Jim Miller tapped out Melvin Guillard at UFC on FX 1. | AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
Jim Miller followed the blueprint against Melvin Guillard, and it was successful.
Miller submitted the gifted but enigmatic New Orleans native with a first-round rear-naked choke in the UFC on FX “Guillard vs. Miller” headliner on Friday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Unable to free himself, Guillard tapped out 2:04 into round one, having lost for the second time in three months.
The win was particularly emotional for Miller (21-3, 10-2 UFC), whose 2-year-old nephew continues to battle a life-threatening kidney disorder.
“It is so gratifying. All the fans and the UFC -- you all probably know that my nephew is going through some hard times right now,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and from everyone in my family. We love you guys so much. We come in here and fight as hard as we can. We really appreciate you guys. Thank you so much for your generosity.”
Guillard (29-10-2, 10-6 UFC) dropped the rugged Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a powerful left hook inside the minute and blitzed the AMA Fight Club standout. With that, he had Miller’s attention.
“I don’t get knocked down often, and he knocked me down,” Miller said. “He hits hard. There are a lot of guys, I think, in this weight class and probably the one above us who don’t want to fight that kid.”
Miller, who has still never been submitted or knocked out, weathered the barrage, pressed into the clinch and later caught an ill-advised flying knee from the Imperial Athletics representative, turning it into a takedown. As Guillard attempted to stand, Miller transitioned to the back, trapped his foe in a body triangle and tightened the choke until the tapout became inevitable.
“I just find a way to the back. I did something I’ve always been able to do,” said Miller, who has won 16 of his last 18 bouts. “I’m pretty confident that I’m the most dangerous lightweight in the world, and I’m willing to make you guys believe that in [the Octagon].”
Neer Win Streak Reaches Six
Surging welterweight veteran Josh Neer walked through heavy fire to choke Duane Ludwig unconscious with a first-round guillotine choke in the co-main event. Ludwig (21-12, 4-3 UFC) went limp 3:04 into round one.
Ludwig had the upper hand from the start, as he stung and stunned the Miletich Fighting Systems product with a short right, countered beautifully and delivered a series of wicked knees to his opponent’s midsection. Neer (33-10-1, 6-6 UFC) was undeterred. The 28-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, native moved forward with reckless abandon, snatched a leg and dragged Ludwig to the ground. There, Neer trapped the Grudge Training Center export in the guillotine and waited for him to black out.
“It’s one of my favorite chokes,” Neer said. “It’s just a guillotine, basically. I got his neck with no arm [in], and I finished it. It was a good win. I wanted to stand up and trade more, but he was getting the better of me, and I wanted to take it to the ground and try to finish him.
Neer has rattled off six consecutive victories.
“I don’t like to lose,” he added, “and I’m going to put myself through whatever I have to put myself through to come out with the win.”
Easton Edges Newcomer Papazian
Mike Easton and Jared Papazian left nothing to the imagination.
Easton (12-1, 2-0 UFC) posted his seventh straight win, as he utilized an aggressive and multi-pronged striking attack -- low kicks, overhand rights and knees from the clinch tipped his spear -- en route to a majority decision over a game Papazian. Two of the three cageside judges scored it 29-28 and 30-27 for Easton; a third ruled it a 29-29 draw.
“He’s a tough dude. I knew he was going to be tough and come to show up,” Easton said. “All I wanted to do is give something to the fans, and we rapped. We fought tonight. We’re the [bantamweights], baby. It’s nothing but nonstop action. That’s what we do, and we love to fight.”
The two 135-pounders pushed and kept a relentless pace, as they engaged in numerous close-quarters exchanges. Neither man blinked.
Papazian, who likely opened some eyes in his Octagon debut, landed a nasty standing elbow in the first round and a number of ringing right uppercuts. Easton kept his nose in front, establishing a foothold in the match in round two, as he scored with a takedown, passed to half guard and ultimately move to side control, albeit briefly, on the former King of the Cage champion.
Easton and Papazian (14-7, 0-1 UFC) traded strikes throughout a wild third round, providing a fitting conclusion to their action-packed encounter.
“We’re going all the way,” said Easton, who has not tasted defeat in more than four years. “I still have things I need to work on and get better at, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Barry Flattens Morecraft in First
Pat Barry put the brakes on a two-fight losing streak, as he knocked out Christian Morecraft with a left hook and follow-up ground-and-pound in the opening round of their heavyweight showcase. The end came 3:38 into round one.
Morecraft (7-3, 1-3 UFC) had his chances. The 6-foot-7 Team Bombsquad representative scored with two takedowns, mounted Barry twice and threatened with multiple submissions: a rear-naked choke, an arm-triangle choke and an armbar. All of them failed. The left hook turned the tide and sent Morecraft crashing to the mat. Barry (7-4, 4-4 UFC) followed him there and rendered him unconscious with half a dozen unanswered blows to the head, a few of them landing flush.
“I’m sorry that it took me nine getting-choked-out experiences in order to make that happen -- my bad,” Barry said. “Every fight is the biggest fight. I’m ‘HD.’ My confidence is always through the [ceiling]. Every time I step in here, I try to put on a show for everybody, because we’re entertainers. I hope y’all enjoyed that.”
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