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Beyond the Octagon: UFC vets Curran, Camozzi, Voelker, and Spohn in the cage

MMA ironman Jeff Curran returns from an abbreviated retirement, plus UFC vets Chris Camozzi, Bobby Voelker, and Dan Spohn battle their way up the comeback trail.

"In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face." -Diogenes
"In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face." -Diogenes

MMA has a funny way of pulling back in those fighters who'd previously walked away from competition. Some combination of post-loss doldrums, the fluctuating commercial fortunes of the sport, and the intrinsic qualities of the fighters themselves leads to mixed martial artists swearing off the ring only to return a year or two later, and sometimes less.

The latest to flirt with retirement is Jeff Curran (36-17-1), whose MMA career has seen the former WEC title challenger fight for the UFC, PRIDE, the IFL, and Strikeforce. Curran announced the close of his career in 2013 following a split-decision loss to Pedro Munhoz. Last Friday, however, "The Big Frog" once again strapped on the gloves for a fight at RFA 24. Unfortunately, though, Curran's co-main event bout with Melvin Blumer (12-2-0) would make for a bitter return. The typically durable Curran found himself finished with only seconds before the end of Round 1 when, as the pair flurried to close out the frame, Blumer landed a short backfist that sent Curran falling face-first to the mat. Two follow-up punches to the dazed UFC veteran sealed the deal. The KO loss is Curran's first in over ten years and only the third in his fifteen-year career.

Blumer is undefeated in six. Curran, who's faced the likes of Joseph Benavidez, Ivan Menjivar, "Kid" Yamamoto, Matt Serra, Wagnney Fabiano, and Raphael Assuncao (having beaten the latter two), is 1-4 in his last five.

Highlights from RFA 24 are here. Blumer vs. Curran is at 0:58.

Also on Friday, former TUF 19 hopeful Dan Spohn (10-4, 0-1 UFC) returned to the cage for a bout with Marcus Finch (8-9-0) in the main event of Absolute Cage Fighting. Spohn seemed to be one of the front-runners of TUF 19's light-heavyweight field, but he wound up falling to Matt Van Buren in the semi-finals. A subsequent, upset loss to Patrick Walsh in the show's finale would put an end to his first UFC campaign. After last Friday's bout, however, Spohn remains undefeated, having put Finch away with strikes in the third round. He's 2-0 since his release from the UFC last summer.

Meanwhile, at Prize FC 8, Chris Camozzi successfully maintained his own post-UFC winning streak and defended his middleweight title to boot after opponent Wes Swofford (10-6-0) suffered a first-round leg injury, resulting in a TKO victory for the UFC vet. Camozzi, who has won two straight since he was released from the UFC last September on the heels of a four-fight skid, improves his overall record to 21-9-0.

And on Saturday, brawler of note Bobby Voelker (26-12, 0-4 UFC, 4-1 Strikeforce) took to the cage against Justin Guthrie (17-8-0) in the main event of Kansas City, Missouri's Shamrock FC. After a reportedly tough first round during which Voelker found himself on the receiving end of some gash-inducing ground-and-pound, Voelker bouncd back and established his striking game, and by Round 3 he was able to find the seventeenth (T)KO of his career. Voelker is 2-0 since his release from the UFC last June.

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