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Maggie Hendricks

Lentz wins a close split decision to kick off UFC 123


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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Nick Lentz started out UFC 123 with controversy, beating Tyson Griffin in a split decision, 29-28, 27-30 and 29-28 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit on Saturday.

Griffin and Lentz switched control often in the first round, with Lentz striking first with a takedown, and then Griffin reversing position and driving Lentz in the fence for much of the round. They then exchanged blows during the final minute of the round, with Lentz getting the better of striking. Griffin finished the round with an ineffective slam of Lentz.

Their stand-up drew boos from the crowd in suburban Detroit early in the second round, but that seemed to spur them on. They started to exchange more punches and kicks, until Griffin took down Lentz with about a minute and a half left in the round. Griffin tried for ground and pound but had trouble getting anything going.

Griffin wobbled Lentz to start the third and final round, and followed that up with several unanswered punches. Lentz tried for a takedown to stop the onslaught, but Griffin ended up on top. With a profusely bleeding face, Lentz was able to reverse position with a slam of Griffin. He tried for a chicken wing submission, but Griffin somehow got out of it and remained in control for the rest of the round.

The result elicited loud boos from the crowd, who were surprised that Griffin did not win. His record falls to 14-5 while Lentz's improves to 21-4.

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