The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 Finale from the "The Pearl" at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, which went down earlier this evening (Sat., Dec. 4, 2010), is in record books.
Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson were featured in the main event of the evening, competing for the "six-figure" contract and the top spot in the 16-man tournament.
Brookins, the favorite coming into the fight, survived a lopsided first round, during which he ate several Johnson knuckle sandwiches. He rebounded to dominate the second with superior top control and ground and pound, leaving it one apiece heading into the third and decisive round.
It certainly was not as clear-cut in the third and final frame. Brooking ended up on top when the bell sounded, and more than likely did more than Johnson to earn the nod from the judges.
TUF call for the "St. Pierre" teammates. But in the end, Brookins hoisted the trophy as the unamimous decision winner of the twelfth season of TUF.
With just one win versus two losses for the promotion, it was odd that Igor Pokrajac would co-headline an event opposite Stephan Bonnar. Unless, of course, the UFC brass and Spike TV executives wanted to get the original TUF savior a sweet win in front of a large audience.
"The American Psycho" came through, but it was far from sweet.
Bonnar out-struck and out-grappled "The Duke" en route to a unanimous decision victory -- his first back-to-back wins in more than three years. He nearly got a little loosey-goosey, scrambling with the Croatian and almost getting arm-barred in the third round, but he managed to pull it out in the end.
Both fighter were deducted points in the fight for illegal blows courtesy of the dubious officiating of Steve Mazzagatti. Bonnar actually got docked with just one second left in the last round. The good news is that this time it seemingly did not effect the outcome of the fight, which as a win for Bonnar.
The bad news is that Bonnar was the exception, not the rule, tonight when it came to questionable decisions.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Demian Maia had to be drooling when Joe Silva called him about fighting the gangly Kendall Grove, feeling he could latch onto one of those long limbs and go home early with an easy submission.
Maia didn't go home early. And Grove certainly didn't make anything easy. But in the end, Maia did indeed go on to earn his second straight fight via decision since losing to division champion Anderson Silva earlier this year.
Grove was able to defend the numerous submission attempts in the first and second rounds, as well as endure several hard exhanges upright and on the ground. Maia essentially has his way with "Da Spyda," who was unable to mount any kind of offense or hurt the Brazilian at all throughout the fight.
Once again, Grove is unable to string together two consecutive wins, a level of inconsistency that has really hurt the ascension of the TUF winner. Perhaps he'll never get to the top. Maia, meanwhile, is doing everything he's been asked to do to get another bite of the championship apple.
He'll have to work a little more, however, in the New Year before that can happen.
Johny Hendricks and Ricky Story came into their welterweight showdown this evening riding impressive four-fight win streaks, meaning that something had to give in 15 minutes or less.
It was a close, albeit less than thrilling fight, but one that the "Horror" ended up taking home to Tacoma.
Story was somehow able to takedown the two-time NCAA wrestling champion more than once, as well as stuff his numerous takedown attempts. He then used his position to work the body and angle for submissions.
He wasn't able to finish Hendricks, but Story did enough to record his fifth straight inside the Octagon and, in the process, hand Hendricks his first-ever mixed martial arts loss.
Not too shabby -- look for Story to get a higher profile fight in the 170-pound division sooner rather than later in 2011.
Former 155-pound UFC veteran, Leonard Garcia, returned to the Octagon for the first time in more than three years to take on Nam Phan in the first-ever televised 145-pound bout for the promotion.
"Bad Boy" was more than likely looking to recapture the awesomeness of his epic war with Roger Huerta way back when the pair fought a war of attrition, but it just didn't happen tonight.
Not even close.
Phan peppered him throughout the first with crisp punches, nearly finished him in the second and outworked him in the third when Garcia could barely keep his arms up. Somehow, someway, however, that was apparently enough for the judges to award GARCIA a shocking split decision victory.
Upon hearing the announcement, Garcia himself appeared totally stunned. The crowd, too, made their vociferous displeasure known upon hearing the result.
An apologetic Garcia chalked the win up to takedowns, but the handful that he was able to secure were not nearly enough to warrant a win. Not even close.
Phan got hosed tonight. And we'll more than likely hear company president Dana White rail on the poor officiating once again during the post-fight press conference.
There are lots of ways to make history, unfortunately, this probably not what anyone had in mind.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss TUF 12 Finale in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs. Let’s hear what you have to say.
For complete TUF 12 Finale results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.