Tracy Lee for CombatLifestyle.com
Complete results for the TUF 16 prelims on Fuel TV: James Head vs. Mike Pyle, Johnny Bedford vs. Marcos Vinicius, Rustam Khabilov vs. Vinc Pichel and Nick Catone vs. T.J. Waldburger.
What: The Ultimate Fighter 16 (TUF 16) Finale Results -- Fuel TV preliminary card
Where: The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
When: December 15, 2012
Head established his range right away with some lengthy, straight punches. He continued his momentum with a pressuring flurry of punches that closed with a heavy clinch knee and then, smelling blood, stayed on the trigger with more leather.
In a similar circumstance to his last fight with Josh Neer, Pyle, who looked to be in deep trouble and even potentially dazed, clinched up and fired off a counter-knee out of nowhere that crumpled Head to the canvas. In a comical moment of honesty, Pyle admitted in his post-fight interview that he was rocked by Head's initial knee and found it strange that he was suddenly thinking about Spongebob Squarepants.
Bedford came out slugging with a 1-2 and leaping knee that connected solidly, then followed it up with a double-leg takedown. He peeled off the guillotine counter of Vinicius, wheeled his head onto the fence and started chipping away with ground-and-pound. Vinicius was ultra-active from his guard and couldn't latch on any threatening submissions, but his endless cycle of attempts inspired Bedford to pull out and restart on the feet. The decision proved wise, as his opening flurry of punches dropped Vinicius, and Bedford quickly scurried to side control. Vinicius squirted out and negated Bedford's attempt to take his back.
Bedford took an accidental kick to the groin to open the 2nd and tore into Vinicius with a nasty right hand that canned him, then took an intelligent risk by unloading a heavy soccer kick that sealed the deal. It looked illegal in real time but turned out to land square in the body on the slow-mo replay.
Johnny Bedford defeats Marcos Vinicius by TKO (punch and body kick), Round 2.
This was a coming out party for Khabilov, a Russian Combat Sambo champion making his UFC premiere, that will be remembered for his vicious trifecta of belly-to-back suplexes. Khabilov clinched up quickly and slid under Pichel's over-hook to get the rear waist cinch. From there, he took Pichel for three consecutive rides with the belly-to-back throw, each increasing in intensity and violence: the first was nice looking but with average velocity, he really cranked Pichel skyward on the second and the third was reminiscent of Kevin Randleman's head-spiking suplex on Fedor Emelianenko in Pride, only Pichel couldn't recover from the impact.
Waldburger pushed Catone against the fence but Catone spun off and let his hands go. Waldburger was aggressive again in dropping levels for a double but Catone powered him down with the front headlock. Waldburger's scrambling was on-point and he re-engaged a clinch war while attacking his legs. Catone shifted his angle and tossed Waldburger over but again he was too slippery to hold down.
Catone slipped around to the rear waist lock and Waldburger used the classic kimura counter to shake him off, then liked the hold enough to drop back into guard to wrench it. Catone escaped and jack-hammered down a massive right hand. Waldburger, showing some pretty amazing improvements with his wrestling, pursued another single leg and then countered Catone when he tried to hit the switch.
In the 2nd, Catone flung out a high kick and Waldburger responded with a striking blitz that sat Catone down. Waldburger snared a guillotine when Catone was getting back up and fell back into guard, then transitioned into a triangle. Catone's trapped arm was out of position but he had a lapse in judgment in using his elbow to push down on Waldburger's chest; Waldburger tucked it in and constricted the hold, battering Catone with some short elbows after it was locked in. Referee Herb Dean did a good job of eyeballing the action and jumping in, as Catone turned out to be unconscious.
T.J. Waldburger defeats Nick Catone by submission (triangle choke), Round 2.