UFC on FX 1 Prelims: Rivera Triumphant in Farewell Fight

By Brian Knapp Jan 20, 2012
Not unlike Chris Lytle, Jorge Rivera will exit the UFC after an impressive victory. | File Photo: Sherdog.com

In his 15th and final appearance inside the Octagon, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 4 alum Jorge Rivera dispatched Eric Schafer with second-round ground-and-pound at UFC on FX “Guillard vs. Miller” on Friday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

Punches and hammerfists brought forth the stoppage 91 seconds into round two. Rivera (20-9, 9-6 UFC), who turns 40 next month, announced his plans to retire, win or lose, prior to the bout.

“I’m grateful,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of good people. It’s been a great trip. It’s been really good to me.”

Schafer controlled the first round with a pair of takedowns and some mild ground-and-pound. Rivera, however, was not deterred. The Framingham, Mass., native turned the tide with a hammerfist early in the second period, as Schafer clung to his ankle in desperation. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt retreated, with Rivera in hot pursuit, perhaps sensing his opponent, now bloodied, was damaged goods. Punches and hammerfists followed, and, with Schafer (12-7-2, 3-6 UFC) failing to properly defend himself, referee Herb Dean intervened.

“He’s a strong guy. I was watching him in the back, and he had a real tough [weight] cut,” Rivera said. “I knew the longer the fight the fight would go, he would have a hard time. I could feel him breathing harder and harder.”

Nurmagomedov, 17-0, Dazzles in UFC Debut

Undefeated Russian prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted former WEC headliner Kamal Shalorus with a third-round rear-naked choke in a 155-pound undercard matchup. Shalorus (7-2-2, 0-2 UFC), who had never before been submitted, asked out of the fight 2:08 into round three.

Nurmagomedov (17-0, 1-0 UFC) floored the Iranian with a beautiful counter left hook in the first round and swarmed with punches and hammerfists. Though his efforts came up short, the damage was done and Shalorus was never the same. From there, Nurmagomedov attacked with series of single-leg takedowns and multi-punch combinations on his rattled foe.

In the third round, he put Shalorus on the ground, shrugged off an attempted guillotine, passed to side control and transitioned immediately to mount. Shalorus yielded his back and, soon after, succumbed to the choke. A world sambo champion, Nurmagomedov has finished nine consecutive opponents.

“I was a bit cautious. I had a strategy that I devised back home with my father,” Nurmagomedov said. “I definitely had butterflies today, but, with the help of God, I was able to get it done.”

Brenneman Outduels Roberts in Ground Battle

AMA Fight Club standout Charlie Brenneman struck for multiple takedowns, passed guard at will and avoided deep submission attempts in the second and third rounds en route to a unanimous decision over Daniel Roberts in a preliminary welterweight matchup.

All three judges ruled in favor of Brenneman (15-3, 4-2 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

“I was able to exploit him on the ground, which I expected,” he said. “I should have done it on my feet. I apologize for that. I work every day on [my standup] and try to evolve, but I went back to what got me here. When I threw it, I hit him and connected. I’ve just got to open up more on my feet. I’ll get home and get up early on Monday and go to the gym and keep it going.”

Brenneman was in top form for much of the fight, as he attacked Roberts with a relentless pace on the ground. Twice he trapped the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu representative in the mounted crucifix position, and, although the damage he exacted was limited, Brenneman established himself as the superior fighter and slowly wore down Roberts (12-4, 3-4 UFC).

Still, the sailing was not all smooth. Roberts threatened “The Spaniard” with an inverted triangle choke in the second round and a tight kimura in the third. Each time, the horn sounded and saved Brenneman from further trouble. The 30-year-old Hollidaysburg, Pa., native has won 10 times in 12 outings but has yet to finish an opponent in the UFC.

“If I want to get on top and get on TV, I’ve got to start finishing,” Brenneman said. “That’s something I put on me, and I will do it.”

Hayden Taps to Camoes Choke

Well-traveled Brazilian export Fabricio Camoes picked up his first win inside the Octagon, as he submitted Tom Hayden with a first-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary lightweight duel. The tapout came 4:03 into round one.

Hayden (8-1, 0-1 UFC), a Jorge Gurgel protégé, started strong with a couple of counter right hands, an effective sprawl and solid submission defense. Through much of the first half of the first round, he generally made life difficult for the favored Camoes (14-6-1, 1-1-1 UFC).

However, the seasoned Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt sprang a slick reversal on the ground, delivered a wild running standing-to-ground hammerfist and seized Hayden’s back, hooks in. Not long after, Camoes landed the choke and, following a brief but fruitless struggle, Hayden succumbed to the hold. The 33-year-old Camoes will carry a three-fight winning streak into his next appearance.

“I was really surprised that Thomas came straight to the striking,” Camoes said. “I was a little bit off. I was training for a right-handed guy, and he came out southpaw. That surprised me a little bit. I think on the ground I’m pretty good, and I wanted to get this win for my family.”

Pineda Choke Submits Schilling

Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Daniel Pineda submitted the previously unbeaten Pat Schilling with a first-round rear-naked in a featherweight showdown between two UFC rookies. The end came 97 seconds into round one.

On the heels of a crackling leg kick and stout left hook, Pineda (16-7, 1-0 UFC) bullied into the clinch, secured a takedown and moved immediately to full mount inside the first minute. The 26-year-old native then let loose with punches from the top, forcing Schilling to his stomach. More punches followed, and, as Schilling (5-1, 0-1 UFC) stood in one last act of desperation, Pineda cinched the choke. The tapout came soon after, giving Pineda his sixth straight victory.

“I was just going to push him, because he’s never been in with a good guy,” Pineda said. “He’s always fought guys who don’t have good records. I had to push him and get him out of his zone.”

Denis Elbows Smash Sandoval

Former King of the Cage champion Nick Denis knocked out Joseph Sandoval with a series of violent standing elbows from the clinch in a preliminary bantamweight bout. It was over in 22 seconds.

Denis (11-2, 1-0 UFC) was ruthless with his attack. The 28-year-old Canadian battered Sandoval (6-2, 0-2 UFC) with crisp, clean combinations, pulled him into the Thai plum and unleashed with elbows behind the ear in the center of the Octagon and finished it in less than half a minute. Denis has won four of his last five fights.

“I wanted to come out strong with my strikes,” Denis said. “The game plan was eventually to take it to the ground because I felt his weakness was his grappling, but once I landed a couple of punches, I saw he didn’t react very well to it. I knew he was hurt, and I finished it.

“I had him kind of in a Thai clinch and I was going to throw a knee, but I saw he was open for the right elbow,” he added. “I threw it, and he was obviously hurt. I threw a few more and down he went.”

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