Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) just completed the Facebook under card fights for "Shields vs. Ellenberger" tonight (Sept. 17, 2011) at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Lousiana.
Cody McKenzie was one of six former Ultimate Fighter (TUF)
cast members competitors who appeared in tonight's Facebook preliminary bouts (two others were featured on the main card as well). The timing was clearly not coincidental with the premiere of TUF season 14 right around the corner.
The Alaska native McKenzie has become famous for his patented "McKenzie-tine" submission (his own personal take on the guillotine). His opponent, Vagner Rocha is a renowned Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) submission specialist. All the ingredients for an exciting battle for a submission were present.
If you play with fire for long enough, eventually you're going to get burned.
That's exactly what happened to McKenzie who, after fighting Rocha's fight and allowing much of the bout to transpire on the canvas, was eventually choked out at 3:49 of the second round.
Rocha showed that his jiu-jitsu skills make him a force to be reckoned with. He's still not quite where he needs to be, but he shows a lot of promise. It may be back to the drawing board for McKenzie.
Here's what the rest of the action looked like:
How do you go from being one of the top guys in your division and constantly "in the mix," to being in a place where you find yourself on a two-fight losing streak and fighting for your job? Beats me. Ask Evan Dunham.
In Dunham's defense, one of the aforementioned losses came by way of a split decision to Sean Sherk that most viewers felt should have gone to Dunham. The other loss came to Melvin Guillard, who appears to be on a mission that involves viciously knocking out anyone who would dare get in front of him.
Regardless of the nature of the losses, three in a row looks bad on the resume. Dunham squared off against Shamar Bailey in an attempt to right his own ship and get his career back on track.
After Bailey, an accomplished wrestler, was unable to take Dunham down in the first round, the second round turned into a boxing match. Advantage: Dunham.
In the second round, Dunham showed why he was once called one of the UFC's lightweight division's elite fighters by vastly outstriking the overmatched Bailey.
The third round saw more of the same as Dunham hit Bailey with enough punches and kicks to keep the folks at CompuStrike busy for a while. You can call Bailey a lot of things, but a quitter isn't one of them. Bailey stood in there and took his beating like a man. He clearly was not up to Dunham's level of overall fighting abilities, but he's got a ton of heart.
To the surprise of no one who viewed the fight, Dunham received the unanimous decision.
Big win for Dunham. Here's to hoping he's able to use the momentum to get back on top.
What can you say about Matt Riddle that hasn't already been said a thousand times? The guy brings the fight every single time. The crazy thing is that, while he's getting punched in the face, he's smiling like he just heard the funniest joke in the world. How does it not mess with your head when you hit a guy with everything you've got and he just laughs?
UFC newcomer Lance Benoist came into his fight with Riddle riding a five-fight win streak and holding a perfect record, cutting his MMA teeth on Midwest regional shows. He looked intent on proving that he is prepared for the big city lights.
In the first round, Benoist overwhelmed Riddle with technical precision. It looked, at that point like it may have ended up being a short night for the always jovial welterweight.
In the second round, the tides changed a bit as Riddle dealt Benoist a big kick that left him with a brutally broken nose.
There was blood in the water and accordingly, Riddle went for the kill.
In the third round, Riddle was finally able to use his size and weight advantage to gain dominant top position as he sent multiple measured shots at his opponent's clearly broken nose. The majority of the round was spent with Benoist defending and trying desperately to avoid being finished. Kudos to the UFC newcomer for finding a way to make it to the final horn.
By the end of the fight, both fighters were covered in blood. You'd expect nothing less from a Matt Riddle signature production.
Much to the dismay of the fans in attendance, the judges felt Benoist did enough in the first two rounds (and he probably did) to win the unanimous decision.
When your nickname is "Hands of Stone," there are certain expectations that people are going to have.
Ken Stone threw his trademarked hands with relatively new UFC addition Donny Walker, who was entering the Octagon for only the second time. Walker was signed by the organization after winning seven fights in a row at smaller events. He was welcomed to the UFC in a loss to Jeff Hougland at UFC 132 on July 2.
Though Stone did exhibit some nice striking early on, it ended up being his jiu-jitsu that proved to be the difference in this fight. Midway through the first round, Stone was able to get the takedown, transition to a body triangle and slip in the rear-naked choke.
Walker refused to tap and consequently went to sleep, only to awake a few moments later asking: "What happened?"
Stone earned the impressive submission victory at 2:40 of round one.
"Clay Harvison vs. Seth Baczynski" featured a match-up between two former TUF competitors (during different seasons). Baczynski took part in season 11 and fought for Team Ortiz. Harvison competed on the 13th season and fought for Brock Lesnar's squad.
Baczynski took the fight on short notice, filling in for the injured DaMarques Johnson. After being cut by the UFC in June of 2010, Baczynski was looking to take advantage of a second chance that not all fighters receive.
Sometimes you see fights that just don't look fair (see: the majority of Anderson Silva's fights). This was one of those.
Baczynski was too big, too fast, too precise and overall, just too good for Harvison.
In a completely one-sided bout, Baczynski was able to get the victory by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:12 of the second round after hitting his opponent with a series of strikes that left him dazed and confused.
T.J. Waldburger would probably be really good at playing "musical chairs." In his last three scheduled fights, an opponent change was made, not long removed from the bout itself. In tonight's fight, Waldberger was originally supposed to take on "Scrap Pack" member Daniel Roberts, before Roberts had to withdraw due to an injury.
Mike Stumpf was willing to step up and take Roberts' place. Stumpf made his UFC debut, after going 11-2. Most of his career, thus far, has taken place in the Xtreme Fighting Organization (XFO).
At the beginning of round one, Waldburger charged in and hit Stumpf with a crazy kick to his left shin in-step that instantly floored Stumpf.
From that point on, it was really just a matter of how he would submit his opponent and how long it would take.
The answer came at 3:52 of the first round when Waldburger submitted Stumpf via with a beautiful triangle choke. Look out lightweights. This kid is legit.
The last time Mike Lullo stepped into the cage, things didn't go so well for him. After being lit up with leg kicks for a little over two rounds, Lullo's fight against rising star Edson Barboza was halted because of the damage to his lower limbs. It wasn't pretty.
Unfortunately for Lullo, history tends to repeat itself.
Throughout the fight, Perralta lit up Lullo with thundering leg kicks that him noticably limping by the second round. By the third round, Lullo looked like a far less effective version of his first round self. His shots were fairly useless and he looked hesitant in general.
With a little more than a minute left in the final round, Lullo was able to get Perralta's back, but didn't seem to have enough juice left to do anything with it. Perralta escaped, was taken down again, lost the round, but clearly won the fight.
The judges gave the unanimous decision to a deserving winner in Perralta.
Wand Fight Team member Jorge Lopez squared off against yet another TUF participant in Justin Edwards, who was coming off a tough split decision loss to Clay Harvison at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale on June 4.
"Lil' Monster" looked to show why he gets paid the big bucks as a muay thai trainer for Wand Fight Team.
The fight was very close from the get-go, with Edwards coming out as the aggressor. It seemed like every time Edwards pushed forward, Lopez had an answer, though never really able to get on top through two rounds.
By round 3, both competitors looked winded and out of gas. Lopez appeared to have the deeper reserves as he gained (and kept) position on the mat with a little over three minutes to go in the final round.
Unfortunately, it was "too little, too late" for Lopez. The fight ended with the unanimous decision going to Edwards.
Here are the complete UFC Fight Night: "Shields vs. Ellenberger" preliminary fight results:
Vagner Rocha def. Cody McKenzie via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:49 of round two
Evan Dunham def Shamar Bailey via unanimous decision
Lance Benoist def Matt Riddle via unanimous decision
Ken Stone def Donny Walker via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:40 of round one
Seth Baczynski def Clay Harvison via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:12 of round two
T.J. Waldburger def Mike Stumpf via submission (triangle choke) at 3:52 of round one
Robert Peralta def Mike Lullo via unanimous decision
Justin Edwards def Jorge Lopez via unanimous decision