Saturday, December 31, 2011

Overeem sends Lesnar to retirement

Source : Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports

LAS VEGAS – Alistair Overeem promised his fight with Brock Lesnar wouldn’t last too long.

He was right, but he shouldn’t have been so conservative. Overeem finished the former UFC heavyweight champion in just two minutes, 26 seconds, battering Lesnar with knees, kicks and punches to win by first-round knockout.

The win sets up Overeem, a former Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 champion, for a shot at the UFC title held by Junior dos Santos.

Lesnar had no shot, as he was unable to deal with Overeem’s varied strikes. After the fight, he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
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“I’m going to officially say tonight is the last time you’ll see me in the Octagon,” Lesnar said. Later, he added, “Brock Lesnar is officially retired.”

Lesnar went for a single-leg takedown, but Overeem easily shook it off. Overeem hurt Lesnar with a knee to the body early, but finished the fight with a great kick to the midsection. Lesnar winced in pain and backed to the cage. Overeem rushed in and rained punches on him until referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight.

[ Related: Volkmann takes on Obama – again ]

The grudge match of the night was a one-sided affair, as Nate Diaz used his boxing to throttle Donald Cerrone in a lightweight battle.

Cerrone had no answer for Diaz’s boxing skills, taking repeated shots to the head throughout the fight. Cerrone was not interested in fighting Diaz on the ground and he was far outclassed in the stand-up.

Diaz landed a jab and then a solid right hand behind it just seconds after the bout began. That set the tone for what was a dominant performance for Diaz.

According to CompuStrike, Diaz out-landed Cerrone 258-66, a statistic clearly indicative of the way the fight unfolded. Diaz connected on an astounding 82 percent of his shots, going 258 of 314.

In a stunner, perennial contender Jon Fitch returned to the Octagon for the first time since February and was summarily dismissed by a big-time Johny Hendricks left hook. Hendricks landed the left on the chin and Fitch quickly went down.

Hendricks landed one punch before referee Steve Mazzagatti dove in to stop it at 12 seconds. Fitch was so disoriented that he began to grapple with Mazzagatti following the stoppage.

Alexander Gustafsson continued his rise in the UFC’s light heavyweight division with a comprehensive first-round stoppage of Vladimir Matyushenko. Gustaffson, who dominated from start to the quick finish, began the final sequence with a stiff jab that dumped the 41-year-old wrestler on his back.

Gustafsson pounced and landed a series of hard shots, forcing the stoppage at 2:13 of the first.

He overcame a serious case of the butterflies to pull off one of his most significant wins.

“I was super nervous,” Gustafson said. “I watched him fight when I was a kid and looked up to him. This is the biggest win of my career and I’m so happy right now. He walked right into my jab. I saw in his eyes he was gone and I jumped on him. I’m just so happy right now.”

Matyushenko, a one-time title challenger, had hoped to use his wrestling and turn it into a meat grinder-type of match, but he was never in the fight.

“Well I thought I was doing pretty good in the first round,” Matyushenko said. “He’s just unusual, a long lanky guy. He moves pretty well. I was hoping to take it to the second and third round and that he would lose his speed. But that didn’t happen. I’m still learning and hopefully I’ll get back in there soon.”

Jim Hettes used excellent judo and effect ground-and-pound to totally throttle Nam Phan in one of the card’s most one-sided bouts. Hettes won by scores of 30-25 twice and 30-26, coming close on several occasions to stopping the “Ultimate Fighter” veteran.

According to CompuStrike, Hettes had an 8-0 edge in takedowns and out-landed Phan 117-27.

“Whether it was 10-8 or 10-9 or if he was winning, he’s such a tough competitor, so every second I had to be going forward,” Hettes said. “Just making sure I didn’t let him get on the offensive. I was working on keeping him down on the ground. Everyone knows I’m a submission specialist, so it just added a whole other aspect to my game.”

Phan had nothing but praise for Hettes afterward.

“I just couldn’t do it this fight,” he said. “Jimmy’s good, man, really good. I know I have to work on my takedown defense now.”

Ross Pearson bloodied Junior Assuncao’s nose and consistently beat the Brazilian to the punch, winning a unanimous decision in his featherweight debut.

The first round was close, but Pearson was in control over the final two rounds, keeping the fight standing and landing the cleaner, harder shots.

“Honestly, it felt a little bit different out there, just my body reacting to the drop to 145,” Pearson said. “It was just the tiniest difference. I’m glad I got three rounds of good fighting in. I didn’t tire, I didn’t get gassed and I kept the pressure up. All in all I felt good.

“I would probably do a bit of a longer camp next time. I think I got the victory because I had the desire and the want to win. I had it in my head that whatever he was going to do, I was going to come back with something more.”

Danny Castillo used his wrestling, repeatedly scoring takedowns, to pull out a split decision over Anthony Njokuani in a verdict that didn’t sit well with the crowd. All three judges scored it 29-28, or two rounds to one, with two going for Castillo and the other for Njokuani.

Njokuani landed the better strikes and Castillo didn’t do much with the takedowns, but the judges favored his control.

“It wasn’t the fight I wanted or the performance I wanted, but it’s another victory,” Castillo said. “I’m 3-1 this year now, my first year in the UFC. That fight was on two or three weeks notice [and] the one before that [at UFC 139 on Nov. 19] was on four weeks notice. I came out there to fight. I won that. It kind of disappointed me that everybody was booing me. I’m an exciting fighter. It’s frustrating.”

Dong Hyun Kim used a varied striking attack and a couple of well-placed kicks to dominate Sean Pierson and win a unanimous decision in their welterweight bout. All three judges had it 30-27 for Kim.

Kim nearly got the finish at the end of the second when landed a kick to the face. Pierson staggered back to the cage, but the bell sounded before Kim could move in. Pierson didn’t know where he was when he went to the corner.

“I’ve fought eight times so far and I have had the same style over and over, so I wanted to switch it around,” Kim said. “I worked really hard on my standing and striking. I knew I only had 20 seconds after I kicked him, so I pulled back. I didn’t want to be to greedy.”

Jacob Volkmann earned a unanimous decision victory over Efrain Escudero, winning 29-28 on all three judges’ cards, but he got most of his attention for a post-fight shot he took at President Obama.

Being interviewed by UFC analyst Joe Rogan, Volkmann said, “Obama needs a glassectomy.” Rogan was puzzled and said, “OK.” Volkmann then said, “Ask me what a glassectomy is, Joe.” Rogan, still seeming confused, said, “What is it?”

Volkmann then said “It’s where they remove the belly button so you can see what you’re doing while your head’s up your [expletive].” As he said it, the crowd seemed shocked. A few booed, but most sat there silently.

In the opening fight of the night, Diego Nunes kicked his way to a unanimous decision victory over Manny Gamburyan in an important featherweight bout. Nunes raked Gamburyan with so many hard kicks to the legs in the first round that when the second began, a large black-and-blue mark had already formed on the outside of Gamburyan’s left leg.

Gamburyan took the second round by scoring a few takedowns and landing a good knee that swelled Nunes’ eye. He also connected with the best punch of the fight in the second, cracking Nunes with a big overhand right.

Nunes, who had abandoned his kicks for the most part in the second round, went back to them in the third and kept Gamburyan off of him while scoring points.

All three judges had it 29-28 for Nunes, as did Yahoo! Sports.

“I’m very happy with the victory tonight,” Nunes said. “Manny Gamburyan can take a lot of punishment, because I hit him with a lot. This just motivates me to come back and be better, I want to come out and keep getting better and better every time. It motivates me to train harder and keep working hard. I have some room for improvement and I’ll work hard.”

Gamburyan said an injury early in the fight prevented him for doing what he wanted.

“I hurt my shoulder early on, the same one I hurt in UFC 135 and I could only use one hand,” Gamburyan said. “He’s a tough fighter, and a good one, and you can’t fight against him with just one arm. I give him props, he did a good job. I was done.”

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