Maia, Kongo Score Victories

By Traci Ratzloff Aug 10, 2008
MINNEAPOLIS -- A back-and-forth battle for mat supremacy between middleweights Demian Maia (Pictures) and Jason MacDonald (Pictures) highlighted an undercard of action emanating from UFC 87 “Seek and Destroy” inside the Target Center.

Coming off of his April TKO victory against Joe Doerksen (Pictures) at UFC 83 in Montreal, MacDonald spent most of his time fending off world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Maia before the lanky Canadian succumbed to a rear-naked choke midway through the third round.

MacDonald (20-10) escaped a triangle choke in the bout’s early moments, then managed to briefly turn the tables by taking the Abu Dhabi World Submission Grappling Champion’s back. MacDonald’s attack would be short-lived however, as Maia gained steam and even found some soft, if not effective knees to MacDonald’s body on their feet in the latter round. MacDonald hung tough, but eventually faded to Maia’s consistent ground offensive. Maia improved his unblemished record to 8-0.

Cheick Kongo (Pictures) (12-4-1) welcomed UFC debuter Dan Evensen (Pictures) (10-3) to the cage with a first-round TKO for his troubles. Kongo controlled Evensen in a tedious clinch, then later dropped the Norwegian kickboxing champion with a solid right cross. Referee Yves Lavigne stepped in to cease the Frenchman’s punishing follow-up shots with only five seconds left on the clock.

Lightweight Manvel Gamburyan (Pictures) (8-3) came out on a mission in his third visit to the Octagon since his June 2007 loss to Nate Diaz at “The Ultimate Fighter 5” finale, only to get dropped by Robert Emerson (Pictures)’s right cross. Emerson (8-6, 1 NC), also a TUF 5 alumni, pressed on with a left uppercut from his knees that knocked out “the Pitbull” at just 12 seconds into the round.

Last minute replacement Jon Jones (6-0) decisioned Brazilian Andre Gusmao (Pictures) (5-1) in a welterweight tilt that went the distance. Both Jones and Gusmao entered the Octagon undefeated, but it was Jones who preserved his record, keeping the Brazilian at bay with his reach in the standup. Gusmao, a popular IFL veteran, claimed low blows in each round, but the judges were undeterred by Jones’ superior performance.

Rumored to have been coming off of a three-day fast, Luke Cummo (Pictures) (6-6) faced Tamdan McCrory (9-1) in another welterweight offering, but couldn’t muster the strength to overcome his fellow Northeastern opponent. McCrory, who said he always identified with Cummo because he, too, was an outcast of sorts, aggressed his way through the three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory. The weak and eye-sunken Cummo hung in till the end and nearly sunk in a triangle choke -- a surprise judging from how he looked -- but couldn’t seal the deal.

The second bout of the night saw Team Quest’s Chris Wilson (Pictures) (14-4) beat Steve Bruno (Pictures) (11-4), of American Top Team, via a unanimous decision. Wilson scored with takedowns, jabs, knees and submission attempts throughout, stumbling Bruno with an uppercut in the third set to punctuate a versatile performance.

In the evening’s opener, Ben Saunders (6-0-2) submitted Ryan Thomas (9-2) with a second-round armbar transitioned from a kimura. American Top Team’s Saunders rocked Thomas in the second with a kick to the ribs and followed with a right jab to set up the finish.
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