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The UFC 127 headliner ended in a disappointing but just majority draw after three highly competitive rounds. Two of the three cage-side judges ruled it a 28-28 deadlock. A third scored it 29-28 for Fitch, who dominated Penn with top control and heavy ground-and-pound in the third round.
“I thought [I deserved the win],” Fitch said. “I gave some positioning in the first two rounds, but I came back and did enough to at least win a split decision.”
Penn surprised the American Kickboxing Academy standout with his game planning. The gifted Hawaiian scored with takedowns in each of the first two rounds and secured back control on Fitch, threatening him with chokes from behind. Fitch defended successfully and turned into Penn’s guard on both occasions.
“My cardio was through the roof. It just threw me off. I didn’t train for B.J. shooting takedowns,” Fitch said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. It took me until the second round to really find my groove.”
Fitch came out firing in the third, as he unleashed a crisp overhand right and transitioned immediately to a takedown inside the first 10 seconds. Penn fought back to his feet, only to be taken down again with 3:44 left in the fight. He never again returned to an upright position. From there, Fitch tore into Penn with elbows, punches and hammerfists from the top. It was the most decisive part of the 15-minute encounter between the two.
“I think I got some dominant positions in the first and second, but he kicked my butt in the third,” Penn said. “If I lost this fight, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my career, but since the gods were nice to me and gave me a draw, if he wants to do it again, I’ll do it again.”
Fitch — who entered the Octagon with wins in 21 of his last 22 fights — restated his desire to challenge for the welterweight title again, though he seemed resigned to the fact that a rematch with Penn might be forthcoming.
“I want the title more than anything, but at the end of the day, we don’t make the decisions,” Fitch said. “The guys in the suits do and the fans do. Whatever — I’m here to fight. I’m here to fight the best. If my 13 wins in the UFC aren’t enough to put me in there for a title shot, then I’m willing to prove myself some more.”
Bisping Flurry Stops Rivera in Second
The world-ranked Michael Bisping buried Jorge Rivera under a barrage of punches and knees, forcing a second-round stoppage in the co-main event. The blows put Rivera on one knee and left the referee no choice but to intervene 1:54 into round two.
The two middleweights exchanged heated words before briefly embracing.
“Jorge’s camp talked a lot of s–t coming into this fight,” Bisping said. “I apologize for getting a little worked up there. I respect Jorge as an opponent. I didn’t understand it. I never said anything bad about him. I felt they were going a little below the belt.”
It appeared as though the match might end prematurely in the first round, when Bisping connected with an illegal knee to Rivera’s head. After several tense moments, the fight resumed. Bisping controlled Rivera with jabs and takedowns, minimizing the impact of the point deduction.
A straight right hand from Bisping marked the beginning of the end for Rivera in the second round. The Brit flurried on him against the cage, utilizing his hands and knees. Rivera covered up in an attempt to recuperate, but Bisping left him no room to breathe much less recover. A final combination drove Rivera to the canvas and brought a decisive end to their middleweight bout.
Bisping has won seven of his past nine fights, including three in a row.
“I worked really hard on [my conditioning],” he said. “I can’t understand why guys come in here and can’t fight hard for three rounds. I love my job. I’m just trying to achieve my goals.”
Siver Derails Sotiropoulos, Halts Aussie’s Streak
Siver has won three in a row.
Russian-born German kickboxer Dennis Siver threw a monkey wrench into the lightweight division, as he upended the surging George Sotiropoulos by unanimous decision. The judges scored it 29-28, 30-28 and 30-27 for Siver, who has won seven times in his last eight appearances.
“It was a hard fight,” Siver said, “but I could do my game plan, and that’s why I won.”
Siver set the tone with a pair of crackling left hooks in the opening period, both of which left Sotiropoulos on the seat of his pants. The Aussie survived, though he was clearly wobbled and weakened between rounds. Sotiropoulos sprang back in the second frame two with sharp straight power punches, jabs and kicks. However, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt never managed to bring the fight to the ground, where his superior grappling skills would have come into play.
“We trained so hard for that, because we knew that George would try to put me on the ground,” Siver said. “That’s why we trained it every day, and it worked.”
Clearly frustrated, Sotiropoulos was forced to stand with a superior striker. In the third round, Siver worked kicks to the legs and head, put together powerful combinations and kept himself upright. The defeat, Sotiropoulos’ first in UFC competition, snapped the Aussie’s eight-fight winning streak.
“He was very strong, and he threw some heavy shots,” Sotiropoulos said. “I tried to work for the takedown, but he defended well. It was hard to take him down.”
Ebersole Upsets Lytle in UFC Debut
Seasoned 62-fight veteran Brian Ebersole fought brilliantly in his first Octagon appearance, as he upset the resurgent Chris Lytle by unanimous decision in a welterweight showcase. All three judges scored it for the Australia-based American: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Ebersole featured a quirky standup attack and outstanding submission defense. Lytle landed heavy punches to the head and body, often one at a time, in the first round and threatened with a guillotine choke. Still, he never seemed to find himself in the match. Ebersole leveled him with a brutal knee against the cage in round two and tried to finish it with a tight brabo choke.
“I thought I was going to be able to sink that choke, but being up against the cage kind of made it hard,” Ebersole said. “He’s not some guy who loses his awareness. He’s a very tough guy, and he was there with me the whole time.”
Lytle faded in the third round, perhaps impacted by the after effects of the knee. He again turned to the guillotine choke, but Ebersole was never in danger. Ultimately, he freed his neck, postured inside Lytle’s guard and dropped a wicked elbow that opened a deep gash on the left side of the Indianapolis native’s forehead. With that, Ebersole punctuated the most significant win of his 11-year career.
“Overcome with emotion,” he said. “I brought a lot of emotion in here from the people in my life tonight.”
Noke Choke Taps Camozzi
They barely broke a sweat.
Kyle Noke grounded fellow “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 cast member Chris Camozziand coaxed a tapout with a rear-naked choke in a featured middleweight tilt. Camozzi submitted to the hold just 95 seconds into round one.
The two traded strikes for roughly a minute before Noke secured the takedown into full mount and dropped punches from the top. He took Camozzi’s back in a scramble, locked in the choke and finished it in a hurry. Noke, who once served as a bodyguard for the late Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, has rattled off five consecutive victories, three of them in the UFC.
“I was expecting a standup war from Chris,” Noke said, “but when we went to the ground, I was happy to get the submission.”
BJ Penn e Jon Fitch empatam no UFC 127
O UFC voltou para a Austrália pela segunda vez com BJ Penn x Jon Fitch na luta principal da noite, mas o show terminou em muita discussão. Melhor no primeiro assalto, o havaiano surpreendeu ao tentar a queda e trabalhar o Jiu-Jitsu logo no começo, e quase conseguiu encaixar um mata-leão. O panorama seguiu o mesmo no assalto seguinte, mas Fitch começou a levar vantagem no quesito preparo físico.
No terceiro e decisivo round, BJ Penn puxou o freio de mão. Exausto, o ex-campeão do UFC foi presa fácil para Fitch, que quedou e castigou no ground and pound durante cinco minutos. Por perder os dois primeiros assaltos, Fitch precisaria do nocaute para vencer, mas não conseguiu. Na decisão das papeletas, um jurado apontou vitória de Fitch (dando-lhe vantagem no segundo round) e os outros dois decretaram o empate (10-9 para BJ nos dois primeiros rounds, e 10-8 para Fitch no terceiro).
Decepção do público e de Fitch, que esperava a vitória para ter mais uma chance pelo cinturão. “Eu quero o título. Estou aqui para lutar com os melhores. Se as minhas 13 vitórias no UFC não forem suficientes…”, lamenta Jon. Apesar da superioridade no primeiro round, a segunda parcial parelha e o massacre sofrido na etapa final deixaram BJ convencido da derrota, e surpreso com o empate. “Consegui posições dominantes, mas ele bateu muito no meu corpo no terceiro round… Se ele quiser fazer de novo, vamos fazer isso de novo”, finalizou.
BISPING PERDE A CABEÇA, MAS NOCAUTEIA
Jorge Rivera provocou, brincou, sacaneou. Em vídeos na internet, xingou seu oponente Michael Bisping de todos os palavrões possíveis, e de maneira irônica caçoou a sua “falta de poder de nocaute”. Quem fala o que quer… O clima da luta começou quente, e Bisping perdeu a esportiva ao acertar uma joelhada ilegal (Rivera estava ajoelhado), mas fez o que sabe no segundo round. Com Jorge acuado na grade, Michael desferiu uma série de socos, forçando o árbitro a interromper a luta, decretando o nocaute técnico.
“Ele falou muita besteira. Peço desculpas pela falta de controle. O respeito como oponente, mas ele falou muita besteira”, disse Bisping, arrependido pelas atitudes intempestivas durante e após a peleja, quando foi tirar satisfações com Rivera, que ainda se recuperava do nocaute. “Estou tentando melhorar para atingir o meu objetivo”. O plano de Bisping, conforme disse antes da luta, é vencer um nome forte da categoria e ter sua chance pelo cinturão de Anderson Silva.
DENNIS SIVER SEGURA ÍDOLO AUSTRALIANO
O australiano George Sotiropoulos, maior nome do país no MMA, tropeçou diante do alemão Dennis Siver. Com uma trocação afiada, o striker dominou a ação desde o início, castigando com chutes e conseguindo dois knockdowns ainda na etapa inicial. Insistindo no single leg, Sotiropoulos não conseguiu levar a luta para a sua praia, o chão, e acabou esbarrando na trocação de Siver, que dominou o terceiro round e venceu na decisão unânime.
CHINÊS FINALIZA PARA A “ALEGRIA” DO UFC
O interesse do UFC no mercado asiático cresce a cada evento, e a chegada do chinês Tiequan Zhang era o que a organização precisava para cativar os fãs do país mais populoso do mundo. Depois de estrear no WEC com vitória, porém, a fera sofreu a primeira derrota de sua carreira antes da fusão UFC-WEC, mas deu a volta por cima no UFC 127. Com apenas 48 segundos de combate, Zhang encaixou uma guilhotina e forçou Jason Reinhardt a dar os três tapinhas.
MARK HUNT SALVA A CARREIRA COM NOCAUTE
Veterano do Pride, Mark Hunt vinha de cinco derrotas consecutivas na carreira, mas ganhou a chance de lutar no UFC graças a uma cláusula em seu contrato com o extinto evento. A estreia com derrota por finalização não foi nada animadora, mas ele deu a volta por cima na Austrália. Na segunda luta da noite, o peso pesado foi bem no primeiro round, escapando de uma justa kimura, e nocauteou Chris Tuchscherer no começo do assalto seguinte.
Sábado, 26 de fevereiro de 2011
– BJ Penn empatou com Jon Fitch;
– Michael Bisping derrotou Jorge Rivera por nocaute técnico a 1min54s do 2R;
– Dennis Siver derrotou George Sotiropoulos na decisão unânime dos juízes;
– Brian Ebersole derrotou Chris Lytle na decisão unânime dos juízes;
– Kyle Noke finalizou Chris Camozzi com um mata-leão a 1min35s do 1R;
– Ross Pearson derrotou Spencer Fisher na decisão unânime dos juízes;
– Alexander Gustafsson finalizou James Te Huna com um mata-leão a 4min27s do 1R;
– Nick Ring derrotou Riki Fukuda na decisão unânime dos juízes;
– Anthony Perosh finalizou Tom Blackledge com um mata-leão a 2min45s do 1R;
– Tiequan Zhang finalizou Jason Reinhardt com uma guilhotina a 48s do 1R;
– Mark Hunt nocauteou Chris Tuchscherer a 1min41s do 2R;
– Curt Warburton derrotou Maciej Jewtuszko na decisão unânime dos juízes.
UFC 127 – Penn vs. Fitch
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|1||Curt Warburton||Maciej Jewtuszko||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|2||Mark Hunt||Chris Tuchscherer||KO (Punch)||2||1:41|
|3||Tiequan Zhang||Jason Reinhardt||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||1||0:48|
|4||Anthony Perosh||Tom Blackledge||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||1||2:45|
|5||Nick Ring||Riki Fukuda||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|6||Alexander Gustafsson||James Te Huna||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||1||4:27|
|7||Ross Pearson||Spencer Fisher||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|8||Kyle Noke||Chris Camozzi||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||1||1:35|
|9||Brian Ebersole||Chris Lytle||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|10||Dennis Siver||George Sotiropoulos||Decision (Unanimous)||3||5:00|
|11||Michael Bisping||Jorge Rivera||TKO (Punches)||2||1:54|
|12||Jon Fitch||B.J. Penn||Draw||3||5:00|