Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mounted its latest mixed martial arts (MMA) offensive on FUEL TV last night (Tues., May 15, 2012) from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
UFC on FUEL TV 3: "Korean Zombie vs Poirier" featured a main between Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung, the winner of which was expected to earn number one Featherweight contender status and await the winner of division champion Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch, which is planned for this summer at UFC 149.
It can't come soon enough.
In an otherwise dreadful night of main card fights, Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung put on an absolute classic. "The Korean Zombie" accounted for most of the memorable moments, and there were many, but "Diamond" had his bright spots, too.
Jung came out sharp and stayed that way, beating Poirier to the punch, nailing takedowns and threatening with serious submissions. The second round was basically all Jung, who got the better of an amazing, up-and-down, action-packed battle that had fans screaming like school girls.
Poirier, however, somehow weathered the storm and came out for the third round with revenge his mind, knowing that he was two rounds in the hole and needed the next three to punch his ticket to a championship berth. Jung would not be denied, though, living up to his nickname and walking through big left hands and willing himself to continue further despite the excessive fatigue and punishment.
Then, in the fourth round, he switched to all-out Beastmode.
Jung connected with a huge uppercut that sent Poirier flying across the cage. "Diamond" dove for a takedown to get his wits, but before he knew it Jung was strangling him with a d'arce choke. A d'arce choke that momentarily put Poirier to sleep and permanently dashed his near-term title hopes.
I'm not really sure what got into Jung last night. He's a great fighter, but he just elevated his game to an incredible level. He was sharp, dangerous and insanely crafty. The transitions were dizzying -- ringside announcer Kenny Florian nearly had a coronary calling the action.
That's as good as it gets. What an incredible fight, what an insane performance.In perhaps the weakest co-main event in recent memory, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 winner Amir Sadollah took on Wanderlei Silva protege Jorge Lopez. Weak in the sense that it has little to no impact on the Welterweight division and both men are coming off losses in their most recent performances.
The actual 170-pound match did little to shuck the weak pre-fight label.
Hell, let's just say it: It was a stinker. With the exception of a solid standing guillotine choke that Sadollah attempted at some point -- all the rounds seemed to blend together in a mind-numbing meaningless MMA menagerie -- it was simply a forgettable fight during which both men spent most of their time jockeying for position and then doing nothing with it.
UFC President Dana White actually revealed online that he "fucked up" and didn't realize that the Donald Cerrone vs. Jeremy Stephens showdown was third on the bill until it was too late. It certainly would have helped -- anything was better than that rotten egg -- but it definitely wasn't the show-stealer most had anticipated.
Jeremy Stephens could not have asked for a more willing punching partner than Donald Cerrone, a formidable 155-pound force who -- like "Lil Heathen" -- likes nothing more than a good 'ole fashion fist fight. He got what he wanted, but he certainly didn't achieve the end result he envisioned.
Not even close.
Cerrone absolutely outclassed Stephens in all facets of the fight, chopping his lead leg with devastating kicks as he waded in to deliver lightning fast combinations. While Stephens was reacting to the leg kicks, "Cowboy" was already on the inside busting up Heathen's face with crisp strikes.
He even mixed in flying knees, elbows and a takedown in the third and final round just for good measure. Stephens, who is never technically "out" of a fight because of his one-punch power, seemed totally puzzled throughout the bout, unable to threaten with really anything that could be considered effective.
It was an easy fight to score, with Cerrone earning a very impressive unanimous decision. In his post-fight victory speech, Cerrone politely requested a rematch with current number one division contender, Nate Diaz, at UFC 151 on Labor Day weekend. That's probably not going to happen -- Diaz did to Cerrone what Cerrone did to Stephens and Diaz is in no rush to tinker with his guaranteed title shot anytime soon.
However, if the Cerrone who showed up tonight could duplicate that effort against Diaz in a second go-round, it would be one helluva fun fight. Kind of what we thought the showdown with Stephens was going to be heading into the match.
Streaking Bantamweight newcomers Yves Jabouin and Jeff Hougland hooked 'em up an a 135-pound scrap that would help unclog the middle tier of the division and vault the winner closer to the top of the food chain. It was Jabouin who made that statement last evening, drilling Hougland from pillar to post with a dynamic mix of strikes that nearly finished the fight on numerous occasions.
And a few well-placed spinning back kicks nearly finished Hougland's liver, too.
This wasn't really a close fight whatsoever with Jabouin sweeping the judges scorecards with a lopsided decision after three rounds of one-sided action. Hougland survived what appeared to be several debilitating body shots, as well some very effective ground-and-pound.
However, that's a small consolation when every win inside the Octagon means so much. Bad losses like this do, too, but in the completely opposite direction. Nonetheless, Hougland will be back -- tonight's loss snapped a nine-fight MMA win streak. He just needs to do whole lot better than that to keep it that way.
Jabouin, meanwhile, now boasts three straight UFC wins, none more impressive than the three-round beatdown of "Hellbound."
What began as a snoozer, ended a sizzler when Fabio Maldonado and Igor Pokrajac collided in a Light Heavyweight bout that pitted a former professional boxer opposite a more wrestling-based fighter.
Pokrajac immediately scored a takedown and rode Maldonado for about half the round, looking to implement a ground and pound attack and neutralize the Brazilian's biggest strength. Maldonado eventually got to his feet and began to do what he does best, which is rip body shots and land short, hard punches from the inside.
Dirty boxing, baby.
Pokrajac, however, was more than willing to oblige in the stand up department. In fact, the Mirko Filipovic training partner essentially abandoned the ground game in favor of slinging leather for the remainder of the bout much to the chagrin of his corner team ... and to the cheers of the nearby crowd.
Make no mistake, Maldonado got in some great licks. Indeed, the Croatian fighter not only demonstrated his toughness, but then returned fire thanks in large part to a Muay Thai attack that facilitated several flush kneecaps to Maldonado's rock-hard head.
It was all good enough to impress the ringside judges, who at the end of 15 minutes of back-and-forth action awarded Pokrajac a unanimous decision win. Perhaps that knockout for "The Duke" over Krzysztof Soszynski in his prior performance was no fluke.
Maldonado, meanwhile, has now dropped two straight, even though there are many fight fans who will most likely argue that he got screwed on the scorecards in at least one, if not both, of those losses. Dude hits like a truck and rarely retreats, which either means his most recent opponents are just incredibly resilient or perhaps his power could be better served if he's fighting opponents who are 20 pounds lighter.
Trim the fat, Fabio.
MMA veteran Jason MacDonald -- once referred to as the "TUF Killer" in his heyday -- had grand plans of defeating Tom Lawlor last night, requesting a farewell fight at UFC 149 in his native Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and then riding off into the sunset to pursue a non-fight career.
"Filthy" had other plans.
Specifically, a left-right-left, fight-ending punch combination that he uncorked just 50 seconds into the start of the opening frame. MacDonald wobbled after the first two shots connected, slowly fell face-first to the canvas and then Lawlor delivered the final coup de grace to the defenseless "Athlete."
It's unclear at this time if MacDonald is still eager to compete one last time inside the Octagon in two months. He certainly didn't endure too much damage this evening; however, he has dropped three of his last four fights, which could put a damper on a future invitation to the Octagon regardless of the circumstances ... if he even wants one.
Lawlor, meanwhile, picked up a much-needed victory that places him back in the win column in a very competitive 185-pound division. The birthday boy, 29, will now need to keep the pedal to the floor and keep the win streak alive if he has any true intentions of being relevant before Father Time catches up with him, too.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC on FUEL TV 3: "Korean Zombie vs Poirier" in the comments section below.
Is Jung the real deal or what? How about that awesome co main event, eh? Will the real Donald Cerrone please stand up? Is Maldonado middleweight bound? Is this the last we see MacDonald in the Octagon?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC on FUEL TV 3 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Korean Zombie vs Poirier" event right here. Last, and certainly not least, check out our complete UFC on FUEL TV 3 results recap of the Facebook "Prelims" right here.