UFC 141 opener: Nunes gets past Gamburyan, Volkmann escapes Escudero


LAS VEGAS - Diego Nunes lost to Kenny Florian back at UFC 131, but he sent a clear message he'd be a player in the UFC's 145-pound division.

Using his kicks as a huge weapon, Nunes took on former title contender Manny Gamburyan and rolled past him for a unanimous decision victory, 29-28 on all three scorecards, in bout No. 1 of the night at UFC 141 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Nunes (17-2, 1-1 UFC) ate a couple big right hands from Gamburyan in the second and third rounds, but walked right through them. Beyond that, all the effective came from the Brazilian. Fighting from a conventional stance, Nunes softened up Gamburyan (11-7, 0-2 UFC) in the opening with good leg kicks to his lead leg.

Nunes switched his stance to southpaw in the second and punished Gamburyan's right side. By the end of the fight, the swelling was evident on Gamburyan's right rib cage.

Gamburyan, the runner-up on Season 5 of "The Ultimate Fighter," has now lost three straight.

Volkmann survives late sub scare to beat Escudero

Escudero waited a long time to make his return to the UFC. Sadly, he spent the entire night underneath the might of Jacob Volkmann. Volkmann scored takedowns in each round, maintained top control for most of the fight and survived a very dangerous submission predicament on his way to a unanimous decision, 29-28 on all three scorecards.

Escudero, the champ from Season 8 of TUF, was making his return to the octagon for the first time since late 2010. He was 5-1 away from the UFC, but his gameplan was incredibly flawed. A former All-American college wrestler, Volkmann is a very good one-trick pony yet Escudero allowed him to close space in each round to basically hand him takedowns.

In both the first and round. Volkmann moved into close quarters and Escudero inexplicably dropped for guillotine attempts. Volkmann got out of the choke attempt quickly and worked from side control for the rest of each round.

In the final round, Escudero tried a knee to leave himself open for the takedown. Volkmann took advantage and dumped him. Volkmann was working him over on the ground, but referee Herb Dean decided to put the fight back on the feet with 2:45 left. It gave Escudero one final chance to pull off a miracle and he nearly did it. With 1;48 left, Volkmann drove Escudero into the cage for another double-leg takedown attempt, but he left his head exposed. The Mexican-American fighter locked on a power guillotine and worked the choke on the ground in two different dangerous scenarios.

Volkmann (14-2, 5-2 UFC) escaped to get his fifth straight victory at lightweight. His style may not be the most exciting, but he's posted victories over Danny Castillo, Paul Kelly, Ronys Torres, Antonio McKee and now Escudero.

Kim nearly takes out Pierson in the second to roll to easy win

Dong Hyun Kim looked for a spectacular kick for most of the first two rounds when he landed it was a little too close to the end of the second. Otherwise, his victory tonight would've been via knockout or TKO. Kim got the nod from the judges, 29-28 on all three scorecards in fight No. 3 of the night.

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