UFC Fight Night Prelims: Patrick Cote Batters Ben Saunders for Stoppage in Boston

By Brian Knapp Jan 17, 2016

Patrick Cote claimed another victim as part of his rebirth in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.

Cote took care of American Top Team’s Ben Saunders with second-round punches as part of the UFC Fight Night “Dillashaw vs. Cruz” prelims on Sunday at the TD Garden in Boston. The end came 74 seconds into round two, with referee Steve Rita rescuing Saunders (19-7-2, 7-4 UFC) from a beating.

A winner in six of his last seven outings, Cote (23-9, 10-9 UFC) turned the tide in his favor late in the first round. He yielded a takedown to Saunders but reversed position with the threat of an armbar, moved on top and got his ground-and-pound in gear. Roughly a minute into round two, Cote countered a Saunders clinch with a series of short, vicious uppercuts that drove him to the mat. Subsequent hammerfists finished it.

Related » UFC Fight Night Boston Round-by-Round Scoring

Herman Knee Snipes Boetsch

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 finalist Ed Herman cut down Tim Boetsch with a second-round knee strike from the clinch and follow-up punches in a preliminary middleweight matchup. Herman (23-11, 10-7 UFC) drew the curtain 1:39 into round two.

The two journeymen spent the entire fight on the feet. Boetsch (18-10, 9-9 UFC) stunned “Short Fuse” with an overhand right in the first round but lost his way in close quarters. Herman was effective with knees and short punches and pulled “The Barbarian” deeper into the match. Early in the second round, he drew Boetsch into the clinch and fired a knee up the middle that dropped him where he stood. The punches that came next mopped up what was left.

Boetsch, 34, now finds himself on a three-fight losing streak.

Wade Snaps Baghdad Streak

Former Ring of Combat champion Chris Wade submitted Mehdi Baghdad with a first-round rear-naked choke in their undercard confrontation at 155 pounds. Baghdad (11-4, 0-1 UFC) requested intervention from referee Gary Forman 4:30 into round one, his seven-fight winning streak snapped.

Wade (11-1, 4-0 UFC) executed a head-and-arm throw inside the first minute, softened the Black House standout with ground-and-pound near the base of the cage and advanced to the back. From there, he flattened out Baghdad and secured the choke for the tap.

The 28-year-old Wade has won six straight.

Unbeaten Sanders Taps Blanco

MMA Lab’s Luke Sanders remained undefeated in spectacular fashion, as he submitted former Pancrase champion Maximo Blanco with a first-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary featherweight affair. Blanco (12-7-1, 4-4 UFC) conceded defeat 3:38 into round one, tapping for the first time since September 2011.

Sanders (11-0, 1-0 UFC) -- who stepped in for the injured Dennis Bermudez -- stuck the Venezuelan with counter left hands and leg kicks, withstood an arm-triangle choke and made the most of his opportunity to shine in his Octagon debut. The 30-year-old John Crouch protégé floored Blanco with a slashing left hook, wheeled to his back and slid the choke into place.

The loss halted Blanco’s three-fight winning streak.

Felder Choke Submits Cruickshank

Former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Paul Felder submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 alum Daron Cruickshank with a third-round rear-naked choke in an undercard duel at 155 pounds. Felder (11-2, 3-2 UFC) brought it to a close 3:56 into round three, snapping a two-fight skid.

Cruickshank (16-8, 6-6 UFC) appeared to have the first two rounds in his back pocket. The Michigan Top Team representative snapped back Felder’s head with a pair of side kicks to the face, unleashed various spinning attacks and extricated himself from two attempted submissions -- a jumping guillotine in the first round and an inverted triangle in the second. He was not as fortunate in round three. There, Felder squashed a takedown attempt, responded with one of his own and climbed to the back when Cruickshank tried to stand. He then snaked his arms around the exposed neck and cinched the choke for the tapout.

The 30-year-old Cruickshank has lost three in a row.

Latifi Sinks O’Connell in 30 Seconds

Ilir Latifi put away Sean O'Connell with first-round punches in a preliminary light heavyweight encounter. O’Connell (17-7, 2-3 UFC) wilted 30 seconds into round one, the University of Utah graduate’s modest two-fight winning streak at an end.

Latifi (11-4, 4-2 UFC) connected with an overhand right that buckled O’Connell’s legs and sent him crashing face first to the canvas in a dazed and defenseless state. The Swedish brute pounced for the finish, forcing referee Kevin MacDonald to intervene before more damage could be done.

The 32-year-old Latifi has won four of his last five fights.

Rosa Denies Octagon Rookie Bochniak

American Top Team rep Charles Rosa spoiled the promotional debut of Kyle Bochniak, as he took a three-round unanimous decision in their undercard tilt at 145 pounds. Rosa (11-2, 2-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 marks from the judges.

A replacement for the injured Augusto Mendes, Bochniak (6-1, 0-1 UFC) held his own. The CES MMA veteran dropped Rosa with a right hand in the first round and executed a surprise takedown in the second. Still, he came up short and walked away with a badly bloodied nose for his troubles. Rosa zeroed in on his lead leg with a ruthless string of kicks that left it grotesquely discolored. The 29-year-old also capitalized on Bochniak’s short-notice gas tank, as he was the busier man over the final 10 minutes.

Font Stops Newcomer Gomez

Team Sityodtong’s Rob Font disposed of Team Triumph prospect Joey Gomez with second-round punches in their preliminary bantamweight pairing. A short-notice fill-in for the injured Patrick Williams, Gomez (6-1, 0-1 UFC) met his end 4:13 into round two.

Font (12-1, 2-0 UFC) punched beautifully in combination, threw in some front kicks to the body and uncorked a variety of other strikes. He staggered Gomez with a left hook in the second round, weathered a takedown and resumed his assault once he returned to his feet. A standing elbow from Font had Gomez ducking for cover, and a burst of unanswered punches prompted referee Herb Dean to act.

The 28-year-old Font has rattled off 11 consecutive victories.

Barroso Decisions Replacement Mutapcic

Nova Uniao export Francimar Barroso recorded his sixth win in seven appearances, as he claimed a unanimous decision from former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Elvis Mutapcic in a three-round undercard battle at 205 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Barroso (18-4, 3-1 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.

A replacement for the injured Abdul Kerim-Edilov, Mutapcic (15-4, 0-1 UFC) was ineffective on the feet. Barroso flashed overhand rights, sneaky jabs and kicks to the body and leg, his efforts resulting in a horizontal cut on the Bosnian’s right brow. He also mixed in a first-round takedown that led to nearly three minutes of positional control.

The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Mutapcic.


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