Saturday marked the UFC's return to the UK for 2013 with UFC On Fuel TV 7. They last visited the area in September 2012 when Stefan Struve knocked out Stipe Miocic at Fuel 5. Yesterday's event took place at the Wembley Arena in London, England. The show got off to a slow start with five of the six preliminary fights going to decision.
Terry Etim (15-5) vs. Renee Forte (8-2)
Topping off the prelims on Facebook, Etim made his first return to the Octagon since getting KO'd by an Edson Barboza spinning back kick over a year prior. Throughout his 15 minute bout with Forte, Etim looked a step behind. Forte hurt him in the second round with a big punch, but was not able to get the finish. After the final bell sounded, Forte took home the unanimous decision.
This was Forte's second fight in the Octagon and earned him his first ever UFC victory. Etim is a solid name to have on his resume, but he'll need a couple more wins against the lower tier of the Lightweight division before he starts moving up the ranks. The loss dropped Etim's UFC record to 7-5 and marks the second time he's lost consecutive fights in the promotion. The UFC seems to like him so I'm sure he'll get a chance to pick up a win against a low quality opponent in his next fight.
Paul Sass (13-2) vs. Danny Castillo (15-5)
Going into this fight, many predicted a quick and easy victory for the Lightweight master of the triangle Paul Sass. Early in the first round, it looked like that was exactly what would happen. However, Castillo successfully defended Sass's multitude of submission attempts while countering with ground and pound. After that first round, the last ten minutes were all Castillo. He repeatedly dove into Sass's guard and punished him from top position. When the fight ended he was awarded the unanimous decision.
Coming off a devastating KO loss to Michael Johnson in his last fight, Castillo needed this win to get back on track. He's now 5-2 in the UFC. Paul Sass dropped to 3-2 as a UFC fighter with this loss. His offensive arsenal may be limited, but I have little doubt that he'll get back to his winning ways in his next bout.
Andy Ogle (9-2) vs. Josh Grispi (14-5)
After a triangle scare in the first round, this Featherweight fight was all Ogle. He spent the majority of the first 5 minutes defending the triangle attempt from Grispi, but after that was able to control the rest of the match and pick up the unanimous decision.
The decision gave Ogle his first win in the UFC after 2 fights. Hard to say what a win over Grispi does for him as it's been a long and hard fall for "The Fluke". Grispi was supposed to make his UFC debut as Jose Aldo's first title contender. However, Aldo was injured and Grispi wound up getting upset by Dustin Poirier at UFC 125 instead. Since then he's now given up losses in his last three fights. It's probably best for him at this point to drop down to the regional circuit and get his confidence back.
Tom Watson (16-5) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (12-1, 1 NC)
The third fight of the preliminary card led to two fight night bonuses being granted to it's fighters. Watson and Nedkov got down in a 10 minute back and forth brawl. The fight ended with Watson brutalizing Nedkov with knees to the body before the referee stopped the action.
The TKO victory was Watson's first UFC win after two fights. He followed up the performance with an anti-TRT post-fight promo that gained him the support of many fans. Nedkov suffered his first defeat in the UFC and his promotional record dropped to 1-1, 1 NC.
Vaughan Lee (13-8-1) vs. Motonobu Tezuka (19-6-4)
Tezuka and Lee went the full fifteen minutes in a rather lackluster fight. The first round saw both fighters tentatively striking from distance. It didn't get much better in the last two rounds where Tezuka tried for takedowns he couldn't get and Lee did some damage while defending. Lee got the nod from all three judges.
Lee improved to 2-2 as a UFC Bantamweight. However, the unimpressive nature of the win won't move him up the rankings. Tezuka has now lost both of his fights in the UFC. He'll be lucky to get another chance with the promotion.
Phil Harris (22-10, 1NC) vs. Ulysses Gomez (9-4)
The Flyweights opened up the action for the event. Through the fifteen minute fight "Useless" Gomez employed a leg kick heavy strategy on the feet and failed to force any sort of grappling. The mistake and ineffectiveness of his striking led to Harris picking up the unanimous decision.
It wasn't the most exciting fight, but harris can't be upset about picking up his first UFC win. He's now 1-1 in the promotion. Ulysses has now given up both of his UFC bouts, but the thinness of the 125 lb. division should save his spot on the roster.