Lapses in judgment never play well in the Octagon. Ask Thiago Alves.
Martin Kampmann submitted the former welterweight title contender with a third-round guillotine choke for an improbable victory in the UFC on FX 2 headliner on Friday at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. Submitted for the first time in more than six years, Alves tapped out 4:12 into round three, 48 precious seconds shy of what would have been his second straight win.
Kampmann drew first blood in a figurative sense, as he drilled Alves with a magnificent front kick to the chin 90 seconds into the match. The blow rattled the Brazilian and sent him into retreat mode. However, Alves rebounded and answered with a late takedown, securing full mount before uncorking elbows and punches from top position. The Alves foothold only deepened in the second round, as he found a home for left hooks, right uppercuts and his trademark leg kicks.
“I’ll be honest. Thiago caught me with some good shots,” Kampmann said. “I wanted to strike with him, but I wanted to take him down, as well. He’s got really good takedown defense. Usually when I get people on the fence, I can take them down, but he’s got good defense.”
Round three seemed destined to follow a similar narrative. Alves fired a searing right hand into the Dane’s face and backed him into the cage.
“I felt I was behind,” Kampmann said. “I was eating too many punches going into the clinch. The plan was to fight from the outside and then box my way in. I did a couple of times, but I wasn’t getting into my flow the way I wanted. I caught him with that kick in the beginning, but I didn’t capitalize on it.
Instead of following with punches, the American Top Team ace went for an ill-advised takedown. It was the opening for which Kampmann had waited. Before Alves knew it, Kampmann had him trapped in a standing guillotine. The two welterweights collapsed to the mat, Kampmann in full mount, the choke still in place. With no escape, Alves conceded defeat.
“Usually, [in that situation] I don’t like to go for a submission, because, like in the first round, he ended up on top and he was staying really heavy with his hips and keeping me down,” Kampmann said. “I felt that I really had to finish the fight, and it wouldn’t do me any good to keep it standing. I just squeezed [the guillotine], because I knew that was my window, and I didn’t want to miss it.”
Benavidez Blasts Urushitani, Advances to Flyweight Final
Team Alpha Male representative Joseph Benavidez strolled into the UFC flyweight tournament final, as he leveled former Shooto champion Yasuhiro Urushitani with an exquisite counter right hook and follow-up ground strikes for a second-round technical knockout. Benavidez (16-2, 3-0 UFC) closed out his Japanese foe 11 seconds into round two.
“I felt like I would bring power to this division,” he said. “The first thing people say is that the [flyweight division] isn’t going to have power; these guys don’t finish. But I was rocking everyone at [bantamweight], and I think this is going to be a sign of things to come in the flyweight division.”
Outside of a few counter right hands, Urushitani (19-5-6, 0-1 UFC) was not a factor in the fight. Benavidez secured a takedown late in the first round, moved to mount and eventually transitioned to his opponent’s back. The rear-naked choke followed, but Urushitani survived until the horn sounded.
Benavidez roared out of his corner in the second round and countered a kick with a right hook that permanently altered the complexion of the fight. Urushitani, who had never before been finished by strikes, went down with Benavidez in pursuit. A series of rights and lefts finished it there.
“I knew he threw a lot of kicks, and that’s a perfect time to counter somebody,” Benavidez said. “Like I said, I have great power at [135 pounds], and at flyweight, that’s just how it’s going to be.”
White: Commission Botched Johnson-McCall Decision
AMC Pankration stalwart Demetrious Johnson weathered a furious finish from the top-ranked Ian McCall and captured a contentious split decision in the first of two UFC flyweight tournament semifinals -- or so it seemed. Originally, 29-28 scores across the board were read, two of them in favor of Johnson (14-2-1, 2-1-1 UFC). However, not long after the conclusion of the event, UFC President Dana White revealed some embarrassing news.
“Commission screwed up scorecards Johnson vs. McCall was a draw,” White wrote on Twitter. “Should have been a 4th rd. BRUTAL.”
Because of the mistake in scoring, the sudden death round the UFC had instituted to avoid such a situation did not come into play, and the bout was ruled a draw. Johnson and McCall will meet in a semifinal rematch sometime in the next few months.
Backed by his blinding speed, Johnson was the more effective striker throughout, and he stood up McCall with a number of right hands. “Uncle Creepy” responded with takedowns and strong clinch work, which featured dirty boxing and knees to the body. Johnson held a two-rounds-to-none advantage on two of the three scorecards entering round three, and he needed the cushion.
McCall went for broke in the third, as he struck for multiple takedowns, flattened out “Mighty Mouse” and ultimately mounted the Matt Hume understudy with a little more than half a minute remaining on the clock. He closed in a most dominant position, planted on Johnson’s back as he blasted him with punches. However, it was not enough to sway the decision in his favor, and McCall (11-2-1, 0-1-1 UFC) settled for a draw.
“I’ve got to give it up to Ian McCall,” Johnson said. “I thought I won the first two rounds, but he came on in the last round and put it on me, so hat’s off to him.
“I wasn’t close to getting finished,” he added. “I kept on pushing through. I knew I had the first two rounds in the bag. I just kept moving and gave the judges a thumb’s up to let them know I was OK and that the punches didn’t hurt. He’s making a clown out of himself like he’s riding me like a donkey, but I wasn’t out.”
Philippou Outduels ‘TUF 11’ Winner McGee
Crisp boxing, crafty footwork and airtight takedown defense carried Serra-Longo Fight Team representative Constantinos Philippou to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 winner Court McGee in a middleweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Philippou (10-2, 3-1 UFC).
McGee (14-2, 3-1 UFC) entered the cage on an eight-fight winning streak but never got in gear. Philippou seemed to answer every one of his punches with three or four of his own. More importantly, the former Ring of Combat champion denied McGee’s advances and attempts to move the fight to the floor. On the feet, Philippou wielded the quicker, more powerful hands, and, outside of a few exceptions, he routinely beat his opponent to the punch.
McGee did his best work in round three, where he emptied his clip with head kicks, jumping knees, spinning elbows and spinning back fists. However, in need of a finish, his efforts went for naught. Philippou was still standing when it was over.
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