UFC 145's preliminary card wasn't one to remember, though Travis Browne, Matt Brown and Chris Clements gave memorable performances in Atlanta on Saturday night.
Travis Browne pulled out the submission of the night with a triangle choke of Chad Griggs in the first round. Browne knocked Griggs to the ground with knees, then used a textbook choke to take out Griggs at 2:29 in the first.
Despite tiring out early, Matt Brown stopped the quick ascent of Stephen Thompson with a unanimous decision. The judges saw it 30-27, 29-27, 30-27 for Brown. Matt Brown grabbed a calf slicer in the first round, but Thompson worked his way out. In the second, Thompson controlled most of the round, landing shots as an exhausted Brown couldn't answer, until the final minute. Brown knocked Thompson to the ground with an elbow, then used ground and pound until the round ended. Those elbows opened a large cut on Brown's forehead. Thompson had better stand-up early in the third, but Brown's takedown and triangle choke late in the third round kept Thompson from fighting back.
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Unsurprisingly, Anthony Njokuani and John Makdessi's bout turned into a kicking contest, with Njokuani taking the bout 30-27 on all three judges' cards. Njokuani kept his distance while landing kicks to the abdomen and legs of Makdessi. Makdessi could never move inside enough to actually get some offense.
On an injured ankle, Mac Danzig won a decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 over Efrain Escudero. Escudero caught Danzig with a heel hook early, but Danzig defended by spinning out and taking Escudero's back before they returned to their feet in the first round. Danzig used a clinch in the second to control Escudero. On an ankle severely swollen from the heel hook, Danzig came out strong in the third, somehow having good movement. He returned to the clinch, again controlling Escudero against the fence.
Chris Clements won an exciting, back and forth split decision with Keith Wisniewski, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. Wisniewski got a takedown early in the first round as well as a big forehead cut. After an inexplicable stand-up, Clements knocked Wisniewski to the ground with a spinning back kick to the body. In the second round, Wisniewski took Clements back to try for a rear naked choke, but Clements threw elbows into Wisniewski's face. Clements had a much better third round, landing shot after shot that Wisniewski had no answer for.
A lackluster bout started the card in Atlanta, as Marcus Brimage and Maximo Blanco never truly found an offensive attack. Brimage was able to use kicks to get a bit of an edge, but seemed unsatisfied with his 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 win. Afterwards, he and Blanco got into a very odd tumble-off.
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