Nik Lentz is a quintessential spoiler and at UFC Fight Night 121, that’s exactly what he did, locking up a guillotine choke on former American Top Team compatriot Will Brooks at 2:05 of the second round in Sydney, Australia.
The 33-year-old Lentz (27-8-2, 1 NC MMA, 12-5-1, 1 NC UFC) was originally scheduled to take on Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) at UFC 216 on Oct. 7, but pulled out citing “medical issues” before weigh-ins. After the rescheduling of the contest for nearly six weeks later, the Minnesota native swelled from a +300 to +435 underdog, yet always seemed to be in sneaky control of his bout with Brooks.
Brooks circled the Octagon for most of the seven minutes, pumping his jab and being the more active participant, yet Lentz dinged him repeatedly with counters and threatened with a guillotine off of an early takedown. Brooks escaped the first one, yet “Ill Will” dove headfirst into a second front choke off of an outside trip in Round 2 and tapped as Lentz rolled him into mount. “The Carny” entered the bout with 17 guillotine attempts in the UFC, the most in promotional history and his 19th netted him the biggest win of his career.
“I gotta admit, I love ATT, it broke my heart that I had to leave, but they came after me with this fight,” Lentz said after the fight. “So, Dan Lambert, I got $50,000 that says there’s no one at ATT that can beat Nik Lentz. Money on the table, right now. Line ‘em up, from the bottom to the top, like “Mortal Kombat.”
Lentz previously trained with Brooks at ATT in Coconut Creek, Fla., until leaving for Henri Hooft’s nearby Combat Club earlier this year. Since his UFC debut win over Ross Pearson 16 months ago, the former Bellator MMA champion Brooks has gone 0-3 in the Octagon with three stoppages losses.
Related » UFC Sydney Round-by-Round Scoring
Benoit Wastes Mokhtarian With Third-Round Head Kick
Australia’s Ashkan Mokhtarian started fast against Ryan Benoit but couldn’t sustain his attack, eventually ending up on the business end of “Baby Face’s” right shin at 2:38 of the third round.
Benoit (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who weighed in four pounds over the flyweight limit at 129 pounds, looked slow and sluggish to start as the southpaw Mokhtarian (13-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) raked him with left hooks and crosses and at the end of Round 1, told his corner that he had broken his right hand. Undeterred, the Texan switched southpaw and upped his aggression in the second frame, pressuring Mokhtarian more consistently and forcing him on the defensive. Benoit wisely played on Mokhtarian’s reliance on the lunging left, buttering him up in the final round with feints then launching a right roundhouse kick upstairs that collapsed him on the canvas.
Tuivasa Clobbers Coulter With First-Round Flying Knee
On an undercard filled with much smaller, dynamic athletes, it was 265-pound former National Rugby League player Tai Tuivasa who went airborne, separating American Rashad Coulter from his consciousness with a surprising flying knee.
Tuivasa (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) needed to get up off of the mat from an early Coulter takedown and showed early signs of fatigue, yet never stopped attacking with his punching combinations and more importantly, low kicks. After a low cut kick stumbled Coulter, who struggled with Chase Sherman’s leg kicks in his UFC debut in May, Tuivasa launched into his Jose Aldo impression and flattened Coulter, sending referee John Sharp to the rescue at 4:35 of the opening round.
Camacho Prevails Over Brown in Wild, Bloody Brawl
After taking an extra $50,000 for “Fight of the Night” in his UFC debut this past June, Guam’s Frank Camacho returned to reckless form in pursuit of another bonus, going blow-for-blow with Australia’s Damien Brown for the better part of 15 minutes en route to a wild, well-appointed split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) victory.
“Frank the Crank” (21-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) may need that money even more pressingly, as he clocked in at 160 pounds for this lightweight contest and owes 30 percent of his purse to Brown.
Weight issues aside, it was a rollicking contest. Despite eating heavier shots from the aggressive Camacho, Brown (17-11 MMA, 2-3 UFC) answered back and got the back late in Round 1, threatening for a rear-naked choke until the horn. However, over the final 10 minutes, Camacho wore out the smaller man, pressing him back to the fence behind his jabs and kicks, then slugging him to the head and body liberally. “Beatdown” answered with wild right-hand flails, often tagging Camacho but seldom stopping his foe’s advances. In the final 20 seconds, Camacho indulged his bloodied and largely beaten adversary, throwing down in Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots fashion until the final horn.
Kassem Overweight But Still Undefeated After Chambers Bout
Given that she came in five pounds overweight, all things weren’t perfect in Nadia Kassem’s UFC debut, yet the unbeaten strawweight showed off new and surprising dimensions to her potent offensive game, earning a commanding unanimous nod (29-27, 29-27, 29-28) over fellow Australian Alex Chambers.
The 22-year-old Kassem (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) had spent less than half a round inside the cage over her first four pro bouts, knocking all her opposition out in less than 2:30 combined. Chambers (5-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) got the early takedown on the southpaw striker and sought to exploit the novice on the floor, yet “187” showed sneaky instincts on the ground with her leglock attack. Kassem landed more strikes in the second round, then locked up a triangle armbar that had the 39-year-old Chambers in peril for the entire second half of the frame. By Round 3, Kassem completely took over on “Astro Girl,” pelting her with punches, head kicks, knees and ground-and-pound to sew up the decision.
TUF 24’s Shelton Earns First UFC Win Over Lausa
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24 alum Eric Shelton got an overdue first win inside the UFC, hammering out a clear-cut unanimous verdict (30-25, 30-26, 30-27) over Filipino striker Jenel Lausa at 125 pounds.
Shelton (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) dropped two highly contentious split decisions earlier this year to Alexandre Pantoja and Jarred Brooks but thrived in a more advantageous style matchup against Lausa (7-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC). “The Demolition Man” surprised Shelton early, slamming him to the mat, but after that opening salvo, the Chicago fighter took over the grappling game, taking top control repeatedly and pounding away on his foe along the fence. “Showtime” found his best offense in the second stanza, mounting Lausa up against the cage, dropping heavy strikes and threatening the rear-naked choke from back mount.
Poland’s Wieczorek Tops Hamilton in Delayed UFC Debut
Adam Wieczorek didn’t get to make his promotional debut three weeks ago in his home country but nonetheless, the Polish upstart make a successful UFC debut, earning three 29-28 scorecards over hard-luck heavyweight Anthony Hamilton, who lost his fourth straight Octagon appearance in less than 12 months.
Wieczorek (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Hamilton (15-9, 3-7 UFC) were originally set to meet at UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland on Oct. 21, but the bout was rescheduled after local supporters of soccer club Lechnia Gdansk, rival to Wieczorek’s Ruch Chorzow, crashed the ceremonial weigh-ins. If anything, some hooliganism might have spiced this bout up: Hamilton took the opening frame with his wrestling but got dropped by a partially-landed head kick in Round 2, allowing “Siwy” to take the round on top. The 25-year-old Wieczorek, who complained out jet lag after the bout, still had enough in the tank to stop Hamilton’s tired takedown attempts in the final five minutes, pound on him and win a clear verdict.