One of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year, UFC 141 is headlined by a heavyweight attraction between former UFC champion Brock Lesnar and Strikeforce, Dream and K1 champion Alistair Overeem. In the co-feature, colorful personalities with exciting styles collide as Nate Diaz takes on Donald Cerrone. Preliminary action begins at 7:30PM, with the Spike TV portion commencing at 9PM and the pay-per-view beginning at 10PM.
Manny Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes
Gamburyan is an Armenian-American fighter with a judo background and great natural strength. Nunes is a quick Brazilian fighter with good technical striking and a solid training camp. Both men are coming off losses and need a win to move forward in the featherweight division.
Round 1. Nunes opens with a few leg kicks and mixes in some spinning kicks to the midsection. Gamburyan isn't able to close the distance early and doesn't make much of an effort to go for a takedown either. Gamburyan shoots for a takedown halfway through the round. Nunes defends well initially but Gamburyan keeps pushing and slams him down. Nunes stands up 30 seconds later as Gamburyan tries to advance position. Nunes goes back to leg kicks and adds a few light jabs. 10-9 Nunes.
Round 2. Gamburyan moves forward more aggressively and wings a couple powerful hooks. Moments later, Gamburyan catches Nunes with a heavy right hook that dazes Nunes momentarily. Gamburyan goes for a takedown but can't get it. Nunes throws a spinning back kick and Gamburyan uses the opportunity to take him down. Gamburyan throws down some punches from half guard against the cage. Nunes stands up with a minute left in the round. Nunes lands a few knees from the clinch and they separate. 10-9 Gamburyan.
Round 3. Gamburyan lands the best early shot of the round, a straight right hand. Nunes continues to throw leg kicks from the outside. Gamburyan moves in for body punches and then ducks out. He looks more comfortable fighting Nunes' fight than he did earlier. Gamburyan shoots for a takedown halfway through the round. Nunes defends and lands a solid knee. Gamburyan goes for another takedown and can't get it. Nunes keeps throwing his kicks. Gamburyan gets Nunes down very briefly but Nunes gets back up with a minute left in the fight. Nunes throws a few more kicks and blocks a takedown at the end. 10-9 Nunes, 29-28 Nunes. Competitive fight, but all three rounds were relatively clear.
Winner: Diego Nunes, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Jacob Volkmann vs. Efrain Escudero
Volkmann's wrestling and control game is difficult to deal with, as evidenced by a four fight win streak. He sports a 13-2 record with his only losses coming at a higher weight class to welterweight contenders Martin Kampmann and Paulo Thiago. Escudero is an Ultimate Fighter winner and returns to the UFC for the first time in a year. Escudero went 5-1 outside the organization and takes this fight on short notice.
Round 1. Volkmann goes for a takedown. Escudero grabs a guillotine choke but Volkmann gets out of trouble by moving into side control. Volkmann maintains control for the remainder of the round. Escudero is able to work his way into guard but isn't able to threaten with submissions. Volkmann grounds and pounds for the rest of the round. 10-9 Volkmann.
Round 2. Volkmann immediately goes for another takedown. Escudero grabs the guillotine once more but Volkmann uses side control just like in the first round to avoid the submission. Escudero then grabs full guard. Herb Dean stands up the action pretty quickly with three minutes left in the round. Volkmann clinches and gets Escudero to the mat. Escudero tries to get up next to the cage. Volkmann uses the opportunity to take Escudero's back and look for a rear naked choke. Escudero is able to work his way out of trouble but Volkmann keeps the pressure on and throws some punches to close the round. Dominant round for Volkmann. 10-9 Volkmann.
Round 3. Escudero grabs a guillotine and pulls guard. That didn't work too well for him in the previous rounds and it doesn't work again. Volkmann gets out of the choke and is in top position. Volkmann throws down some punches and tries to take Escudero's back. Referee Herb Dean stands up the fight, which is a terrible decision. Volkmann again looks for a takedown. Escudero grabs Volkmann's neck and has Volkmann in big trouble. Volkmann is able to defend for the remainder of the round and just survives barely. 10-9 Escudero, 29-28 Volkmann.
Winner: Jacob Volkmann, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
After the fight, Jacob Volkmann tells a joke about President Obama that doesn't go over well.
Sean Pierson vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Pierson is a Canadian fighter who ran into trouble working as a police officer because of his fighting and his nickname ("Pimp Daddy"). Kim is one of the top South Korean fighters with a sparkling 14-1-1 (1 NC) record and a solid ground game.
Round 1. They start out tentatively in the standup game, with each man throwing jabs and adding in a few kicks. Pierson tries to throw some power punches but can't really connect on Kim. Pierson is more aggressive throwing first while Kim counters. Kim blocks a takedown attempt and throws a knee. Pierson jumps on Kim's back standing and tries for a rear naked choke. He then looks for an armbar at the close of the round. 10-9 Pierson.
Round 2. They exchange jabs. Pierson presses Kim against the cage but can't get a takedown and Kim they separate. Kim lands a nice pair of power punches that connect on the chin of Pierson. Kim really opens up and connects with quality combinations on the chin of Pierson. Pierson answers with a couple knees to the body. Kim lands a leaping front kick that rocks Pearson and moves in looking to finish the fight. Pierson is able to survive the round and staggers back to his corner. Big round for Kim. 10-9 Kim.
Round 3. They trade punches from distance and then clinch against the cage. Neither man is able to gt a takedown and they separate. Kim gets a takedown and works him over as the round progresses. They stand back up. Kim again is able to land the better punches in the standup and they return to the clinch. They break and swing wild punches at the close of the round. Kim throws another leaping kick at the close. 10-9 Kim. First round was close, second two were not. 29-28 Kim.
Winner: Dong Hyun Kim, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Anthony Njokuani vs. Danny Castillo
Njokuani is an excellent muay thai practitioner but a subpar UFC level ground game. Castillo is a solid overall prospect with good wrestling.
Round 1. After a brief feeling out period, Castillo goes for a takedown. He gets Njokuani down but Njokuani gets back up. Castillo then slams him down. Njokuani gets back up. Castillo gets a third takedown and mounts Njokuani against the cage. Njokuani keeps working to get up but Castillo is able to continually pull him down. Njokuani grabs Castillo's head from a standing position but Castillo slams him to get out of the guillotine choke. Castillo tries to grab the back but Njokuani stands up. 10-9 Castillo.
Round 2. Njokuani lands some nice straight punches at the start of the round. Njokuani throws a head kick that is blocked. Njokuani throws a leaping knee and tries for a judo throw but can't get it. Njokuani lands some really hard knees from the clinch and a stiff elbow as he moves away. Njokuani is having a very strong round halfway through the second. Castillo drops to one knee from a hard straight left punch by Njokuani. Castillo takes Njokuani down with 90 seconds remaining. Njokuani gets back up with 30 seconds left but Castillo takes him down at the close. 10-9 Njokuani.
Round 3. Njokuani blocks a takedown attempt and lands a knee to the body. Castillo gets a takedown 90 seconds into the round. Njokuani stands back up but Castillo keeps a bodylock and tries to get him back down. Njokuani moves out and opens up with punches and kicks from distance. Castillo again grabs Njokuani's body and throws a few knees to the leg. As they separate, Njokuani lands some leg kicks and punches. Njokuani lands a couple punches and a big flying knee at the close. Tough round to score. 10-9 Njokuani, 29-28 Njokuani.
Winner: Danny Castillo, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Crowd didn't like the decision but it's perfectly justifiable.
Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assuncao
Pearson is a popular British fighter with an entertaining standup style moving down to the 145 pound division. Assuncao is a well rounded fighter with a good ground game and a seven fight winning streak.
Round 1. Assuncao gets a takedown in the first minute. Pearson gets back up. Assuncao looks to throw some kicks while Pearson concentrates on punches. As Assuncao moves in for a takedown, Pearson nails him with a hard knee to the body. Assuncao clinches again and looks to take Pearson down. Pearson avoids that and begins to walk down Assuncao throwing punches. Pearson isn't able to land a lot but he is landing more than Assuncao. Assuncao opens up with kicks to the body and legs while Pearson continues to focus mostly on his boxing. Close round. 10-9 Pearson.
Round 2. Assuncao continues to move back and avoid Pearson's punches, while countering with kicks. Assuncao takes Pearson down but Pearson immediately stands back up. Assuncao presses Pearson against the cage and looks for another takedown. Assuncao lands a nice straight left punch when they separate. Pearson lands a couple nice punches to the body and head and goes to work against the cage. Pearson pushes Assuncao against the cage and throws some knees and punches. Pearson takes Assuncao down in the final minute. Assuncao gets back up and takes Pearson down. 10-9 Pearson.
Round 3. Pearson throws a kick and Assuncao takes him down. Assuncao works to take Pearson's back and secure the neck. Pearson avoids trouble and gets back up. Assuncao tries to take him back down. Pearson defends against the cage. They separate and Pearson throws a few punches and a knee. Assuncao again works for a takedown against the cage but Pearson reverses and presses Assuncao against the Octagon. They fight for position to close the fight. 10-9 Pearson, 30-27 Pearson.
Winner: Ross Pearson, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).
Jim Hettes vs. Nam Phan
Phan, something of a journeyman fighter, has become a popular figure based on his tenure on the Ultimate Fighter and a pair of exciting battles with Leonard Garcia. Hettes is an undefeated judo star in his second UFC contest.
Round 1. Hettes uses a leg trip to take Phan down at the start of the fight. Hettes looks for a guillotine choke from the top. He lets it go but then opens up with big punches that appear to have Phan in trouble. Hettes is just nailing him with huge punches. Phan turns his back. Hettes is able to generate tremendous power with his grounded punches. Phan stands back up halfway through the round. Phan lands a couple nice uppercuts from the standing position. Hettes uses a beautiful judo throw to take down Phan. He then mounts Phan. Hettes goes for the armbar while Phan locks his arms to try to block it. Hettes throws some punches to the head to try to keep Phan from breaking his arms. Hettes gives up the armbar and throws down big punches from mount to close the round. Easy 10-8 round for Hettes.
Round 2. Hettes throws a leaping front kick and takes Phan down. Hettes throws some punches from top position and works his way into mount. He then looks for an arm triangle choke but isn't in the right position. Phan scrambles back to the feet but Hettes looks for a guillotine choke. Phan ends up on top. Hettes gets up and takes Phan down. Phan gets back up. Hettes lands some nice straight punches. Hettes takes Phan down and ends up in side control. Phan works his way back up. Hettes has looked tremendous here. 10-9 Hettes.
Round 3. Hettes throws a head kick at the start of the round. Hettes takes Phan down again and Phan is bleeding near the eye. Phan works to stand up near the cage. He gets up and they trade punches in the middle of the cage. Both men have noticeably slowed down in the third round after pushing the pace in rounds 1 and 2. Hettes takes Phan back down and works to mount him. Hettes looks for an arm triangle choke again. He decides he doesn't have it and lets it go. He then lands a series of punches from mount. He drops a few elbows as well. Phan has no answers as Hettes throws down big punches. 10-9 Hettes, 30-26 Hettes.
Winner: Jim Hettes, unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-25).
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Gustafsson is a rising Swedish prospect with good length and striking. Matyushenko is a very experienced veteran of the sport who has fought many of the light heavyweight division's best fighter. This should be a good test for Gustafsson.
Round 1. Matyushenko flies in with a big left hook that doesn't connect. Gustafsson lands a nice hook of his own. Matyushenko moves in and gets caught with a straight left counterpunch. Matyushenko goes down and Gustafsson throws a series of punches on the ground until the fight is stopped.
Winner: Alexander Gustafsson, TKO, round 1.
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
Jon Fitch is one of the sport's elite pound-for-pound fighters but he has struggled to gain popularity with fans because of his unappealing style of fighting. Hendricks is a better credentialed wrestler than Fitch, but is smaller and less likely to cautiously follow a gameplan.
Round 1. Hendricks knocks Fitch down with a huge overhand left and follows with one punch on the ground before the referee steps in. Fitch is woken up by the referee in a state of confusion. That was a spectacular victory for Hendricks.
Winner: Johny Hendricks, KO, round 1.
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz
This has the makings of a very exciting fight between two fighters with exciting styles and who look to finish standing and on the ground. Since moving to the UFC from the WEC, Donald Cerrone has gone on a winning streak and looked more impressive than he has at any other point in his career. Nate Diaz and his brother Nick are the most unique brother combination in the sport, known for trash talking and controversy.
Round 1. Cerrone gives Diaz the finger after the staredown. Cerrone charges across the ring. Diaz clinches and looks to take Cerrone down. He can't get the takedown and they trade from close distance. Each man lands solid punches to the chin. Diaz lands a series of big punches right to the chin and Cerrone just backs up. Diaz is consistently knocking Cerrone's chin back with punches. Diaz is beating Cerrone up with straight punches. Cerrone isn't even answering. Diaz is just picking him apart. Cerrone lands a nice head kick and throws some leg kicks in response to Diaz's punches. Cerrone is bleeding from the nose. Diaz has an amazing accuracy rate in this round. Diaz 10-8.
Round 2. Diaz goes back to work with punches. Cerrone knocks him down with a couple of leg kicks. Diaz looks to take the back standing but doesn't get anything. Cerrone answers a series of jabs with a nice knee to the head. Diaz backs Cerrone up with an uppercut. Diaz continues to connect strongly with punches. Cerrone drops Diaz again with a leg kick but Diaz answers back with punches to the jaw. Diaz is pummeling Cerrone with heavy punches and Cerrone's face is a mess. Cerrone knocks down Diaz with another leg kick. Cerrone again knocks Diaz down with a leg kick. Diaz gets back up and drops Cerrone with punches. This has been a heck of a fight, albeit nothing like expected. 10-9 Diaz.
Round 3. Diaz gives Cerrone a double finger going into the third round and Cerrone has no answer after having been beaten up for 10 minutes. Diaz begins taunting Cerrone and follows with punches. Diaz lands a big right hook in the middle of a combination. Cerrone goes back to the leg kicks. Diaz continues to beat up Cerrone with punches. Cerrone sweeps Diaz's leg and lets him get up again. Cerrone lands a nice knee to the body. Diaz then lets loose a five punch combination to the head. Cerrone uses a leg trip again and lets Diaz get up. Cerrone goes for a flying knee but it doesn't land. Diaz walks down Cerrone with punches and Cerrone's face is an absolute mess. Cerrone does land a nice head kick but Diaz goes right back to work for the remainder of the fight. 10-9 Diaz, 30-26 Diaz.
Winner: Nate Diaz, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem
Brock Lesnar is one of the biggest drawing cards in MMA, a former WWE star who used his wrestling and natural athleticism to capture the UFC heavyweight title. Alistair Overeem is one of the best strikers in the heavyweight division, having won the K-1 Grand Prix tournament (the world's elite kickboxing tournament) as well as MMA titles. The big questions with Lesnar are his reaction to getting hit and a long layoff following a battle with diverticulitis. The big questions with Overeem are the competition level he has faced and his ability to deal with adversity. The winner will receive a title shot at UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.
Round 1. Lesnar throws a couple leg kicks and a jab. Overeem moves in and Lesnar goes for a takedown but doesn't get it. Lesnar cuts Overeem with a straight punch. Overeem lands a couple knees to the body and looks to close the distance. He throws a series of knees to the body and then some big punches. Overeem throws a big knee and some punches against the cage. He lands a kick to the body that drops Lesnar. Lesnar just covers up and Overeem follows with punches until the fight is stopped.
Winner: Alistair Overeem, TKO, round 1.
Lesnar after the fight says he won't fight in the Octagon again.
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