Veteran Keith Wisniewski (left) kicks Chris Clements (right) in the face during their preliminary fight on the UFC 145 undercard although it would be in a losing effort. Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting.
If you are a fan of decisions, you would have loved today's (April 21, 2012) UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans "Prelims" card. Both the FX and Facebook portions were littered with them, although the pace of the show picked up as the night wore on.
Thankfully, the final fight of the undercard between heavyweights Travis Browne and Chad Griggs lived up to expectations as both men threw down. Browne was clearly the bigger man and the more technical fighter, landing a massive flying knee that cracked Griggs in the jaw.
After closing the distance and scoring a takedown, Browne showed Griggs' inexperience on the ground by easily obtaining mount. "Hapa" latched on an arm triangle choke, and after some initial resistance from "The Gravedigger," Griggs was forced to tap the canvas.
It was the lone finish of the "Prelims" card, but there were a couple entertaining fights beforehand.
We've got a complete recap of the UFC 145 under card after the jump:
Welterweights Stephen Thompson and Matt Brown battled it out in the second to last fight of the preliminary card and after a brief exchange early, Brown wanted nothing to do with Thompson on the feet, working for takedowns and clinches to close the distance and take away Thompson's striking advantage.
Brown slowed down in the second round and Thompson picked up his aggression, hurting "The Immortal" with a huge flurry of strikes but Brown struck back, dropping Thompson with a big elbow standing and then busting him up on the ground.
The third round featured some momentum shifts with Thompson landing some great combinations of punches, but again Brown scored a trip takedown and he dominated on the canvas, putting "Wonderboy" in the crucifix position and again landing a series of big ground strikes until the final horn. Brown easily won a unanimous decision to hand Thompson his first career loss.
Two of the best strikers in the lightweight division collided as Anthony Njokuani battled John Makdessi. Njokuani was the larger man, although Makdessi was the one who failed to make weight for the bout.
Throughout the fight, Njokuani kept his distance and worked his superior reach advantage primarily throwing solid leg kicks and mixing in head and body kicks with his opposite leg. As the fight wore on, the knockout artist continued to pour it on by mixing in his jab to keep Makdessi at a distance.
Makdessi tried to throw his diverse arsenal of spinning attacks, but he simply couldn't set them up properly and he was never able to score significantly. In the end, Njokuani won an easy decision with a clean sweep 30-27 across the boards.
In a battle of former Ultimate Fighter winners, Mac Danzig took on Efrain Escudero as both men needed a win. Escudero threatened early with a heel hook which looked like it might end the fight but Danzig twisted free, although damage had been done as Danzig's ankle was damaged.
Despite the injured ankle, Danzig put the pressure on Escudero, outstriking him on the feet, putting him into the fence in the clinch and overall doing more than enough to win each and every round. Despite likely losing the first two rounds, Escudero didn't turn up the intensity nearly enough in the third round to get the needed finish and Danzig ended up winning a unanimous decision.
In welterweight action, two veterans Keith Wisniewski and Chris Clements duked it out in a big sloppy brawl. Wisniewski wasn't helped much by the referee, who was quick to stand the fight up which hurt his chances of getting the submission.
Clements did a solid job of working his power strikes, connecting solidly on Wisniewski, who's defense left something to be desired. A notable exchange occurred at the end of the second round as Wisniewski was draped on his back and Clements dropped a flurry of reverse elbows which nearly put the veteran out.
In the end, Clements' superior striking was enough to outscore Wisniewski's grappling advantage and he was awarded a split decision victory to hand him his first career UFC win.
Blanco had a penchant for power and for exciting knockouts, but he decided not to show up as Brimage primarily controlled the stand-up with constant forward movement while flashing punches which kept the Brazilian at bay. There wasn't much excitement in this bout as neither man landed many strikes overall, but Brimage did just enough.
Before the decision was announced, both featherweights did a gymnastics display, trading cartwheels and backflips while motioning that the other had been running the whole fight. If only they'd shown this much energy during their fight. Brimage was awarded a split decision victory although neither man managed to impress.
Here are the complete undercard results:
Travis Browne def. Chad Griggs via submission (arm triangle) at 2:29 of round one
Matt Brown def. Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision
Anthony Njokuani def. John Makdessi via unanimous decision
Mac Danzig def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision
Chris Clements def. Keith Wisniewski via split decision
Marcus Brimage def. Maximo Blanco via split decision
That's it for the "Prelims" portion of the UFC 145 fight card.
Be sure to hit up MMAmania.com's for up to the minute results and blow-by-blow coverage of the rest of the night's UFC 145 pay-per-view (PPV) action by clicking here.