Mike Pierce flattened Aaron Simpson at UFC on FX 5. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
As he was getting battered for the majority of the first five minutes of his lightweight showdown with Danny Castillo, Michael Johnson looked nothing like the future champion teammate Rashad Evans has claimed he can become. However, the Blackzilians representative demonstrated that he can overcome adversity, as he recovered to KO Castillo 1:06 into round two.
“I was down a round. It’s not my nature to go down in that first round. He caught me with a big shot,” Johnson said. “I just had to stay composed, make it to the second. He wasted all his energy in the first round trying to finish me.”
Last call almost came very early for Johnson. Castillo (14-5, 4-2 UFC) blasted “The Menace” with a straight right hand early in round one and pounced on his fallen adversary with a hailstorm of hammerfists. The Team Alpha Male product then moved to mount and appeared to have Johnson on the brink of defeat as he hunted for an arm-triangle choke. Johnson finished the round on the receiving end of some more ground-and-pound from the former WEC talent, but he was able to survive.
The “TUF 12” runner-up cleared his head in round two and leveled Castillo with a short left hand early in the frame. A barrage of vicious right hands on the ground sealed the deal and gave Johnson (12-6, 4-2) his third straight victory in the Octagon.
“I caught him slipping. It was just a good shot. I hit him with the left and I saw his eyes go in the back of his head. I wasn’t gonna let him get up,” Johnson said.
Pierce Rallies to KO Simpson
For Mike Pierce, it was a tale of two rounds.
After barely surviving a tumultuous opening frame against fellow wrestler Aaron Simpson, Pierce (15-5, 7-3 UFC) unveiled his powerful right hand to score a second-round knockout of the Power MMA export. The end came just 29 seconds into the second frame, Pierce’s first stoppage since a TKO triumph against Kenny Robertson at UFC 126. Pierce’s last four outings -- two wins and two losses -- had gone the distance.
“It’s been a while since I had a finish, and I love knockouts more than anything. So I’m thrilled,” Pierce said.
The opening round began in typical Pierce fashion, as the Sports Lab member attempted to grind his foe down in the clinch. Simpson quickly turned the tide, however, flooring Pierce with a right hand. Simpson (12-4, 7-4 UFC) continued his assault, drilling Pierce with an uppercut and a knee before slamming the Oregonian to the floor. Pierce managed to survive the final seconds of the round as Simpson attempted a rear-naked choke and pounded away with punches. Pierce caught Simpson as he moved forward in round two and finished the contest with follow-up strikes on the ground.
“He had me wobbled pretty good there in the first round, but I don’t give up too easy,” Pierce said. “I came back and knew I had to do something to win this fight.”
LeVesseur Takes Hard-Fought Split Decision Against Prater
Takedowns and a smattering of effective strikes carried Marcus LeVesseur (22-6, 1-1 UFC) to a split-decision triumph against Carlo Prater (30-11-1, 1-2 UFC) in a lightweight clash. Two judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of LeVesseur, while another saw it 29-28 for Prater.
Action was slow for much of the bout as both fought to gain an advantage in the clinch. LeVesseur, a four-time Division III national champion wrestler, struggled to impose his will against the larger Prater, a former welterweight. However, “The Prospect” was able to secure several takedowns and land the more significant strikes throughout. Prater repeatedly attempted to catch LeVesseur in choke attempts, but the Minnesota Fight Factory representative was able to escape each time.
Volkmann Taps Out Roller
In a clash of decorated former Division I wrestlers, strike a blow for the University of Minnesota.
Much to the delight of those in attendance at the Target Center, Ex-Golden Gopher Jacob Volkmann (15-3, 6-3 UFC) submitted onetime Oklahoma State University standout Shane Roller (11-7, 2-4 UFC) with a rear-naked choke at 2:38 of the opening round in a lightweight encounter. “Christmas” wasted little time in shooting and taking Roller’s back. With a body triangle secure, Volkman softened his opponent with short punches until he was able to slide his right arm under Roller’s chin. Roller held out for as long as he could, but had no choice but to tap as Volkmann’s grip tightened.
“I submitted him. What else is there?” Volkmann said.
Aggressive Nunes Captures Unanimous Nod Over Palaszewski
An aggressive offensive approach carried Diego Nunes to a unanimous decision over Bart Palaszewski in a featherweight tilt. Judges scored the bout 30-27 (twice) and 29-28 in favor of the Brazilian.
Nunes (17-3, 3-2 UFC) came out firing in the opening frame, as he clipped Palaszewski with winging right hands before scoring a takedown. The International Fight League veteran threatened with a guillotine from his back, but soon Nunes escaped and was able to land several heavy elbows from guard. Bleeding from his left eye, Palaszewski returned to his feet, only to be dropped by another Nunes right hand with a little more than a minute left in the period.
Nunes continued to pour it on in round two, mixing kicks to the legs and body with right hands. Palaszewski (36-15, 1-2 UFC) offered one final salvo in the final stanza, wobbling the Black House member with a left hook early in the frame. However, Nunes recovered enough to floor the Jackson’s MMA representative with another right hand before the round expired.
Uyenoyama Submits UFC Newcomer Harris
Airtight grappling carried Darren Uyenoyama to a submission victory over Octagon newcomer Phil Harris in a flyweight contest to open the UFC on FX 5 card.
After battling the Englishman to a near stalemate in the opening frame, Uyenoyama (8-3, 2-0 UFC) picked up his pace considerably in round two. As the fighters clinched against the cage, “BC” deftly transitioned to a kimura before taking his Harris’ back. From there, Uyenoyama kept the pressure on, moving to full mount and peppering his opponent (21-10, 0-1 UFC) with punches from above. When Harris surrendered his back once again, Uyenoyama secured a rear-naked choke and elicited a tapout at the 3:38 mark.
“I watched Kenny Florian versus Joe Stevenson when I was warming up,” Uyenoyama said in reference to the fighter-turned-Fuel-TV analyst. “That’s classic Kenny. I’m trying to be like the man.”