Our main man Luke Thomas is live in Denver watching the fights and we'll be posting his reports from the scene until the broadcast starts at which point I'll take over and live blog the show.
Luke has been detained by a car wreck on the way to the show (he was just a witness not a participant fortunately). We'll have his reports ASAP.
Here goes the live blogging of the broadcast. First up, I'm assuming is:
Houston Alexander vs James Irvin
Here we go! Irvin looks hopped up. Head is shaved and nicely waxed. Alexander gets a big buzz from the crowd, looks a little nervous. Ref Mazzagatti is smooth shaven for the match. Irvin lands the fastest KO ever! Oh my god. First right hand -- a superman punch --lands and KTFO's Alexander. Man. The cinderella story is over for Alexander after his 2nd straight really bad loss. Does this tie the fastest KO in UFC history at 8 seconds? Irvin invites Alexander to the parking lot to refight it. Not classy and Rogan says so.
Alexander says he has no memory of being punched but claims he was still concious. Wants to do it again, says "that's crap". Well I hope the rest of the fights are more fun than that.
Nate Diaz vs Kurt Pellegrino
Herb Dean is the ref. Pellegrino gets a quick single leg takedown and gets Nate's back. Diaz eating punches and trying to get up. Pellegrino swings to north-south and back to back control. Crowd chanting DIAZ DIAZ. Kurt puts Nate on his back, in the guard. Landing some shots from the top. Passes guard to side control. Batman is punishing Diaz in the beatdown position but a game Nate fights back to guard. Diaz certainly got his wish for tougher competition. Has a cut open on Nate's head. Diaz givea up his back and looks like he's out on his feet. Pellegrino has head control again, going for a d'arce. Diaz is struggling for a single and now has Kurt pushed against the cage standing. What a gamer! The round ends, I'd score it 10-8 for Pellegrino.
Round 2: Feeling each other out on the feet, Pellegrino gets an easy single leg then moves from 1/2 guard to full guard. Rogan is puzzled. Elbows and hammer fists from the top. Diaz trying to get a kimura. Kurt escapes. Nate looking for a guillotine, nothing, goes for an omaplata, nothing. The stand and Diaz gets a good judo throw against the fence but Pellegrino reverses. No Diaz is standing and Pellegrino gets a slam, Diaz has a triangle! What a bad mofo!!!!! Damn Nate Diaz is for real. He took an asswhipping in the first round and comes back to submit Pellegrino! Great performance. Diaz did some great celebrating between locking in the choke and getting the tap. This is a star-making performance in my book.
Tim Boetsch vs. Matt Hamill
Hammill is predicting that he'll win with his jiu jitsu. Interesting. Marcus Davis in Boetsch's corner. Crowd is definitely pro-Hamill. Ref stands them up. Boetsch doing well standing with kicks and dirty boxing. They're not doing much standing. Hamill looks a little gassed. Boetsch lands a big knee. Hamill firing back with punches. Another knee and leg kick from the barbarian. Decent exchanges. They're basically taking turns firing at each other, Hamill with punches, Boetsch with kicks and knees. I'd give it to Hamill 10-9 based on the takedown.
Hamill has a nasty cut to his lip from a knee. Hamill goes for a headkcik and falls, back to their feet, Boetsch lands a big right. Boetsch shoots for a single, Hamill stuffs him, punching his head from the top. Hamill gets his back. The Hammer is imposing a beatdown and gets the TKO. Nice win over a tough opponent. Boetsch really screwed up by shooting in on Hamill. He must've been gassed. Rogan calls Hamill's final position the "rape choke"....tasteless. Wow, that cut on Hamill's lip is NASTY!
If they show Al Roker on camera again, I'm filing an obscenity report with the FCC.
Thiago Alves vs. Karo Parisyan
Here comes the fight I'm personally most stoked about. Huge fan of both guys. Thiago lands a right jab before Karo gets the clinch and the takedown. Quick pass to side control. Karo gets mount. Thiago struggles back to 1/2 guard. Thiago stands up. Karo gets another clinch but Thiago escapes, back to their fight. Karo lands a left, wings in with a right and a high kcik. Thiago seems tentative. Karo's landing jabs. Thaigo lands a leg kick, Karo grabs it but Thiago pulls away. Karo gets a clinch and Thiago does a great job of avoiding the throws. Training with the judoka Ferguson paid off. Thiago firing with strikes. Karo's stand up form has improved a bunch. Thiago lands a body kick and a straight punch. Karo pushes Thaigo down against the fence but Thiago gets back to his feet. Hard round to score. Karo did really well to avoid getting hurt standing and even landed some decent punches. Thiago did a great job to avoid getting thrown from several clinches. I guess I'll go 10-9 Karo.
Round 2: Karo opens with a high kick. Thiago lands a jab and then a knee -- dropped to the floor. Mazzagatti with a quick stop? Karo is furious. I think that's a pretty lame call by the ref. Karo should've taken that fight against Fitch. Big win for Alves. I think a veteran and top-rated fighter like Karo has earned the right to weather a storm. and keep fighting until he's really out. I mean Herring would've beaten Big Nog if Mazzagatti had been the ref.
Anthony Johnson vs. Tom Speer: Rumble vs the Farm Boy. Huge reach advantage for Johnson. Johnson gets a good inside leg kick and dodges a shot. Right by Johnson and he stuffs a takedown, then a hard left, then a knee, and a head kick. DAMN! Major asswhipping by Anthony Johnson. Johnson really got screwed by having to fight Clementi on no notice last time. I expect big things from him in the welterweight division. Tough break for Speer. Speer's standup game was just not ready for Johnson, and once you're desperate for the take down you're pretty much screwed. Johnson is a HUGE welterweight. He's going to be giving people trouble in this division.
Gray Maynard vs. Frank Edgar Here comes Edgar/Maynard. I'm really looking forward to this one, I think it's much closer than most people seem to think it is. Ref Adam Martinez, a new kid on the block? The come out dancing. Edgar is avoiding Maynard's strikes. Edgar shoots, Maynard stuffs it. No one connecting yet. Edgar lands a combo. He's definitely sharper on the feet. Edgar controlling center of the ring. Maynard missing with uppercuts, lands a right. Edgar lands a combo and a head kick. Opens a cut on Gray. Maynard shoots, gets a take down. Edgar looking for a switch. Stands up, Gray looking for the suplex. Gray gets it back to the ground, in Edgar's guard. Edgar forces a scramble, Maynard had head control. Back to the feet. Edgar landing jabs. Maynard mostly missing. Tough to score. I'm tempted to go 10-10.
Round 2: Maynard winging punches and missing. Edgar drives in behind some straight punches. Edgar shoots after a flurry, gets stuffed. Gray with head control. Maynard going for a single leg. Gets it. Edgar backed against the fence, looking to stand. Maynard throws knees as Edgar stands and lands a right. Edgar landing a combo. He needs to let his hands go and keep it standing. Maynard lands a good left. Edgar chases with a flurry. Maynard answers with a hook. Maynard bleeding from the eye. Lands another hook. Edgar gets a takedown, to side control. Gray back to his feet. Edgar throws a high kick. Maynard lands a hook. Edgar adds a highkick to his combo, Gray gets a lovely double leg! Edgar going for a kimura, doesn't have position. Gray in 1/2 guard. time is running out as Edgar struggles for the submission but has nothing. Tough to score. Glad I'm not a judge!
Round 3: They exchange good rights to open. Gray shoots, Edgar is fighting it off. They're up against the fecne. Edgar is throwing combos. Back to center of the ring. Edgar goes for a single leg. Maynard fights it off and goes for a double. Gets the TD. Maynard's got the better wrestling and that could get him the win. Edgar back to his feet and Maynard SLAMS him. Working for mount. Edgar stands and gets SLAMMED again. Now Maynard has his back, can't get the hooks in. The Bully is climbing Edgar's back and is really sending a message in this round. Edgar escapes and fires a combo. He needs a KO now. Maynard gets another slam and gets the mount with 90 seconds left. Edgar fights to 1/2 guard. Maynard in side control. Edgar is tough as hell but Maynard is just the better wrestler and Edgar's edge standing wasn't enough to make that up. 10-8 round for the Bully. Another contender drops out of the chase. Maynard wins the UD. Glad I bet on him, wish I'd picked him.
Joe Lauzon vs. Kenny Florian God, spare me the Boston talk. I like both these guys but must they remind me of the Patriots? Lauzon gets a good pop from the crowd. J-Lau seems pumped for the battle of the bad really awful nicknames. KenFlo comes out with a slow jam to drop the tempo. Is this a prelude to the fight? Will J-Lau try to push the pace as KenFlo tries to keep it under control?
No BJ in JLau's corner. Ice cold stare down. here we go:
Herb Dean is the ref. Kenflo takes the center. JLau reclaims it. Flurries from Lauzon and a shoot, Ken FLo sprawls. JLau gets the takedown. Kenflo fires with elbows to the top of the head, Herb Deans stands them up and warnes Ken Flo for hitting back of the head. KenFlo tosses JLau down back up and Ken gets a single and back control. Florian is soooo aggressive. Lauzon is bleeding from the back of the head. KenFlo in sidecontrol, landing elbows. Lauzon gets it back to the feet, looking for a trip takedown, gets it. Ken Flo in guard. Lauzon to side control, KenFlo scrambling back to 1/2 guard. Lauzon looking for a leglock from the top, going for a heel hook. Can't get it. They're up. KenFlo cocks a knee doesn't fire it off. Florian shoots for a double, gets JLau's back, Lauzon fighting for wrist control. They struggle and Lauzon gets the takedown, Lauzon goes for another leg lock, can't get it. Ken on top pounding as the round ends. Good round! Too hard to score.
Round two: Florian opens with some kicks, throwing hooks too, gets the take down, passes to mount, Lauzon bucks as KenFlo pounds down, nothing landing clean. Lauzon throws up his legs and forces Kenflo to side control. Kenny is punching but nothign too hard. Back to mount. Lauzon stays calm, bucking and blocking, fights to 1/2 guard. Ken is still raining blows, back to mount. Florian lookin for a choke...back to pounding. He needs to finish, if Lauzon survives the momentum will be hard to regain. Florina is teeing off. Dean is very close. Dean stops the fight. Dominant performance by Florian against a very game Joe Lauzon.
Luke's reporting on the results of preliminary fights below. SPOILER WARNING.
Luke missed the first three fights so here are quick results:
Roman Mitichyan vs. George Sotiropoulos: Sotiropoulos by ref stoppage in 2.
Samy Schiavo vs. Clay Guida: Guida by TKO in the first.
Luke's first report:
Jeff Cox vs. Manvel Gamburyan: Manny wins in round 1. Lands harai goshi into side control. Cox scrambles, but Manny lands guillotine forcing Cox to tap at 1:41 of first round.
Marcus Aurelio vs. Ryan Roberts: Aurelio sticks Roberts with a crisp right hand. Roberts is rocked, Aurelio pounces. Roberts rolls and Aurelio granby rolls for a SUPER slick armbar. Roberts taps. 16 seconds into round one.
Josh Neer vs. Din Thomas: Neer wins round 1. Din lands better on feet, but Neer closes distance and gets takedown. Unloads vicious gnp. Din gets back to feet and lands his own takedown. Neer 10-9.
Round 2: Din is exhausted. Round starts with a slug fest. Neer gets takedown, but Din gets his back. Josh escapes. Neer lands another takedown with more groundNpound. Neer ends roundd with flurry. 10-9 Neer
Round 3: More of the same. Neer takes him down and absolutely unloads with groundNpound. Neer cuts Din and Herb Dean has the cut checked. Doctor lets it go. Round ends with Neer letting Din up to have a 15 second slugfest. 10-9 Neer. I have it 30-27 and so do judges. Neer wins same score and earns unanimous decision.