The UFC Sydney preliminary bouts have just concluded, as Ryan Benoit laid out Ashkan Mokhtarian with a gnarly 3rd round head kick to finish off the preliminary card. Nik Lentz pulled off a stellar upset with a 2nd round Guillotine choke of former teammate Will Brooks. Lentz went on to offer up $50,000 to any American Top Team member that thinks they can beat him. UFC heavyweight newcomer Tai Tuivasa made his promotional debut in emphatic fashion, as the 24 year old starched Rashad Coulter with a massive flying knee knockout at 4:35 of the opening round. Frank Camacho picked up a hard fought split decision over Damien Brown, in what would turn into a crazy slobberknocker for the ages.
Ryan Benoit Ashkan Mokhtarian : Flyweight
Benoit took the center of the cage as Mokhtarian played the outside to open the bout. Mokhtarian landed the 1st meaningful strike as he cracked Benoit with a massive left hand, but closed the distance which seemed to give his opponent a chance to recover. Benoit would strike his way back into the fight, as Mokhtarian threw some rather wild punches.
The television announcer stated that in between rounds, Benoit said he broke his hand. Benoit ignored his fractured hand, and continued to get the better of the striking exchanges. Mokhtarian continued to throw his punches with bad intentions, and started mixing in some kicks to boot. Mokhtarian began scoring more down the stretch as he listened to his corner while they called out combinations. Benoit went running after his foe out of frustration, as he struggled to cut off the cage.
The flyweights continued to trade on the feet, with Mokhtarian utilizing his footwork to dance around on the outside, not giving Benoit a chance to set his feet. Just as it appeared as though Mokhtarian was in his groove, Benoit cut him off with a blazing head kick that crumpled Mokhtarian, and a follow up strike ensured that he was out.
Check out this awesome head kick finish from Ryan Benoit:
Nik Lentz def. Will Brooks by Submission (Guillotine) at 2:05 of round 2: Lightweight
These two known grapplers stood in front of one another, trading technique for technique, with Lentz showing signs of wear inside of the opening minute. It was Brooks who shot in first to achieve a takedown, but Lentz locked up a Guillotine choke that he used to scramble back to his feet. Lentz would apply the pressure in the closing minute of the 1st round, as he held Brooks against the cage and softened him up with knees to the legs.
The lightweights continued to throw leather to open up the 2nd stanza, with Brooks landing more often as Lentz pressured forward. Brooks again landed a takedown, but Lentz was waiting for him with a gorgeous Guillotine, and this time had it air tight. Brooks tried to roll out of it like he did in the 1st round, but Lentz stuck with it, rolled with his opponent, and Brooks was forced to tap out.
Check out Lentz’ slick Guillotine submission of Brooks:
Tai Tuivasa def. Rashad Coulter by KO (Flying Knee) at 4:35 of round 1: Heavyweight
Coulter wasted no time in shoving his opponent up against the cage, but Tuivasa quickly reversed the position. A failed lateral drop from Tuivasa gave Coulter the top position momentarily, but Tuivasa quickly scrambled back to his feet. Tuivasa found some success on his feet, launching solo strikes in his opponent’s direction, mixing in leg kicks and punches. After a massive leg kick buckled his opposition, Tuivasa landed a spectacular flying knee that sent Coulter crashing to the canvas, already unconscious. What a UFC debut!
Check out this massive flying knee KO from Tai Tuivasa:
Hey look, Bam Bam has some mic skills to boot:
Frank Camacho def. Damien Brown by Split Decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29): Lightweight
Camacho came out setting up his hooks with feints, prompting Brown to close the distance. Brown stuck with the takedown, briefly securing a few, but ate some Travis Browne elbows in the process. Brown would go on to take his opponent’s back, and locked up a pretty tight RNC, but Camacho hung in there and escaped.
The lightweights stood in front of each other, trading strikes with Camacho clearly getting the better of the exchanges. Brown would land some clean punches of his own, but the power discrepancy was evident as Brown was physically moved anytime Camacho landed a punch.
The warriors hugged it out to start the final round, and Brown landed a sneaky elbow once the action kicked off. The slugfest continued as each lightweight continued to land clean punches, with Brown landing more but Camacho landing harder. Camacho began to rip the body with vicious hooks, and then went upstairs with punches in bunches as Brown backed up. These gladiators continued to throw caution to the wind, as they discarded their defense, and simply let the leather fly. Holy cow this was fun! What heart! What chins! What action!
Check out some of the action from this incredible slobberknocker:
These warriors shared a moment at the end of the 2nd stanza:
*It should be noted that Camacho missed weight by 4 pounds.
Fight Pass Prelims:
Nadia Kassem def. Alex Chambers by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27 x 2): Strawweight
Kassem looked to get her striking going early in the 1st round, but Chambers successfully closed the distance and took the fight tot he ground. Kassem attacked a Heel Hook from her back, landing strikes in the process. Chambers worked her way out of danger, and made a home in the top of half guard for the final minute of the round.
Kassem again had her strikes landing early, but Chambers ducked under and closed the distance. Chambers would eat a big knee to the midsection that led to fight returning to open space, where kassem continued to let her combinations go. Chambers managed to catch one of her opponent’s kicks to find top position, but found herself in a Kassem Triangle. Chambers hung tough as Kassem transitioned back and forth from Armbar to Triangle. Kassem would finish the round in the dominant position, landing some descent ground strikes.
The punches and kicks of Kassem were ample to open up the final round, but Chambers was able to score a takedown once again. Kassem returned to the Heel Hook that she attempted in the 1st round, and used the opportunity to find the dominant position, complete with ground strikes. Chambers battled her way back to her feet, but ate a clean head kick for her troubles. Kassem turned up the heat down the stretch, landing strong knees to the body.
*It should be noted that Kassem missed weight by 4 pounds.
Eric Shelton def. Jenel Lausa by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25): Flyweight
Shelton took the center of the Octagon looking to strike, but Lausa ducked under and scored a double leg takedown. Shelton would remain safe and scramble back to his feet to secure a takedown of his own. This time, it was Lausa who scrambled back to his feet, but Shelton blasted through with a double leg, and held the top position as the opening round came to a close.
Shelton pressed forward behind his punches, and then followed up with a takedown that led to full mount, and ultimately the back. Lausa managed to claim half guard, but ate a series of punches, elbows, and forearms for his trouble. Lausa scrambled back to his feet, but jumped on a Guillotine in which Shelton quickly popped his head out of harms way. Shelton got busy from the top, racking up some solid ground strikes before the buzzer sounded.
Shelton let his hands go right off the bat to start the final round, and realized a takedown once he had his opponent backed up against the cage. Some descent ground strikes landed for Shelton from the full guard of his opposition, as Lausa offered up very little from his back. To put an exclamation point on the fight, Shelton landed a crisp right hand that briefly dropped Lausa in the final moments of the fight.
Check out this flyweight action:
Adam Wieczorek def. Anthony Hamilton by Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3): Heavyweight
Hamilton was 1st to close the distance, and managed to get Wieczorek on his back before transitioning to side control. Wieczorek struggled to return to his feet, as Hamilton’s top pressure was constant. Hamilton allowed his opponent to return to his feet in the remaining 45 seconds of the opening round, but nothing came of it.
Wieczorek found top position off the strength of a head kick to jump start the second frame. Hamilton was able to remain relatively safe from his back, and made his way back to his feet when Wieczorek attempted to pass. Wieczorek spent the rest of the round defending Hamilton’s takedown attempts. The big men appeared to be a bit fatigued to begin the final round, going single strike for single strike on the feet. Hamilton searched for the takedown down the stretch, but Wieczorek did a superb job of remaining vertical.
Welcome to the UFC, Adam Wieczorek: