Florian Halts Lauzon; Maynard, Diaz Also Win

By Mike Sloan Apr 3, 2008
BROOMFIELD, Colo., April 2 -- Maybe it was the mile-high altitude. Maybe it was Kenny Florian (Pictures)'s determination. Either way, Joe Lauzon (Pictures) couldn't make it out of the second round Wednesday in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Broomfield Events Center just outside of Denver.

After an opening stanza that was about as close as it gets, Florian, a former UFC lightweight title challenger, stepped on the gas and refused to relent until the very end. He had Lauzon fully mounted, and when the Brockton, Mass., resident couldn't buck him off or find a way to slither out, Florian unloaded dozens upon dozens of elbows and punches.

Referee Herb Dean (Pictures) had no other option but to step in and halt the skirmish.

Florian didn't land very many of his strikes in the final minute of the fight, though. When Dean peeled him off of Lauzon, "J-Lau" had virtually no lumps or scrapes on his face. Still, all Lauzon (16-4) could do was block the punishment.

"I just want to keep cutting through the layers and find a hole," a jovial Florian said immediately following his triumph. "I was able to just push through. We knew it was going to be a weakness there in Joe."

It took over a round to fully exploit what Florian saw as Lauzon's weakness. In fact, it appeared as though "Ken-Flo" lost the opening stanza of the battle. Lauzon scored an early takedown, and though he was cut from Florian's elbows, his submission attempts and overall aggression allowed him to control the pace early.

However, Lauzon seemed to hit a wall early in the second. After taking a solid kick to the body, he was wrestled down and couldn't fend off Florian's frenetic attacks. He tried to roll away and buck Florian off, but it was of no use. Florian achieved full mount and didn't let go until Dean stopped the mugging.

The victory, which came at the 3:38 mark of round two, solidified Florian's status as one of the leading UFC contenders at 155 pounds.

"Joe's a great competitor," Florian said. "I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I'm not going to let anybody break my will in here. That's what I wanted to do, is take someone's heart. Take it out."

Florian, who bolstered his pro record to 9-3 with the win, may warrant another title shot. He may also have to be patient, as there is a seemingly endless supply of top-rated contenders in the weight class.

Not only did Nathan Diaz (Pictures) score an impressive and dramatic tapout of Kurt Pellegrino (Pictures) via triangle choke, he also pocketed the "Tapout of the Night" award and an additional $20,000 for the trophy. But Diaz's submission win didn't come easily.

Pellegrino (11-4) had his way with the Stockton, Calif., fighter in the first. He had Diaz (9-2) battered, bloodied and on his back for much of the stanza.

Pellegrino also had Diaz on the canvas midway through the second, but he stood up and away from his opponent after Diaz had failed at a kimura attempt. Diaz then tripped Pellegrino and brought him down to the canvas, where shortly after he snuck his legs around his foe's head and trapped his left arm. Once Diaz sank in the triangle, he posed for the crowd and raised his two middle fingers before the tapout came at the 3:06 mark of the second.

"I knew I could do it because I train with top fighters like Nick Diaz (Pictures), Jake Shields (Pictures), Gilbert Melendez (Pictures) and I just want people to know," Diaz said about his rally from behind. "Sometimes people think the [contestants from "The Ultimate Fighter"] are sheltered. Not me, I ain't looking for no sheltering."

Gray Maynard (Pictures) put Frankie Edgar through a wrestling clinic for three arduous rounds and cruised to a well-deserved unanimous decision. Edgar was out-muscled from beginning to end. Even though the Las Vegas-based brawler broke his right hand early in the contest, Edgar couldn't withstand the constant pressure from Maynard, who remained undefeated with six wins and one no-contest.

Maynard landed several sneaky uppercuts during their exchanges on the feet. It seemed as though whenever he wanted to take the fight to ground, he simply scooped up Edgar and slammed him down to the canvas. He also pressed Edgar (8-1) into the fence and landed stinging punches and elbows.

In the end, Maynard was awarded all three rounds from the three ringside judges.

"I'm bigger," Maynard explained of his win over Edgar. "He's a tough kid, but I just kinda was like, ‘All right, he's a little small. I think I can pick him up and kind of throw him around a little bit.'"

Maynard kept his unblemished professional record intact and was also able to avenge good friend and teammate Tyson Griffin's loss to Edgar. Still, as great as his performance was against one of the brightest prospects at 155, Maynard freely admitted that he needs much more time to evolve before he's ready for the elite of the lightweight class.

"There's so many guys. I'm not even close yet," he added. "I've got a long ways to go. I was just trying to prove a little bit, like, ‘Hey, I'm here. I'm not just a TV show guy.'"

For the first time in his career, Karo Parisyan (Pictures) suffered a defeat via stoppage. Thiago Alves (Pictures) landed a crushing left knee to Parisyan's jaw -- a vicious strike that sent him crashing to the canvas. Alves swarmed his woozy opponent and unfurled a series of punches until referee Steve Mazzagatti waived off the battle 34 seconds into the second round.

Parisyan, now 25-5, quickly recovered and vehemently protested the stoppage, claiming that he was able to continue. But the knee that Alves (19-4) landed would have felled a steer, and the Brazilian bomber landed four hard unanswered blows before the fight was halted.

"He was out. He knows best," Alves said after the competitive back-and-forth tussle. "I think the referees in the UFC do a great job, so I'm not going to go against them. Whatever, I won. Karo is a great fighter, but I'm the better man tonight."

It was a devastating loss for Parisyan, one of the leading contenders for the UFC welterweight title, who will certainly be set back by the defeat.

Matt Hamill (Pictures), the popular fighter from Zuffa's reality TV series, scored a sensational second-round TKO over late-replacement Tim Boetsch (Pictures).

Hamill (6-1) had an early takedown but opted to stand and trade with Boetsch (7-2) once the fight got back to the feet. After several rather sloppy exchanges, Hamill, bleeding profusely from a lacerated lip, was able to stuff Boetsch's takedown attempt. Hamill then pressed Boetsch's head down and trapped him along the cage, where he pounded away with punches until the fight was stopped at 1:25 of the second.

James "The Sandman" Irvin put Houston Alexander (Pictures) to sleep in a mere eight seconds, though the knockout, which tied a record for the fastest in UFC history, wasn't without some scrutiny.

Irvin (14-4-1) floored Alexander with a right hand as soon as the fight started. When the Nebraskan tried to get back to his feet, Irvin delivered three punches, the second of which made Alexander's body go limp. Referee Steve Mazzagatti pulled Irvin away and the crowd booed in disagreement as Alexander (8-2) protested the referee's decision.

"The first one barely got him," Irvin said. "It barely got his chin. But the second one was about as hard as I can hit, and it was pretty solid on him."

Undercard

Josh Neer (Pictures) was just a little too much for Din Thomas (Pictures), as he outworked the veteran over three rounds and won a clear-cut unanimous decision. Neer (24-6-1) used several takedowns and effective ground-and-pound to thwart virtually everything Thomas (23-8) tried. He was awarded all three rounds on the three judges' scorecards.

Marcus Aurelio needed only 16 seconds to dispatch of UFC newcomer Ryan Roberts. A right hand floored Roberts (14-3-1), and when Aurelio (15-5) tried to seize his back, Roberts rolled into an armbar and tapped out. It was the quickest win of Aurelio's MMA career.

Manvel Gamburyan (Pictures) (10-3) executed a perfect judo throw early against Jeff Cox (Pictures) (13-4) and quickly locked on a guillotine choke for the submission at 1:41.

Clay Guida (Pictures) had to fend off the attacks of Samy Schiavo (Pictures) (10-5), as he was rocked early in their fight from punches. Needing to escape the rally from the Frenchman, Guida (23-6) scored a takedown and from there he passed guard and fully mounted him. Guida then rained down strikes until the fight was stopped at the 4:15 mark of the first.

George Sotiropoulos (Pictures) (9-2) scored an impressive second-round stoppage of Roman Mitichyan (9-2). He scored a takedown early in the second and pummeled his opponent from the top, stopping him at 2:24 of the round.

Anthony Johnson opened the afternoon with a highlight-reel knockout of TUF 6 finalist Tom Speer (Pictures). Johnson (5-1) had Speer (9-3) on wobbly legs early and then unloaded a crippling right cross -- a punch that knocked Speer cold and on his knees along the fence after just 51 seconds.
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