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UFC Fight Night 15 recap and final thoughts

ufc fight night 15 recap
UFC Fight Night 15 from the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb., has come to a close.

The big winners: The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 winner Nate Diaz and fellow lightweight division member, Clay Guida.

The big losers: Hometown hero Houston Alexander, and, well, hometown hero Houston Alexander.

"The Nebraskan Assassin" kicked off the main card action against Milwaukee native Eric Schafer in a light heavyweight bout. With his job perhaps on the line, Alexander either needed a win or an impressive performance to remain in the good graces of Zuffa brass.

Neither happened.

It was the classic "striker vs. grappler" match up. And the fight pretty much stuck to that script. Alexander came out headhunting and Schafer came out ducking, looking to get the fight to the canvas as soon as possible on his terms.

Alexander appeared to have a few surprises waiting for "Red" when he attempted his takedowns -- several knees to the grill. Schafer, however, appeared to have both knees down at one point when the knees struck, but the referee in charge of the action, Josh Rosenthal, didn't catch them.

"Red" sure did.

He eventually cleared the cobwebs and continued to attempt to get Alexander to the floor. And the "Assassin" did a solid job of defending the first few shots.

But it only takes one. And Schafer's persistence eventually paid off.

With Alexander on the mat, Schafer passed to side control with about as much resistance as Gary Shaw demonstrates at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt immediately began to work submissions, including a guillotine that Alexander pried off.

However, Schafer landed in full mount after the escape and grounded and pounded the local disc jockey for most of the second half of the round. He finally realized there were only about 15 seconds left in the round and angled for an arm triangle.

No problem -- Alexander tapped with just seconds remaining in the first round and the referee peeled him off the canvas bloody, beaten and boggled.

Schafer made it looked that easy, which is perhaps more likely because Alexander proved once again -- despite his pre-fight rhetoric -- that his ground skills are just not up to par with his powerful stand up arsenal.

That's just not going to cut it at the UFC level. And fan favorite or not he might find himself outside the Octagon looking in now with three straight losses.

Alan Belcher and Ed Herman then went toe-to-toe in a middleweight match up.

"The Talent" apparently trained in Thailand for the bout. And his month-long stint abroad paid dividends immediately with an accidental eye poke to start the fight that momentarily blinded "Short Fuse."

From that point on it was pretty much the same type of fight for three rounds: Belcher strafing Herman with low kicks and effective punches and Herman weathering the storm, exchanging briefly and securing takedowns.

Herman did some nice work on the ground, but it wasn't enough to finish the fight at anytime during the 15 minutes of action.

Belcher eventually went on to earn a split decision win, showing some fluid movement throughout the fight. Or is it showboating?

I can't tell anymore.

Regardless, his performance was solid and hopefully Belcher can build on his two wins and shuck the inconsistent label.

And the Thai nuthuggers.

The match up between Guida and TUF 6 winner, Mac Danzig, was all about wrestling, wrestling and more wrestling.

"The Carpenter" -- true to form -- executed his typical gameplan, which includes a relentless pace and a double dose of takedowns and attempts.

Danzig actually commanded the center of the Octagon for most of the first round and stalked Guida, but it was just a matter of time before the Energizer bunny took over.

Danzig looked calm and composed throughout most of the fight, but as time wore on it was clear that he was visibly frustrated. And who could blame him ... Guida is like that annoying kid in school who just can never take a hint (see Holland, Jesse).

The crowd was actually heard booing toward the tail end of the scrap. And perhaps the referee could have separated them more often when the two were at a stalemate up against the fence.

But Guida was constantly working and moving, making it hard for anyone to call him on stalling. It'll be interesting to see if the 26-year-old will remain a "gatekeeper" of the division (Mac's words, not mine) or if he'll get a shot at another contender like ... Nate Diaz?

Diaz put on another jiu-jitsu clinic. The only difference this time is that he didn't come away with a submission win like he has in his last six appearances.

His opponent, Josh Neer, demonstrated a tremendous amount of skill and was unafraid to mix it up with Stockton's finest on the feet or on the ground. "The Dentist" even had Diaz in several menacing positions; however, he would always find a way to escape or reverse.

It was an entertaining fight from bell-to-bell. Both fighters should be commended for their efforts although my unofficial scorecard had Diaz winning two of the three rounds -- unsure how it was a split decision.

One thing that is clear is that Diaz is ready for the upper echelon of the division. He gets better with every fight and tonight was no different.

Calling Tyson Griffin, come in, Tyson.

That's a wrap. Share your thoughts on the event in the comments section below. And for those who missed it or were too drunk to recall everything that happened feel free to check out the complete UFC Fight Night 15 results right here.

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