As the UFC put on its latest big network TV offering, many of the organization's former fighters took to the rings and cages of regional promotions all around the world, making for a busy weekend in MMA action. Here, then, are the big-name results from the sport's small shows...
Last Friday, at Final Fight Championship 18 in Slovenia, former UFC light-heavyweight Igor Pokrajac (26-12-1NC, 4-7-1NC UFC) returned to the regional scene, taking his first fight outside the Octagon in six years and a day. He moved up to heavyweight for the bout, taking on Greek novice Archontis Taxiarchis (0-2-0), predictably putting Taxiarchis away with strikes in the first. With this latest victory, Pokrajac snaps a three-year, five-fight slump.
And on Saturday, in the main event of Minnesota's O-Town Throwdown II, the once and future YAMMA Pit Fighting champion Travis Wiuff (74-20, 4-2 Bellator, 1-2 Sengoku, 0-1 PRIDE, 0-1 UFC) took to the cage for his first bout of 2015 against Kevin Asplund (16-10, 0-1 Bellator). Wiuff employed his tried-and-true arsenal of takedowns and ground-and-pound throughout the fight, eventually pinning Asplund to the cage wall and putting him away for good in Round 3. Wiuff halts a two fight losing streak, while Asplund, who won fifteen straight bouts between 2003 and 2011, is now 1-9 in the last three years.
Footage of Wiuff's fight-ending sequence can be seen here.
Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, in the main event of Arena Tour 5, former UFC middleweights Maiquel Falcao 34-7-1NC, 1-0 UFC, 3-1 Bellator) and Jesse Taylor (27-12, 0-1 UFC, 1-0 Dream, 0-2 Strikeforce, 1-1 WSOF) squared off. Coincidentally, both Taylor and Falcao saw opportunities in the UFC go up in smoke due to personal behavior--for Taylor, he lost his spot in the TUF 7 finals against Amir Sadollah after security footage revealed a modest rampage roundabout Las Vegas, while Falcao was cut after the discovery that he'd been charged with the assault of a woman. Both, also, have found stretches of success outside the UFC, with Falcao running through one of Bellator's last middleweight tournaments, and Taylor stringing together lengthy win-streaks composed of victories over the likes of Chris Camozzi, Murilo Bustamante, Denis Kang, Dylan Andrews, Kendall Grove, and Elvis Mutapcic.
Desite his appreciable experience, however, Taylor would appear rather wound-up and nervous in Saturday's bout, diving for an early takedown, which Falcao handily sprawled on. It was rinse-and-repeat for a few minutes, and eventually Taylor's predictable game plan caught up with him. Mid-way through Round 1, he again dropped for a double leg, only to find himself in a fight-ending guillotine choke. Taylor tastes defeat for the third time in a row, making for the longest losing streak of his career. Falcao has won two straight and improves to 3-2 since his release from Bellator.
Falcao vs. Taylor can be watched here. Action at 7:40.
And at Fury FC 5 out of San Antonio, Texas, would-be UFC heavyweight Richard Odoms (9-2-0) improved to 1-1 since his cancelled debut in the Octagon, taking a split-decision over Jeremy Hardy (2-1-0). This, after suffering a 25-second KO at the hands of Konstantin Erokhin last October.
UFC vet Brock Jardine (11-5, 0-2 UFC) also found success last weekend, ending Eric Wahlin's night with a kick to the head in Round 1. Jardine improves to 2-2 since the 2013 submission loss to Kenny Robertson (an exceptional kneebar) that precipitated his UFC release. Wahlin falls to 7-3-0 overall.
And finally, Carina Damm (22-12, 0-1 Strikeforce) fought this past weekend, taking on Marciea Allen (4-2-0) in the co-main event of Dakota FC: Spring Brawl 2015.
Damm, who once went by the moniker "Beauty but the Beast" (which I insist is one of the pound-for-pound greatest nicknames of all time) but now goes by "Barbie" (barf), and who has the dubious honor of being the first woman to ever test positive for steroids, once ranked among the best of the women's bantamweight division, having topped Vanessa Porto, Miku Matsumoto, and Jessica Aguilar in the first half of her career. She's been rather less successful in recent years, though, having been unable to beat an opponent with an appreciable (let alone winning) record in some time.
Damm would remain in her slump on Saturday, submitting to an armbar from Allen late in Round 1. She's now lost two in a row. For Allen, the fight marks a successful rebound from her TKO loss to Ashlee Evans-Smith last June.
Allen vs. Damm can be seen here. Fight starts at 5:45.