Located at the Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine, the card, promoted by fledgling Powerhouse Worldwide Promotions, drew no more than 400 people -- most of whom appeared connected to the Southern California mixed-martial-arts community -- and offered a glimpse of what life is like for aging fighters competing beyond the sport's brightest lights.
By the time Sylvia (27-6) and Buentello (28-13) met in the evening's final bout, dangerously-past-his-prime
It could be spun, of course, that
But, really, there wasn't much to feel good about.
Neither fighter in the main event appeared to be in top physical form -- not that this is a revelation -- but Buentello seemed especially lethargic from the opening bell as Sylvia connected on virtually every strike he threw.
Much of the fight was fought in the clinch, especially in the ring's right corners, where Sylvia mauled Buentello with short elbows and knees to the gut. Several heavy exchanges occurred after referee "Big"
"The plan was to wear him down with knees and leg kicks for the first two rounds," Sylvia said after the fight. "Paul has fast hands. I blasted him with elbows and knees, wore him down. When I took his legs, I hit him high."
Sylvia set up the finish just as he planned. Heavy leg kicks pressed Buentello back to the ropes, prompting Sylvia to wade in with punches. A short, quick, uppercut crushed Buentello, who fell in a heap as the fight was called with three seconds remaining in the round.
• State athletic commissions being asked to license Pulver need to take a serious look at the former UFC lightweight champion before allowing him to fight again. He's lost six in a row (the last five coming in Round 1) and hasn't won since December 2007. In all, the 35-year-old "Little Evil" has dropped eight of nine bouts. Saturday's defeat to Garijo came after Pulver ate a straight left that put him down right away. Garijo snatched Pulver's neck, pulled guard and found a tap at 1:08 of the first.
• Event organizers said they expected to sell between 15,000-20,000 pay-per-views. Early-era Zuffa employees
• Welterweight prospect
Circumstances were less than ideal in Phoenix on Friday. But that didn't stop
Based on the trepidation of the Arizona State Athletic Commission, rounds and time limits were altered for the single-night tournament (two three-minute rounds to start, followed by three three-minute rounds in the finals), which was designed to find a No. 1 contender in the division beyond
Tate (11-2) out-pointed Japan's
Tate-Akano featured heavy doses of grappling, position changes and submission attempts, especially during the last two rounds. In the end, Tate was too much because of her wrestling ability. She consistently put the smaller Japanese fighter on her back, and kept active.
Seated cage-side to work Akano's corner,
As Bellator's 115-pound women's tournament continues this weekend (