ALESSIO SAKARA VS. JOE VEDEPOAlessio Sakara rebounded from a disappointing loss to Chris Leben with a highlight reel knockout of newcomer Joe Vedepo. Sakara landed a right high kick that was reminiscent of Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic. Vedepo's eyes could be seen rolling backwards as he crumbled to the mat. "Legionarius" was excited to get the win and was very animated in the Octagon afterwards.
RYAN JENSEN VS. WILSON GOUVEIARyan Jensen had his hometown crowd behind him as he took on the always tough Wilson Gouveia. Jensen was very impressive in the opening round, scoring a takedown and avoiding all of the Brazilian's submission attempts while landing an abundance of strikes. Despite a great showing in the first round, Jensen would succumb to an armbar in the second. The American Top Team fighter played the role of spoiler in his 185-pound debut.
KYLS BRADLEY VS. JOE LAUZONKyle Bradley had a forgettable debut against Chris Lytle where he was finished with strikes in the opening round. The Rich Clementi-cornered fighter took on fan favorite Joe Lauzon in 155-pound action. Despite a move to his natural weight class, Bradley was unable to garner his first Octagon victory and succumbed to Lauzon via strikes in the second round.
JASON BRILZ VS. BRAD MORRISHometown favorite Jason Brilz made a successful UFC debut with a dominating performance over Australia's Brad Morris. Brilz controlled the fight from the very beginning and his opponent had no answer to Brilz's superb wrestling.
MIKE MASSENZIO VS. DREW MCFEDRIESMike Massenzio shocked fans by quickly outclassing Drew McFedries in the second bout of the night. Massenzio, an IFL veteran, took McFedries down early despite a sprawl attempt by the Miletich fighter. Massenzio displayed his wrestling prowess as he passed McFedries' guard and into north-south position. The UFC newcomer secured a kimura shortly after forcing his opponent to tap.
DAN MILLER VS. ROB KIMMONSFormer IFL champion Dan Miller made a successful entry into the UFC with a first round submission over Rob Kimmons. Miller walked into the Octagon brimming with confidence and it showed in his performance.
ALAN BELCHER VS. ED HERMANUltimate Fighter runner-up Ed Herman looked to rebound off of a loss to Demian Maia. Across the Octagon from Herman was Alan Belcher, a fighter known for his confidence and striking prowess. Belcher came out the aggressor as expected, landing a few nice punches. However, "Short Fuse" returned with counter strikes of his own as the two fighters exchanged.
Various flying punches, subtle antics and solid trades highlighted the middleweight match-up. Belcher had the edge in striking on their feet while Herman was able to take his opponent down in each of the three rounds. Herman finished the fight strong, throwing strikes from the full mount as the final round came to an end.
Much to the displeasure of the booing crowd, Belcher received a controversial split decision. Belcher got a much needed win and put his name back into the list of potential 185-pound contenders.
HOUSTON ALEXANDER VS. ERIC SCHAFERUFC Fight Night's opening broadcast bout featured Omaha, Nebraska's own Houston Alexander against submission specialist Eric "Red" Schafer. The crowd's cheers were deafening as Alexander was introduced. Schafer survived an onslaught of straight punches and knees from his heavy-handed opponent. The Wisconsin native displayed a solid chin as he absorbed many hard shots before getting Alexander to the mat. From there, Schafer would work his way into full mount before securing an impressive side choke.
"I trained hard for this," said Schafer. "That's my signature move."
CLAY GUIDA VS. MAC DANZIGClay Guida has always been described as one of the hardest working and toughest fighters in the entire world, and he once again earned that reputation by defeating The Ultimate Fighter Season 6 winner Mac Danzig on Wednesday night.
Since his first day in the Octagon, Guida has faced nothing but top competition in the lightweight division and he put another big win on his record by pressing the pace and keeping Danzig on the defensive for almost every second of their fight.
The first round saw Danzig at his most effective in the fight, staying on his feet and landing a few solid combinations that kept Guida away from him.
But as the round wore on, Guida got more comfortable getting inside of Danzig's punches and eventually landing a good takedown on his opponent.
In the second round, it was the Illinois native who took over the fight by pushing forward and showing his intense cardio as he kept Danzig off balance with takedowns and just an overall relentless attack.
"He hit me pretty hard a couple of times, I knew I could take him down off the transitions," said Guida following the fight. "He's very slick off his back, I couldn't keep my head in the middle. He's got a lot of good kimuras and stuff, so I just tried to put him on his back and hold him there, and we duked it out on the feet too, he's a stud."
Danzig almost slipped in a kimura in the third round, but again Guida kept away from anything dangerous, while maintaining control throughout.
In the end, it was Guida's undying dedication to work for the takedown as well as setting a pace that few fighters in MMA could keep up with, that earned him a unanimous decision victory.
Following his fourth win in the Octagon, Guida stayed humble by complimenting his opponent after a hard fought win.
"I want to congratulate Mac Danzig, he's a true warrior, he's a champion," Guida commented. "Very experienced, he's a very game opponent, he's going to do big things in this sport, I know it."
NATE DIAZ VS. JOSH NEERT.U.F. 5 winner Nate Diaz faced off against Josh Neer in the main event of the evening. "The Dentist" had the support of former UFC champion Jens Pulver and LC Davis in his corner while Diaz was supported by his older brother Nick.
Diaz impressed the fans with smooth transitions into submission attempts while Neer scored more damage with his strikes and slams.
Both fighters showed excellent poise and resilience in defending the offense of each other, making it a highly entertaining yet technical fight.
After three exciting rounds, Nate Diaz was awarded a split decision. The fight was very close and the victory could have gone to either fighter. Some of the fans expressed their displeasure regarding the decision but were ultimately pleased by the fight as a whole.
The Cesar Jiu-Jitsu fighter gave Neer a lot of credit afterwards for his ability to defend against Diaz's submission attempts.
"Josh Neer, he ain't no black belt in Jiu-Jitsu like the other guys I've been fighting. This (expletive), this dude right here can fight. All these other Jiu-Jitsu guys and (expletive) and wrestlers, ya'll need to learn how to box. Get in here and fight us. This dude is down."
"I train hard. I just try to work my [butt] off, I ain't quitting. Neither is that dude (pointing at Neer)."
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 15 RESULTS:
Dan Miller def. Rob Kimmons by submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:27, RD1 Mike Massenzio def. Drew McFedries by submission (Kimura) at 1:28, RD1 Jason Brilz def. Brad Morris by TKO (Ref Stoppage) at 2:54, RD2 Joe Lauzon def. Kyle Bradley by TKO (Ref Stoppage) at 1:34, RD2 Wilson Gouveia def. Ryan Jensen by submission (Armbar) at 2:04 , RD2 Alessio Sakara def. Joe Vedepo by TKO (Right High Kick) at 1:27, RD1 Eric Shafer def. Houston Alexander by submission (arm triangle choke) at 4:53, R1 Alan Belcher def. Ed Herman by split decision (29-28,29-28, 28-29) Clay Guida def. Mac Danzig by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) Nate Diaz def. Josh Neer by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)