Cyrille Diabate utilized an experience, striking and conditioning advantage in capturing a majority decision from two-division Ring of Combat champion Tom DeBlass in a UFC on Fuel TV 2 undercard bout at 205 pounds on Saturday at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
Two of the three judges cast identical 29-28 scores in favor of Diabate (18-8, 3-2 UFC); a third ruled it a 28-28 draw.
DeBlass (7-1, 1-1 UFC) -- a Ricardo Almeida protégé who stepped in for the injured Jorgen Kruth on short notice -- moved to establish a quick foothold. The 29-year-old New Jersey native took down the 6-foot-6 Diabate, passed to side mount after a considerable struggle and attacked with elbows to the head in the first round. Had the scene repeated itself over the next 10 minutes, DeBlass would have exited the cage with his unblemished record intact. However, fatigue took hold, and Diabate capitalized.
The seasoned 38-year-old Frenchman turned the tide in round two, as he moved into a dominant position on the ground and bloodied DeBlass, an accomplished grappler, with punches and elbows. Diabate made his fading foe pay for a sloppy takedown try in the third round, doing further damage from inside the guard. DeBlass made one last move to secure the victory, but his late heel hook attempt was unsuccessful.
Head Finishes Abedi in First
James Head needed less than a round to notch his first UFC win, as he submitted Papy Abedi with a rear-naked choke 4:33 into the opening period of their preliminary welterweight tilt.
Abedi (8-2, 0-2 UFC) struck for an early takedown from the clinch, worked to pass his opponent’s guard and uncorked a crisp right hook after the two men returned to their feet. From there, Head (8-2, 1-1 UFC) took control. The 28-year-old Oklahoman dazed Abedi near the cage and brutalized him with a series of elbows and right hands that forced him to the canvas. Head then stepped into full mount, forced his wilting adversary to surrender his back and, after a brief adjustment, landed the choke for the tapout.
Carmont Choke Ices Cedenblad
Tristar Gym representative Francis Carmont extended his winning streak to seven fights, as he submitted Magnus Cedenblad with a second-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary middleweight duel. Cedenblad (10-4, 0-1) asked out of the fight 1:42 into round two, his promotional debut spoiled.
The Swede nearly secured a finish of his own in the first round, as he mounted Carmont (18-7, 2-0 UFC), transitioned to his back and fished for the choke. It never materialized, and the Frenchman eventually freed himself from his opponent’s clutches. Carmont retaliated in full in round two, where he scored with a takedown, pinned Cedenblad to the mat, moved to mount and unleashed a hellish barrage of punches. With no means of escape available to him, the UFC newcomer left his neck open for the choke. Carmont obliged.
Madadi Guillotine Stops Izquierdo
Former Superior Challenge champion Reza Madadi recorded his seventh win in as many outings, as the 31-year-old Swede submitted the previously unbeaten Yoislandy Izquierdo with a second-round guillotine choke in a preliminary lightweight battle between UFC rookies. Madadi (12-2, 1-0 UFC) finished it 86 seconds into round two.
Izquierdo (6-1, 0-1 UFC) fought well through the first five minutes, as he scored with punches and kicks, sprawled effectively and found a route back to his feet when taken down. More than once, he had Madadi in retreat mode. However, Izquierdo’s good fortune was short-lived. He succumbed to a takedown in the second round and left his neck exposed while attempting to return to a standing position. Madadi capitalized, snatched the choke and rolled into mount to finish it.
Thoresen Choke Submits Yousef
Simeon Thoresen submitted Besam Yousef with a second-round rear-naked choke in an undercard showdown between Octagon newcomers at 170 pounds. Yousef (6-1, 0-1 UFC) met his end 2:36 into round two, as he experienced the sting of defeat for the first time as a professional.
Yousef established himself as the superior standup fighter throughout a competitive opening stanza, but Thoresen (17-2, 1-0 UFC) had his way with him on the ground. The 28-year-old Joachim Hansen protégé buckled Yousef with a short punch in the second round, followed him to the mat and moved to mount following a failed brabo choke. Thoresen then forced the Syrian-born Swede to surrender his back and battered him with punches from above, setting up the choke and the resulting tapout.
Young Grounds, Outpoints Wisely
Former Cage Rage champion Jason Young rode a takedown-heavy approach to a unanimous verdict over Strikeforce veteran Eric Wisely in a preliminary featherweight matchup. All three cageside judges scored it for Young (9-5, 1-2 UFC): 30-28, 29-28 and 29-28.
Wisely (19-8 (0-2 UFC) never looked comfortable against the English wrestler. Young struck for takedowns in all three rounds and built his lead on the back of short punches and elbows from inside the American’s guard, along with well-timed standing-to-ground blows. The victory was the 25-year-old’s first in more than a year.