Sure, there was a decent selection of fights ahead of us by the time the UFC on FX: "Browne vs. Bigfoot" preliminary card hit the airwaves, but what was foremost on the mind was what wasn't happening. What wasn't happening was the bout between Dennis Hallman and Thiago Tavares (since Hallman failed to make weight) and the bout between Jeremy Stephens and Yves Edwards (since, earlier in the day, Stephens was scooped up by the local constabulary and deposited in the clink). Consequently, the two bouts that were supposed to air on Facebook were moved up to fill in the holes on the Fuel TV card. To add to the distracting confusion, UFC president Dana White was still tweeting that the Stephens/Edwards fight was still on, even after the prelims began. Oh the madness! So how did the Fuel TV fights that were happening go?
Considered something of a grappling specialist in his native UK, Phil Harris sought his fortunes on the ground by taking opponent Darren Uyenoyama down and trying to work from within his opponent's guard. This, he learned almost immediately, was a mistake, as Uyenoyama soon had him on the defensive end of a triangle choke attempt. The Brit escaped and returned to his feet, but his tentativeness saw Uyenoyama throwing a somersault kick (!), a bunch of high-kicks, and even adopting the Karate Kid's "crane stance" in an effort to goad Harris into engaging. Harris survived into the second round. However, things went from bad to worse went Uyenoyama hit the takedown, flowed from mount to back-mount, and slipped on the rear naked choke. Harris tapped out at 3:38 of Round 2.
Diego Nunes came hungry for blood, and boy did he get it. Blasting Bart Palaszewski with repeated right hands, the Brazilian had the American bleeding from a cut near the eye and tumbling to the canvas twice in the first five minutes. For his part, "Bartimus" forced Nunes to defend a guillotine and a triangle choke attempt, but he was definitely getting the worst of it. Round 2 was a little more even, with Palaszewski and Nunes exchanging on the feet — although Nunes find joy with a spinning backfist and continually threatened with that right hand. You can't count Palaszewski out, though — he's been around forever and seen it all — and early in the third he had Nunes wobbled and on jelly legs. Nunes recovered, and with seconds to go in the round his cross once more hit the target and the American fell stunned. Nunes took the clear-cut unanimous decision.
On paper, their skills were comparable and somewhat even. But when it came to actually fighting, Jacob Volkmann brought down upon Shane Roller a withering form of aggression. Pressuring the WEC vet with strikes before finding a takedown from outside, Volkmann was a man on a mission — and when he worked onto Roller's back and sunk in the rear naked choke, it was mission: accomplished. Roller tapped out at 2:38 of the first round in what a complete blowout for the President Obama-hating fighter.
Local boy Marcus LeVesseur may have sported the distinct wrestling advantage based on his credentials, but he found himself reigning in his offense when the veteran Carlo Prater put him in danger with sub attempts — namely, a flying triangle that turned into an arm-in guillotine in the first, and another arm-in guillotine and D'Arce choke in the second. Prater had two more attempts with that guillotine in the third round. Was it enough to warrant the judges' decision? It wasn't, with LeVesseur taking the split decision by virtue of whatever strikes he was able to land on the feet and on the ground.
They were bumped up from Facebook to the Fuel TV card, and Aaron Simpson and Mike Pierce made the most of the promotion to television. In an opening round that had both men swinging hard, it was Simpson that scored with a stunning right hand, and he followed it up by hoisting Pierce up and dumping him on the canvas. Simpson kept up the pressure by going for the rear naked choke and raining down punches from the mount, and when time ran out in the first, it seemed as if Pierce was in trouble. All that changed in dramatic fashion in the opening seconds of Round 2, though, with Simpson walking into a right hand that had him out 29 seconds in. Holy wow!
Danny Castillo almost ended things early in his bout against Michael Johnson. With just a minute expired, the Team Alpha Male rep plastered the TUF runner-up with a right hand, and the subsequent storm of hammerfists and the attempted head-arm choke had Johnson just struggling to stay alive. Despite the adversity, he did survive, albeit on the bottom all the way until the end of the round. However, Round 2 saw a dramatic turn of events similar to what had happened in Simpson/Pierce, with Johnson catching Castillo with a short left that had Castillo seeing stars. The follow-up punches on the ground were purely academic, and Johnson was awarded the KO at 1:06 of the second round.
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