leaning for a possible armlock. Browne gets in a few more hard punches before the round ends.
Broughton moves forward on the tired Browne and lands an overhand right, followed by a clinch. Browne breaks out and spins Broughton down with a single-leg; this time, he doesn’t take full mount, but half-guard on Broughton’s right side. Browne isn’t throwing from the top, instead possibly looking to set up an arm-triangle choke. Broughton defends and Browne gives it up, nearly advances to mount. Broughton turns over and Browne takes his back in the riding-time position, then takes full mount. The heavyweights look as though they’re grappling in molasses as the fight enters the final minute. Broughton stuffs Browne back to his guard and tries for a last-ditch kimura. It doesn’t work and Browne finishes the fight on top, securing what should be a unanimous decision.
Official result: All three scorecards read 30-27 in favor of the winner by unanimous decision, Travis Browne.
Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt
Rothwell’s first shot is evaded by Hunt, who looks to thrust his right hand to the chin of the larger man. Rothwell answers with a jab of his own, ducks down and has another takedown try slipped. The third time’s the charm for Rothwell, who ducks under a punch and floors Hunt to the base of the cage. Rothwell gets to full mount and Hunt gets an underhook to stuff him back. Hunt’s on his right side, back against the cage; he avoids major damage from Rothwell and pops back to his feet. Hunt shoves Rothwell away on the next shot, and the next one. The “Super Samoan” is looking to catch the American coming in with an uppercut. Hunt tries the punch again on the next shot from Rothwell, lands an elbow instead and shoves Rothwell to the ground. Hunt holds side-control briefly before standing. He socks Rothwell with an uppercut in the clinch and Rothwell’s bloodied around the eye. Rothwell drags Hunt down to the base of the fence with 30 ticks to go. Rothwell gets off a handful of punches and elbows to the face of the defending hunt before the horn.
Hunt lands his first hard leg kick of the bout, while both men looking to decapitate the other. Clinching on the fence, Hunt gets a surprise takedown and works from Rothwell’s half-butterfly guard. Rothwell looks to isolate the left arm of Hunt, who’s socking him in the face with heavy right hands. Rothwell lets go of the arm and focuses on negating the space between himself and the big kickboxer. Hunt stands and drops a left on Rothwell as he shucks the legs and moves to side-control. Hunt puts his left knee on Rothwell’s stomach and punches away, causing Rothwell to burst out and go to his knees. Rothwell tries to roll forward and gets stuck; Hunt gets mount and goes for an armbar, but can’t extend it fully before the round expires.
Rothwell is completely spent as the final period starts and Hunt has him in trouble immediately with a flurry of punches. Rothwell clinches up and Hunt gets the takedown, but doesn’t do much from top position before referee Adam Martinez issues a stand-up command. Rothwell shoots a tired shot, gets stuffed, eats an uppercut. Rothwell shoots again and basically runs his head into the ground as Hunt sidesteps him. Hunt lands a right and turns to walk away, though Rothwell doesn’t fall. Rothwell shoots, absorbs another uppercut, then gets taken down by Hunt. Two minutes to go and Hunt has Rothwell in trouble with side-control against the cage. Despite Hunt’s advantageous position, referee Martinez orders them to stand. Hunt lands a few more punches and Rothwell leans his back on the fence, hands on his knees. Hunt just misses the leaning American with a head kick. Somehow, the exhausted Rothwell gets Hunt to north-south position and nearly locks in a choke, then almost takes full mount before the end of the bout.
Official result: The judges have it 29-28, 29-27 and 30-27, all for the winner by unanimous decision, Mark Hunt.
Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck
There’s no touch of gloves from the welterweights, who go right to cautiously striking. Hughes looks to stick Koscheck with a left jab in Koscheck’s previously injured eye. Koscheck begins finding his range, searching for uppercuts in close. They exchange uppercuts, Hughes seeming to land the better. Koscheck rushes in for a takedown which Hughes avoids, drilling Koscheck with a knee on the exit. A right uppercut from Koscheck puts Hughes on wobbly legs, but the ex-champ ducks under a follow-up punch. Koscheck puts a few more punches on Hughes, who stumbles backward and falls to his rear. Koscheck chases him down, dropping heavy right hands from above. Hughes turns to his left side and Koscheck turns out his lights with three or four more right hands. Referee Mario Yamasaki steps in to wave off the bout a split-second prior to the horn with Hughes slumped forward, unconscious. The official time of the stop is 4:59 of the first round.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson
Referee Josh Rosenthal is the third man in the cage for tonight’s 205-pound title bout. Jackson stares down the champion during final instructions; Jones looks down at the ground. Jones advances in a crouching position at the horn, one hand on the mat, meeting Jackson in the center. He grabs at a leg and stands, clinching Jackson into the fence. After a knee inside, Rampage tells referee Rosenthal that he was caught low, but the action continues. Jones grabs a loose headlock, lets it go and smacks Jackson with an elbow in the clinch. Jackson complains again of a low knee, but again the ref takes no action. They break off with two minutes gone in the opening frame. Jones goes to the southpaw stance and flicks out front and high kicks, then chops to the inside of Jackson’s left thigh. They tie up and Jones tosses Jackson away, nearly hurling him to the ground. Jackson blocks a right high kick, gets backed up by a kick to the knee from “Bones.” The champ keeps kicking at Rampage’s knees and snapping off front kicks. He muscles Jackson into the cage post and shrugs him a shoulder, exiting with a spinning elbow. Jackson ducks under a wheel kick and an elbow, giving chase with winging punches as the first frame ends.
Outside leg kicks are the offense of choice from Jones early in the second, until the pair tie up along the outside. Jackson pushes loose but gets caught in a headlock. It doesn’t last long and the pair are back to trading, Jones sticking Jackson with a left straight that has Rampage nodding. Midway through the round, Jones goes back to kicking the outside of Jackson’s legs. Jackson can’t seem to get inside on the larger champ, who follows a turning kick with a side-kick to the midsection. Jones lands a left, a left, a right and the men clinch. Right at the horn, Jones pulls guard and tries to latch on a triangle choke.
Jones catches a kick from Rampage and tries to bring the former champ down, but Jackson isn’t having it. Jackson throws a few kicks to the inside of Jones’ right leg, still can’t find success with his punches. Jones kicks the outside of Rampage’s left leg, then grabs the same limb and takes him down. Jones hops into full mount only 90 seconds into the round and begins trying to drop elbows on Rampage’s forehead. Jackson posts and escapes to his feet, where he swipes at his nose and offers another unknown complaint to ref Rosenthal. Jones seems to hurt the left knee of Rampage with a kick, but gets caught turning around with Rampage throwing bombs. Jones turns and sprints away, then comes back forward with more leg kicks. Flying knee attempt from Jones misses; the light heavyweights stand weaving in front of one another and Jones pops Rampage with a fast left. Jones shoots at the last second, lifts Rampage into the air and then goes through his legs after the horn, dropping the challenger onto his face.
They clinch up in the middle of the cage and Jones drives Rampage down at the base of the fence. Jackson goes to turn and Jones immediately jumps on his back, sinking in his left hook to flatten Jackson out. It’s only a matter of seconds before Jones snakes his arm under Jackson’s chin and rolls him out. Jones clasps the rear-naked choke palm-to-palm and Jackson is forced to tap out at 1:14 of the fourth round.