UFC 168 Prelims: Uriah Hall Sends Reeling Chris Leben to Fourth Straight Defeat

By Brian Knapp Dec 28, 2013
Uriah Hall iced Chris Leben at UFC 168. | Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Chris Leben’s deep well of will may finally have run dry.

Former Ring of Combat champion and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 finalist Uriah Hall stopped Leben on a technical knockout at UFC 168 “Weidman vs. Silva 2” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout was halted at Leben’s request in between rounds one and two, sending “The Crippler” to his fourth consecutive defeat.

Hall (8-4, 1-2 UFC) set the tone with a flying knee in the opening seconds and then proceeded to pick apart his adversary from the perimeter. Leben (22-11, 12-10 UFC) spent his time following the talented 29-year-old striker around the cage, absorbing punishment with each ill-fated step. In the closing seconds of the first round, Hall connected with a devastating right cross to the face that dropped Leben where he stood and ultimately ended the fight.

“He’s a warrior,” Hall said. “I knew when he came out here that he was going to come after me full force, so I decided to move my feet and try to hit him. You don’t want to get hit by that guy.”

‘TUF 12’ Finalist Johnson Flattens Tibau

Blackzilians representative Michael Johnson knocked out American Top Team mainstay Gleison Tibau with a wicked straight left and follow-up punches in the second round of their undercard battle at 155 pounds. Johnson (14-8, 6-4 UFC) drew the curtain on the Brazilian 92 seconds into round two.

The speed difference between the two lightweights was pronounced. Johnson staggered the Brazilian with a right hand in the first round and stayed out of the clinch. One of the most prolific takedown artists in UFC history, Tibau (28-10, 13-8 UFC) never put the fight on the ground. Early in round two, Johnson tagged him on the temple, trailed him to the canvas and finished him there.

Siver Denies Upset-Minded Gamburyan

Takedowns, efficient ground-and-pound and a heavy dose of his trademark kicks spurred Dennis Siver to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 finalist and former World Extreme Cagefighting title contender Manny Gamburyan in a preliminary featherweight duel. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 29-28 for Siver (22-9, 11-6 UFC), who has recorded six wins in his last eight fights.

Gamburyan (13-8, 4-6 UFC) had his moments: he fished for a leg lock and a kimura in the first round before opening a cut on the Russian-born German’s forehead with a well-timed elbow from the top in the second. Still, Siver controlled much of the rest of their encounter, scoring takedowns and moving to the judo black belt’s back late in the first and third rounds.

Photo: Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Howard slammed Bahadurzada to the mat.

‘Doomsday’ Decisions Blackzilians’ Bahadurzada

John Howard won for the eighth time in nine outings, as he captured a unanimous decision over Blackzilians representative Siyar Bahadurzada in an undercard tilt at 170 pounds. Howard (22-8, 6-3 UFC) swept the scorecards by matching 30-27 counts.

Bahadurzada (21-6-1, 1-2 UFC) fought well in spurts, attacking with knees to the body in tie-ups. However, he could not sustain his efforts long enough to keep Howard at bay.

The Boston native struck for takedowns in all three rounds -- he hoisted the Afghan striker on his shoulders, walked him across the cage and dumped him on his back in the second -- and drained his gas tank with clinches on the feet and ground-and-pound on the canvas.

Macario Batters, Bloodies Voelker

Clean, surgical punches carried “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 2 finalist William Macario to a lopsided unanimous verdict over a game but outmatched Bobby Voelker in a preliminary welterweight affair. All three judges scored it the same: 30-27 for the 22-year-old Macario (7-1, 1-1 UFC).

Voelker (24-11, 0-3 UFC) was never a factor in the fight. Macario tore into him with straight rights, mixing in knees, elbows and takedowns. Only Voelker’s well-documented toughness kept him around for the duration, as he was badly hurt inside the first round. By the end of the second, he was barely recognizable. Blood poured from his nose and from a cut in between his eyes. Macario, the seventh-youngest fighter on the UFC roster, sought the finish on more than one occasion but wisely paced himself and steered clear of danger.

The 34-year-old Voelker has suffered three straight defeats since arriving in the UFC in March.

Peralta Blitzes Payan, Scores Third-Round Stoppage

Robbie Peralta put away Arizona Combat Sports export Estevan Payan with a pair of powerful left hands and follow-up punches in the third round of their undercard scrap at 145 pounds. Peralta (17-4, 3-1 UFC) brought it to a close 12 seconds into round three.

Payan (14-5, 0-2 UFC) controlled much of the first 10 minutes with effective counterpunching, timely takedowns and some mild ground-and-pound. Perhaps sensing he was behind on the scorecards, Peralta let his hands fly at the start of the third round. The 27-year-old Californian floored Payan with repeated left hooks and polished him off with a flurry of punches on the ground.


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