Beyond the Octagon: UFC vet Nam Phan rebounds, plus Akihiro Gono, Hideo Tokoro, and more

Photo by Paolo Tabuena

Lots of action from around the world this weekend, featuring UFC, PRIDE, and Strikeforce veterans.

This past weekend featured an array of solid of regional fights, beginning with the ubiquitous Brett Rogers's campaign through the Eastern European circuit.

Rogers was headlining Moscow's Fight Nights: Battle 16 where he squared off with Magomed Malikov. Rogers, who was TKO'd in his last outing, seemed wary of letting his guard down against the heavy-handed Malikov and rather than throw hands he established a steady program of kicks to the legs and body that should've given him the edge in a close, tense Round 1. It was more of the same to start the second, with Malikov leaping forward with power punches and Rogers keeping him at bay with jabs and kicks. The fight came to a sudden close after Malikov, throwing a rare kick, audibly snapped his own leg at the lower shin, giving Rogers the TKO victory. Malikov, who has wins over Aleksander Emelianenko and Jeff Monson, sees his record fall to 7-3-0. Rogers, 2-2 this year, improves to 16-8-0, 1NC.

Rogers vs. Malikvo can be seen here. Action starts at 3:55.

Also on the card, surging heavyweight Konstantin Erokhin rode a six-fight win streak into his bout with Michal Andryszak. In the opening minute, Erokhin countered a flurry from Andryszak, stunning him with a short left before following him to the mat with hammerfists for the TKO win. Andryszak's win streak comes to a close at four and his record falls to 12-4-0, 1NC. Erokhin, meanwhile, who had beaten Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Brett Rogers prior to this bout, improves to 7-1-0.

Erokhin vs. Andryszak is here.

And on Saturday, at Victorium MMA: Episode 3 in Virginia, TUF veteran Dustin Pague (11-10-0, 1-5 UFC) stumbled in his first fight since he was released from the UFC last fall. The loss came via third-round submission to D'Juan Owens (9-7-1).

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Daniel Acacio (30-16-0, 2-1 PRIDE) took on Sergio Souza (12-5-0) in the co-main event of The Hill Fighters 2. Acacio's clear edge in experience would fail to see him to victory, as a punch from Souza early in the second brought the fight to an end. Souza has now won two straight. Acacio, meanwhile, suffers his third straight loss; he hasn't faced such a slump in nearly eight years, and it's only the second time in his lengthy career that he's been on such a losing streak. The first one came at the hands of Akihiro Gono, then Ryo Kawamura, and Delson Heleno.

Speaking of Gono...

In the night's main event, "The Magic Man" Akihiro Gono (34-19-8, 1-2 UFC, 6-2 PRIDE) continued his career resurgence, albeit with some unexpected difficulty. Against heavy underdog Andre de Jesus (5-8-0), Gono managed a split-decision victory. He's 2-0 this year.

Finally, at Tokyo, Japan's GRANDSLAM: Way of the Cage, Nam Phan (19-13-0, 2-6 UFC) pulled himself out of a three-fight skid with a first-round TKO victory of Kenichi Ito (12-12-8). Phan, a semifinalist on TUF 12, was the victim of some sketchy judging in the first half of his UFC career. However, an apparent decline from 2012-13 would yield up three increasingly definitive losses and see Phan exit the the promotion. The fight this weekend is the first Phan's had outside the UFC in four years.

And in the night's main event, consummate action fighter and heavy favorite Hideo Tokoro (32-27-2, 6-7 Dream, 5-5-1 K-1:HERO'S) fell early in the second round to the punches of the unheralded Victor Henry (7-1-0). The win is easily Henry's biggest to date. Tokoro, meanwhile, is 2-4 in his last six and this weekend's loss marks his twelfth by (T)KO. Though this isn't unprecedented territory for the up-and-down Tokoro, at 36 years old it's hard to believe that the former Dream tournament champion can continue competing for much longer.

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