For Real - Carwin KO's Gonzaga in One

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - It only took 69 seconds for unbeaten Shane Carwin to graduate from prospect to contender, and he did it with a show-stopping right hand that knocked former heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga out in their UFC 96 co-main event at Nationwide Arena.

“We’ve been working on that right hand all camp,” said Carwin, who had to eat some thunder himself before roaring back and getting the win.
By Thomas Gerbasi

COLUMBUS, OH, March 7 – It only took 69 seconds for unbeaten Shane Carwin to graduate from prospect to contender, and he did it with a show-stopping right hand that knocked former heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga out in their UFC 96 co-main event at Nationwide Arena.

“We’ve been working on that right hand all camp,” said Carwin, who had to eat some thunder himself before roaring back and getting the win.

30 seconds in Carwin took the first big shot, a right hand to the head, and Gonzaga capitalized on his stunned foe by taking him to the mat.

“Right off the bat, Gabe caught me a couple of times,” said Carwin. “I was able to refocus and get back to it.”

Carwin quickly cleared his head and stood up. Then it was his turn as he nailed ‘Napao’ with a flush right hand that dropped Gonzaga as if he were shot. A follow-up barrage was just window dressing as referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the match at the 1:09 mark.

With the win, Carwin improved to 11-0; Gonzaga, whose only previous losses have come to Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum (twice), falls to 10-4.

Welterweight Matt Brown continued to impress, halting Pete Sell in the first round with a furious blitz that took Sell by surprise and never allowed him to get into the fight.

Brown came out firing with kicks and punches, and while the first couple of shots drew smiles from the New Yorker, the continuing barrage, capped off by a right hand, dropped Sell. As he hit the mat, referee Yves Lavigne apparently moved in to stop the fight and Brown backed off, but as Sell (8-6) rose, Lavigne waved the two back together. What followed then was a one-sided series of flush shots by Brown, who even pleaded with Lavigne himself to stop the bout. Eventually, the fight was halted at the 1:32 mark.

“I thought he stopped the fight so I backed up,” said Brown, now 12-7. “I could see he was out on his feet. I was pushing him and he was falling.”

Matt Hamill didn’t want any part of wrestling with former Division I National Champion Mark Munoz in their light heavyweight bout, and for good reason, because “The Hammer” had a secret weapon to unleash– a kick to the head that knocked Munoz out in spectacular fashion in the first round.

In the expected battle of wrestlers, Munoz shot for the first takedown, but Hamill sprawled out of trouble. After an exchange against the fence, the fight went to the mat, but the two quickly rose, with Munoz trying land with a wild overhand right. Hamill’s striking was crisper, and with each shot landed, the crowd roared. As the round progressed, Munoz got closer to his target with his strikes, but he was unable to get the takedown he sought. Suddenly though, Hamill drilled Munoz with a flush right kick to the head, the Californian hit the mat and was out, with referee Dan Miragliotta halting the bout at 3:53 of the opening round.

With the win, Hamill improves to 8-2; Munoz falls to 5-1. After a few tense moments after the knockout, Munoz left the Octagon under his own power.

Lightweight rising star Gray Maynard scored one of the most impressive wins of his career in the main card opener, using a solid striking-based attack and rock-solid defense to pound out a three round unanimous decision win over Jim Miller.

All three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Maynard, who improves to 8-0 with 1 NC; Miller falls to 13-2.

After some evenly contested standup to open the bout, Miller pinned Maynard against the fence briefly before “The Bully” broke free. With 3:10 left, Maynard scored with hard punches to the head and body, definitely getting the attention of the Jersey native, who fought hard for a single leg takedown but was rebuffed. Miller was not easily discouraged, even when a knee bloodied his nose, but Maynard’s defense remained airtight, and by the end of the round, Miller’s left eye was starting to swell shut under the assault.

Miller went back on the offensive in round two, but Maynard’s counters and effective movement kept his opponent off balance, and two minutes in, a flurry opened a cut under Miller’s left eye. With 1:30 left, the fight went to the mat for the first time, but only briefly, as Maynard got up and went back to picking Miller apart with some of the best standup he’s shown thus far in his career.

Still game, Miller kept chasing Maynard in the final round, with the Las Vegan responding with his first takedown of the fight. While on the mat, Miller looked like he had a shot at getting Maynard in a submission, but it was not to be. With a minute left, Maynard started landing with ground strikes before standing up again and finishing the fight on his feet.

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