Start off your evening as anyone reputable adult would: engaging in enlightening discussion as top-level hand-to-hand combat ensues in the cage.
We shall rendezvous back here at 6:30 p.m. ET to soak in the opening duo of bouts on Facebook followed by the FX channel's 8:00 p.m. ET broadcast of the preliminary card for tonight's UFC 155 event. The main card, which takes place tonight (December 29, 2012) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, is topped off by a do-over between UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and alpha-contender Cain Velasquez. The heavyweight title bout lies among the 5 total matches slated for the main pay-per-view broadcast at 10:00 p.m. ET.
This post will serve as the discussion point for both echelons of the UFC 155 preliminary card, the details of which follow below.
Evening, folks. Dallas here. We are live (but a bit choppy) on the Facebook stream, and it is my charge to provide live play by play as the fights progress. Please find the results in reverse chronological order below.
Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland
R1: We start out with some good ol' boxing -- Wineland knifes in and out with combinations while Pickett cuts angles and bobs in with his. Wineland is the first to land a thumper. Pickett nearly clobbers him with a charging right hook. Wineland drums on Pickett's chin again with two clean punches that cause Pickett to stagger.
He recovers quickly and keeps throwing but the pace is all Wineland. Wineland drills him with another right that wobbles Pickett's knees, then another as soon as he stands back up. Pickett, not digging the exchanges, shoots a double that Wineland casually wards off. Wineland's punches are long and lightning fast. Pickett quickly assumes the role of the brawler as Wineland's just got too much finesse. Pickett getting wilder and missing by a greater margin. 10-8 Wineland for momentarily rocking Pickett, who landed little of note, 4-5 times in the round.
R2: Wineland rips another right hand through. Pickett's counters are just a hair short and late. Wineland stabs a right hand and circles right to evade Pickett's flurry. Pickett lands a hard low kick. Pickett wings a looping overhand with no luck. Wineland starting to prod with a busy jab to enforce his range. Both are throwing hard and often but neither is separating themselves in the round.
Wineland connects on a shovel punch, then a nice right late in the round. Wineland has the better angles and movement but, at the end of the day, they both landed at a fairly even pace. 10-10.
R3: Wineland goes downstairs with a jab but holds his ground with his right hand. Pickett lands a decent knee to the body at close range. Wineland circles right and punches right again, which keeps catching Pickett off guard. Wineland circles left this time and gets caught with a Pickett right hook. Low kick from Pickett. Nice slip and left hook from Pickett. Wineland still bouncing jabs through while retreating.
Clean 1-2 counter from Wineland on a charging Pickett combination. Right hand for Wineland. Pickett goes to the body with a left hook that's countered by a Wineland right hook upstairs. Snapping 1-2's from Wineland in reverse as Pickett comes forward swinging. 10-9 Wineland, for a 30-27 on my card.
- One judge curiously has it 29-28 Pickett, the sensible pair see it 30-27 for Eddie Wineland, who defeats Brad Pickett by split decision.
Byron Bloodworth vs. Erik Perez
R1: Bloodworth comes hard with right hands early. Perez clinches up and Bloodworth switches to a smattering of knees. Perez cracks him with a nice horizontal elbow with an underhook, then bangs left hands to the body in the 50-50 clinch. Bloodworth tries to switch to the Thai plum but it leaves his lower body open for a nasty knee that puts him down. Perez grinds his forearm into Bloodworth's face to create space and punch. He breaks the posture control and thwacks down a series of elbows, then one to the body.
Busy ground and pound from Perez, who has Bloodworth's head jammed on the cage. He postures up and levels more punishment. Another elbow to the sternum, then two diagonal elbows that open Bloodworth up. The ref steps in to wave it off.
- Erik Perez defeats Byron Bloodworth by TKO (punches), Round 1.
Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard
R1: Melvin snaps a right low kick. Whiffs on the next but connects on a left inside low kick. Varner might have looked to drop levels after his lead right hand but a rigid Guillard combo backs him off. Varner's left high kick is blocked. Guillard charges with a right uppercut and left hook, then backs off and lands another cracking leg kick. Then another, none of which Varner is checking.
Varner misses on a 1-2; Melvin cracks another low kick. Guillard comes in wild and Varner almost clips him with a counter overhand right. Varner flings a left-right and shoots but Melvin stuffs it easily and adds a low kick for good measure. Varner just misses an overhand and left but grazes a follow-up overhand, lands a left to the body and scores a takedown, trying to secure a guillotine as the horn sounds. 10-9 Varner, though not by much.
R2: Varner secures an early takedown after enduring a few more leg kicks, and takes Guillard's back while he's getting back to his feet. He's either too high or without enough control, as Guillard dips his head down and dumps him off. Guillard goes high with his next kick and it looks to land flush; Varner just blinks it off.
Varner starting to turn up the heat on his combos but most are wild and not connecting; one or two in his last wide combination perhaps. Varner hits another takedown but Melvin pops right back up and gets the better end of a combination. Varner connects cleanly on a hard, lunging right hand. They exchange left kicks and Varner's lands low -- we pause for a junk check. Varner vaults forward with a leaping right-left combo that misses. Varner was busy but I saw Melvin slip and dodge the vast majority: 10-9 Guillard.
R3: Varner comes out guns blazing and then switches to a low single that he can't complete. He gathers himself and launches a double and gets it, flurrying short punches to Guillard's head as he gets up. Varner drops back for a loose guillotine, then switches to a Peruvian Necktie attempt. Nothing doing. Melvin on top; he ejects and lands a stiff knee to the body. Varner nails another power double and seems to have that option whenever he wants it.
Guillard again gives up his back in order to stand up and shakes Varner off. Guillard plants for a 1-2 and Varner times it perfectly for another double. Shockingly, Guillard spins into an armbar; Varner defends but Guillard uses it to sweep and takes top position. Varner is too slippery and gets to a knee and hits the switch to retake top position. Guillard scoots free and plants a monster knee to Varner's body during his next takedown attempt. Some confusing sequence occurs where Guillard is off-center on Varner's back and Varner falls onto his butt, nearly spiking Guillard's head. 10-9 Varner for a 29-28 count on my card. I'm interested to see how the judges score this one.
- A crazy score for a crazy fight: one judge has it 30-27 for Guillard and the other two have it the same for Jamie Varner, who defeats Melvin Guillard by split decision.
Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury
R1: Damn ... Jury's a huge lightweight. He throws a high front kick that Johnson counters with a stiff left. Johnson busy with inside low kicks and straight lefts. Jury pawing with the jab and circling left, seeking a home for his right hand. Crowd boos mysteriously. Jury times a duck-under takedown and lands in half guard. Nicely done -- Johnson's been tough to take down. Johnson tries to hip escape but Jury uses his half guard as a hook and gets the side-ride position. Johnson angles to take a knee and Jury pushes his head down and crams a half-dozen solid punches to the head.
Johnson falls onto his back to escape the barrage. Jury cradles a leg and then switches to more ground and pound, this time punches and elbows, when Johnson moves to defend. Jury trapping the far-side arm, perhaps in search of a kimura. Jury, brilliantly, once again counters Johnson's counter by slipping to side control when Johnson defends the kimura, then taking his back while firing more punches 'til the bell. I'm calling that a 10-8 round because it went well beyond your average 10-9 round.
R2: An even first minute draws more booing from the restless crowd. Jury throws a big head kick that Johnson blocks. They joust back and forth, Johnson perhaps tentative to throw for fear of the takedown. And that's what comes halfway through the round, as Jury catches his kick and plants him on the floor. Johnson fighting for wrist control; Jury postures up and hammers down sharp left elbows.
Johnson claps his hands with two underhooks and Jury short-slams on the canvas. Johnson doing a much better job of controlling the wrists and posture but his hips are static and Jury is just shaking off the control and throwing ground strikes in spaced intervals. 10-9 Jury.
R3: Johnson comes with a purpose, winging straight lefts and right hooks aggressively. Jury clinches up to stifle the pressure and quickly hits a slick trip with less than a minute off the clock. Jury starts in half guard and sneaks his trapped leg out to pass to side control. Johnson regains half but eats an elbow for his efforts. Jury goes knee on belly and threatens to mount; still one step ahead, he clubs a few rugged elbows to Johnson's head as he's regaining half guard.
Jury swarms Johnson with alternating surges of strikes and positional advances in a beautiful display of ground prowess. Johnson pursues a guillotine and Jury shakes it off and slices down more punches and elbows. Massive elbows from Jury now as Johnson is trapped against the cage and taking a beating. Johnson stands back up just as the bell rings. 10-8 Jury, turning my card to a dominant 30-25 for Jury.
- The judges have it 30-27 across the board for Myles Jury, who defeats Michael Johnson by unanimous decision.
Facebook Preliminary Card Results:
Todd Duffee vs. Phil DeFries
R1: Duffee comes out gangbusters with punches, a crippling low kick and more heaters that have DeFries in fast reverse. DeFries shows good gameness by shooting a takedown on Duffee and then picking the ankle to secure it. Duffee gets back up but eats a steady diet of short right hands from DeFries on the way. In open space, Duffee cracks DeFries with an uppercut that stuns him, then follows up with a succession of caveman right hands that force the referee to step in and wave it off.
- Todd Duffee defeats Phil DeFries by TKO (punches), Round 1.
Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway
R1: Holloway starts busy with in and out movement, jabs and front kicks. Garcia looks to 1-2 counter and misses a high kick but connects on a low kick. Garcia looking surprisingly tight and straight with his punches. Holloway snaps a front kick and then lands a spinning back kick to the body. Holloway lunges in with odd timing and pegs Garcia with a plunging right hand that drops him for a second. Holloway using the front kick like a jab from the fringe. He switches up and cracks a hard low kick followed by an overhand right.
Garcia answers with a leg kick and then stabs a left hand to the body. Holloway pings him with a short left hook. Garcia turning up the heat now and lands a stiff 1-2 that wobbles Holloway a bit. Holloway lands another spinning back kick downstairs. Garcia opening up with punches, usually 1-2's but with an occasional uppercut mixed in, but eats another short left hook counter and back-kick to the body. Garcia plugs Holloway with consecutive 1-2's and puts him in retreat mode to close the round. Classic case of a higher volume of light power shots versus Garcia's more effective spurts. 10-9 Garcia for the more meaningful offense.
R2: Another spinning back kick to open the 2nd for Holloway. Garcia triples up his jab trying to close range but Holloway stays out of reach. Holloway tags him with two short lefts and a follow up right that grazes. Holloway goes with a left hook to the body followed by a right low kick. Holloway's jab is there but he's not throwing it often enough. They tie up and Garcia scoops Holloway off his feet for a high-rise double.
Holloway started to secure the guillotine during the attempt and wrenches it hard, forcing Garcia to back out; they reset on the feet. Holloway nearly connects on a monster right hook. Holloway's steady barrage is winning out without any monumental bursts from Garcia, whose hands are dropping lower by the minute. Holloway hammers a nice retreating right hook. Garcia getting wider with his punches while Holloway stays precise. Holloway lands a knee to the body from the clinch and Garcia responds with a charging right elbow at the bell. 10-9 Holloway.
R3: This has all the makings of an infamous Leonard Garcia decision going into the 3rd. Holloway circling out left with hooks while Garcia wades into him with meat-hooks. Holloway spears a pair of quick right hands through. Nice power hook to the body by Garcia. It's a carnival of unending 1-2's from Garcia; it's ugly, but plenty land and Holloway can only sneak in one clean counter. Garcia pushes him on the cage and wills his way to a takedown. Holloway stays active and works his way back up, but is clearly out of wind.
Garcia walking right into Holloway's wheelhouse with his hands down and chucking leather. Holloway attempts a Capoeira kick in the center of the cage but Garcia takes him down; it's almost right into a triangle, and Garcia lifts him up for the slam. 10-9 Garcia. I have it a 29-29 draw.
- One judge has it 29-28 Garcia but the other two have it the same for Max Holloway, who defeats Leonard Garcia by split decision.
Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga
R1: Cariaso swivels for a high kick but doesn't spring it. Then he does, but it's blocked. Morago goes downstairs with a right and just avoids Cariaso's counter. Morago catches an outside low kick and plants a hard punch on the kisser. Moraga unloads a monster high kick that whiffs, then scores a nice double leg but lets Cariaso get right back up. Cariaso's left high kick is blocked. Morago looking to sting counters as Cariaso leads and is finding the mark.
He charges into a clinch and pushes Cariaso on the cage; Cariaso circles off and throws a pair of kicks that are blocked. Now one sneaks through to the body. He's countered by a Morago right hand on the next attempt, then another Morago straight slips in. Cariaso finds the mark with an overhand left and continues to throw blocked kicks. I had Moraga ahead by a hair but Cariaso's shifted the momentum back to center at the end. 10-10.
R2: They meet in the center and exchange a few combinations, both landing moderately and evenly. Cariaso tenderizing Moraga's right arm from shield blocking the cascade of mid-level kicks. Cariaso springs forward to clinch up and Moraga reverses with an underhook and uses it to steer Cariaso onto the fence. Cariaso goes single collar tie and bangs some knees to the body and Moraga pieces together and knee and elbow combination on the break.
They tangle up in the center and Moraga looks to pursue a standing arm-triangle that Cariaso slips out of. Cariaso finally goes high with his kick and nearly lands a monster. After a short lull, Cariaso does it again but Moraga just manages to deflect it. Moraga off-balances Cariaso, who goes to his back but immediately repels Moraga with a busy and active set of hips. Cariaso stands back up and, surprisingly, hits a trip with the bodylock on the D1 wrestler to close the 2nd frame. 10-9 Cariaso.
R3: Cariaso goes back to the kicks while Moraga turns up the pressure and output of his strikes. In a clinch encounter, Moraga circles off the cage and nails a front head lock on Cariaso that he shifts into an arm-in guillotine with the bicep grip, and the modified guillotine forces the tapout.
- John Moraga defeats Chris Cariaso by submission (modified guillotine), Round 3.