UFC Fight Night at TD Garden
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its debut on Fox Sports 1 with a stacked fight card at TD Garden on Saturday night. A perfect mix of up-and-comers and seasoned veterans, the event was a great experience that thrilled the Boston crowd.
After three and a half hours of preliminary fights, the main card got underway just after 8:00. Chael Sonnen took on the former Light Heavyweight Champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, while Boston’s John Howard and Joe Lauzon looked for victory in front of their home crowd.
Here’s a recap of the fights, from the Main Event down:
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-8-0) vs. Chael Sonnen (29-13-1) — Light Heavyweight
Profound striker and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rua looked to stop the older Sonnen en route to another title shot. Sonnen, known for his prolific ground game and trash talk looked to bounce back following losses to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva.
Seconds into the main event, Sonnen charged his opponent and nailed a takedown. Rua managed to get back to a standing position and took Sonnen down from the cage. Sonnen threw strikes from the bottom, keeping Rua from advancing. Rua escaped Sonnen’s early guillotine choke attempt, both fighters stood back up. Sonnen took Rua down again, landing in half-guard. Rua could not hip escape, Sonnen rained down punches on him. Rua could not escape Sonnen’s ground game, spending nearly the entire round on his back. Standing with less than 30 seconds left in the first, Sonnen tried another guillotine choke, and fully committed to it. Rua struggled, but could not escape. Rua was forced to tap out, Sonnen sealed the early victory.
Submission Victory via Guillotine Choke for Sonnen at 4:47 in the First Round
Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (36-13-1) vs. Travis “Hapa” Browne (15-1-1) — Heavyweight
Overeem, a former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, is a vicious striker, with the ability to wear down any fighter with heavy knees. Browne is an up-and-coming fighter in the UFC, who made his debut in 2010, on the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Brown is known for his striking and well-rounded ground game (via UFC.com). Out of Browne’s 15 wins, 11 have come via TKO or KO.
Overeem quickly put pressure on Browne, putting him against the cage. Overeem nailed heavy strikes, but Browne weathered the storm.
At the 3:50 mark, Overeem stunned Browne with a knee to the body, Browne went down to the canvas. Overeem jumped on top of him, unleashing a salvo of rights on Browne. Overeem kept nailing him knee, head combos, but somehow, Browne kept defending himself. Referee Mario Yamasaki was hesitant to call the fight because Browne was still fighting. The two returned to standing and Overeem kept pushing, nailing heavy strikes on Browne.
Despite the onslaught, Overeem started showing signs of fatigue, allowing Browne back into the fight. Browne started effectively blocking and countering, frustrating Overeem. Overeem kept pushing forward, but Browne started catching him with head kicks. Browne caught Overeem with a left kick, then a right. Overeem was pervasive and kept pushing. Finally, Browne caught him with one last leg kick to the head. In a flash KO, Overeem fell backwards on to the mat, Browne jumped on top of him, throwing two hammer fists to seal the fight. Yamasaki called the fight at 4:08 into the first round.
After the fight, when asked of his perseverance, Browne said to the Garden crowd; “This fight is for you, this fight is for Boston, and the people affected by the bombings. My heart goes out to you, I love you. This is a nation undivided right here. This city shows it!”
KO Victory for Browne at 4:08 in the First Round.
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (29-6-0) vs. Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara (27-5-0) — Bantamweight
Faber, known for his quick strikes and submissions took on Alcantara, a rising fighter in the UFC. Alcantara, according to UFC.com, is known for his ground game.
Alcantara was aggressive, taking Faber to the mat early. Alcantara dominated Feber on the ground, keeping Faber at bay for nearly all of the first.
Faber turned the tide late in the round after taking Alcantara down. With rapid strikes from the guard position, he regained control of the fight.
Faber picked up where he left off by promptly taking Alcantara down. Faber controlled Alcantara’s posture, effectively attacking from the top position. Faber maintained top position for the entire round, hitting Alcantara with heavy elbows and strikes.
Faber evaded Alcantara early in the round, before taking him down at the 3:00 mark. Faber used his ground game to seal the third and final round of the fight.
Unanimous Decision Victory for Urijah Faber after Three Rounds.
Matt “The Immortal” Brown (20-11-0) vs. Mike “Quicksand” Pyle (25-9-1) — Welterweight
Brown is a fighter known for his striking and conditioning (via UFC.com). Brown was the winner of the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Pyle is a fighter known for his striking. Pyle said before the fight, “We’re just gonna go in there and whale on each other until somebody gives up. Afterwards, maybe we’ll go have a beer or something, but until then, we’ve got jobs to do.”
Brown charged his opponent, putting constant pressure on Pyle. Pyle was caught by a right hand and a knee before falling to the canvas just 23 seconds in. Pyle was out cold, Brown jumped on him to finish the fight.
KO Victory for Brown 29 Seconds into the First Round.
Uriah “Prime Time” Hall (8-4-0) vs. John “Doomsday” Howard (21-8-0) – Middleweight
Boston’s Howard, known for his boxing (UFC.com) looked to out-grind Hall, who was a fighter on season seventeen of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Hall quickly took down Howard, establishing the ground game early, before returning to standing position. Both fighters exchanged, but Howard landed more strikes, including heavy leg kicks.
Howard used the clinch game to out-land Hall in Round Two. After a late takedown, Howard unleashed a furious combo on Hall just before the round ended.
Both fighters played to the crowd, including an insane sequence in the final seconds. Howard acknowledged the crowd before offering his glove to Hall. It looked as both fighters were ready to end the fight in an all-out slug fest. Hall tried a wheel-kick, but missed, Howard nailed him with a diving strike. The round ended with both fighters congratulating each other. The fight went to the judges, with Howard winning the fight by a very close split decision. (30-27, Howard; 29-28, Hall; 29-28 Howard).
Howard Wins via Split Decision.
Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (22-9-0) vs. Michael “The Menace” Johnson (14-8-0)
Lauzon, born in Brockton, MA opened up the main card looking for a win in front of his home crowd. Johnson, a fighter on season twelve of “The Ultimate Fighter” is known for his wrestling prowess and striking (UFC.com).
Johnson methodically picked Lauzon apart early on in the fight. Lauzon tried to establish ring control, but Johnson effectively countered Lauzon. Johnson nailed Lauzon with a hard left at 2:12 that sent him down, but Lauzon was quick to recover. That sequence turned the tide, as Johnson was at a clear advantage after one round.
Johnson maintained his frantic pace, with quick strikes early in the round. Lauzon started pushing midway through the round following a right hand combo, but Johnson answered back with a big combo of his own. Johnson maintained distance before scoring a takedown late in the round.
At a clear disadvantage after two rounds, Lauzon looked to change the pace. Johnson was much slower in the final round, but woke up at 3:34. Johnson nailed Lauzon with a heavy combo, followed by a knee to the body. A straight left staggered Lauzon, who was forced to clinch Johnson. Lauzon couldn’t solve Johnson in the final minutes, and the fight went to the judges.
Johnson Wins via Unanimous Decision.