Jeremy Stephens file photo | Sherdog.com
Jeremy Stephens gave Marcus Davis a rude welcome to the lightweight division, knocking out “The Irish Hand Grenade” 2:33 into the third round at UFC 125 “Resolution” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Round one was relatively even standing before Davis landed a looping overhand left that clipped Stephens’ temple, staggering the heavy-handed lightweight. Davis followed up but decided to clinch, allowing Stephens to recover. Round two was again competitive, though not as action-packed in the stand-up. Midway through the round, Davis clinched and looked for a takedown, but Stephens countered with a kimura as the fight went to the fight to the floor. Davis defended well from top position, but Stephens scored with elbows from his back to end the round.
In the third round, both men were throwing leather until Stephens landed a massive right hand that relieved Davis of his consciousness. He followed with another standing-to-ground punch that punctuated the victory.
Poirier Derails Grispi
Dustin Poirier derailed the hype train of top featherweight contender Josh Grispi, as he earned a unanimous decision over his favored foe. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Poirier.
Poirier dictated the pace from the start, as he landed sharp inside leg kicks, tempered with straight punches that bloodied “The Fluke.” The Gladiators LA product also used a hard front kick as an effective weapon, even flooring Grispi with a stomping kick to the gut. Grispi threatened late in the round with a kimura, but Poirier was in no real danger.
“The Diamond” picked up in the second round where he left off in the first, landing hard punches and putting Grispi on his back. After fending off submission attempts, Poirier locked up a Thai clinch and went to work with knees. The third brought more of the same, though Grispi did score a takedown and pass to side control.
Tavares Recovers, Stops Baroni in First
Phil Baroni’s return to the middleweight division did not go as he had planned, as prospect Brad Tavares knocked him out at 4:09 of round one.
After a minute-long feeling out process to start the fight, Baroni took control of the first frame by landing a hard left hook that crumpled Tavares. “The New York Bad Ass” pounced, but he could not finish his game opponent. After Baroni landed an accidental knee to Tavares’ groin, referee Josh Rosenthal briefly halted the action. Fully recovered, Tavares landed a glancing switch kick to Baroni’s temple that staggered the middleweight. The 23-year-old followed up with a beautiful overhand right and a knee to Baroni’s head. From that point, it was elementary, as Tavares unleashed a flurry of punches that ended his opponent’s night.
“He hit me. It shook me a little bit, but I stayed composed. I knew he hit hard and he could do that to me. I stayed composed, and I recovered,” said Tavares. “I hit him out of the clinch. I knew he held his hands low, so I wanted to throw a lot of head kicks.”
Nunes Edges Former WEC Champion Brown
After three tough rounds of back-and-forth action, Diego Nunes was awarded a split decision victory over former WEC featherweight champion Mike Thomas Brown. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them for Nunes.
Both men landed hard in the first frame, but Brown got the better of the exchanges, as he dropped his opponent with a massive left hook. The former champion was not as aggressive in the second round, and Nunes took advantage by landing solid offense. Round three was also a close one, and both featherweights made strong cases for a victory. In the end, it was Nunes who had his hand raised.
Roberts Kimura Submits Soto
Daniel Roberts notched another impressive win with his second consecutive slick submission inside the Octagon, as he forced Greg Soto to tap out to a kimura 3:25 into the first round.
The two welterweights exchanged briefly on the feet before Roberts shot for a takedown, only to be threatened by a Soto guillotine. After escaping the choke, Roberts scored with his second takedown attempt, worked ground-and-pound from top position and locked up the kimura. Soto tried to roll away from the pressure but found himself trapped by the cage and could not escape.
Training out of the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu camp, the once-beaten Roberts has won his last three fights, two of them by submission. He owns a 3-1 mark inside the Octagon.
Volkmann Outpoints McKee, Earns Split Nod
Minnesota Martial Arts Academy standout Jacob Volkmann outpointed Antonio McKee in a lackluster lightweight affair to open the show, as he was awarded a split decision (29-28, 29-28 and 28-29) after three rounds of limited action.
In the first frame, Volkmann scored a takedown but did little with it. In the second, “Christmas” did more once he put down McKee, as he took the outspoken 40-year-old’s back and looked for a rear-naked choke. McKee battled back in round three, slamming Volkmann to the mat, but it was too little too late, and the Minnesotan took home the win.
Entering his Octagon debut, McKee was a staggering 18-1 in fights that had gone the distance. The defeat was his first in nearly eight years.