Kim Edges Brown in Controversial Decision; 'Batman' Roars Past Tavares

By Brian Knapp Sep 7, 2008
ATLANTA -- Dong Hyun Kim walked away from UFC 88 “Breakthrough” with his hand raised, but Matt Brown won the popular vote inside Philips Arena.

Kim (11-0-1) remained undefeated in his second Octagon appearance, as he captured a controversial split decision at Brown’s expense, threatening him with a choke in the first round and opening a cut with an elbow in the third. All three judges scored the bout 29-28, two of them in Kim’s favor.

The partisan crowd showered the decision with boos after a strategic battle in which both men had their moments but neither laid claim to the fight.

“I don’t fight for judges,” said Brown (7-7), a Jorge Gurgel protégé who got his break as a cast member on the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter reality series. “I fight for the fans, and I fight for finishes.”

The two welterweights spent much of their time in the clinch early, though Kim eventually latched himself onto Brown’s back and worked for a choke from behind. Brown fended off his attempt and carried the fight into round two, where he exhausted Kim with strikes from the outside, in the clinch and on the ground.

Round three was closely contested, but the unbeaten South Korean held an edge with two takedowns and some precision ground-and-pound, including an elbow that ripped open the flesh under Brown’s left eye. Blood spilled, and, in the opinion of two of the three judges, Kim had done enough to warrant victory.

Kurt Pellegrino’s win over Thiago Tavares was far more decisive.

Pellegrino set the tone from the start, as he dropped his Brazilian counterpart twice in the opening round, first with a crisp right hand and later with a straight left. He also pursued the fight on the ground, where he mounted Tavares twice, punished him with heavy elbows and opened cuts near both of his eyes. By the end of the round, Pellegrino’s blonde hair had been stained red by Tavares’ blood.

The 29-year-old Pellegrino (12-4) maintained his lead throughout the bout and even appeared to coax a tapout from Tavares with a second-round armbar. Referee Yves Lavigne allowed the action to continue, however, and Pellegrino ultimately relinquished the hold.

“Yeah, he tapped,” Pellegrino said. “I knew [the armbar] was super duper tight. I didn’t let go because he tapped. He just got out of it.”

His right eye nearly swollen shut, Tavares (13-3) scored with a takedown early in round three but mounted little other offense of note. Pellegrino landed the more effective strikes, including a knee to the body, as the end of the fight approached. Scores were 29-27, 29-27 and 29-28, all in Pellegrino’s favor.

Middleweight Jason MacDonald and light heavyweight Tim Boetsch took the judges out of play in their respective bouts.

Boetsch (8-2) annihilated newcomer Michael Patt in 2:03, as he leveled his opponent with a wicked right hand and finished him off with strikes on the ground. It was the sixth time in 10 career bouts that the brutish Boetsch had dusted an opponent inside one round. Patt (12-3) had not been finished in almost five years.

MacDonald (21-10), meanwhile, greeted Jason Lambert’s arrival in the middleweight division with a rude welcome. The Canadian veteran controlled the former World Extreme Cagefighting titleholder for a majority of the match. MacDonald survived a harrowing guillotine choke in the final 10 seconds of the first round and put away Lambert in the second.

The 33-yearold MacDonald took down Lambert with surprising ease, mounted him in the second round and transitioned to back control to set up the stoppage. From there, only time stood between the fighters and the inevitable outcome. Lambert (23-9) -- who finds himself on a three-fight losing streak for the first time in his career -- tried valiantly to avoid being choked but was forced to tap out against the cage once MacDonald tightened the noose around his neck. The end came 1:20 into the second round.

“I knew, with the drop to 185, that he was getting tired,” said MacDonald, a winner for the ninth time in 12 fights.

In the evening’s opening match, Pride Fighting Championships veteran Ryo Chonan defeated American Top Team’s Roan Carneiro for the second time in as many meetings between the two welterweights.

Chonan (15-8), one of only two men to submit reigning UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva, was awarded a split decision in a fight that was relatively uneventful. All three judges scored the match 29-28, two of them siding with Chonan. Carneiro (12-8) has dropped back-to-back fights and three of his last four.
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