By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, May 29 – South Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim kept it conservative in his welterweight bout against Amir Sadollah Saturday night, but his smothering ground attack was enough to allow him to pound out a three round unanimous decision win over the former Ultimate Fighter winner in UFC 114 prelim action at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Scores on all cards were 30-27 for Kim.
Kim drew first blood thanks to an effective takedown, and with Sadollah trying to immediately spring back to his feet, “Stun Gun” adjusted his position quickly in order to keep Sadollah pinned. With that part of the gameplan complete, Kim went about improving his position on the mat, all the while tossing the occasional strike that kept Sadollah guessing. With under a minute left, it looked like Sadollah had enough daylight to get back to his feet, but Kim wouldn’t let it happen, as he took his foe’s back and stayed there until the bell.
Sadollah tried to get off first with his striking as the second opened, but his aggressiveness allowed Kim to get another quick takedown. This time around, Kim was able to get into side control, but with 3:30 left, Sadollah got back to his feet. The crowd roared for the hometown favorite, but Kim stayed glued to him against the fence and took him back to the mat. For the remainder of the round, Kim trapped Sadollah on the mat, scoring with the occasional strike before a strong finish that saw him get the mount position and almost end matters before round’s end.
The final round began like the previous two did, with Kim taking Sadollah to the canvas with relative ease. For the next three-plus minutes, Kim stayed in control on the mat, and
Even though Sadollah was able to make it back to his feet in the final 90 seconds and score with some hard strikes, he was unable to pull off the miracle victory.
With the win, Kim improves to 13-0-1 with 1 NC; Sadollah falls to 4-2.
Lightweight prospect Efrain Escudero brought a disciplined game plan into the Octagon against former training partner Dan Lauzon and he executed it perfectly en route to a three round unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 29-27 across the board for Escudero.
Lauzon’s standup was effective in the early going and he jumped out to a quick lead. In response, Escudero closed the distance and got Lauzon against the fence, where he scored with a series of knees. Lauzon battled his way free, cutting his foe around the left eye in the process, and from a distance, it was the New Englander holding the edge.
Escudero came out on the attack in round two, and after jarring Lauzon with a thudding right hand, he opened up with both hands and knees as his opponent was pinned against the fence. Lauzon weathered the attack and sought a takedown, but Escudero fought it off and brought the action back to the middle of the Octagon. At this point, Lauzon looked to be winded, and Escudero responded by walking him down and calmly picking his spots from long-distance and close range. With under a minute left, a right hand put Lauzon on the mat briefly, punctuating a big round for Mexico native Escudero.
Keeping a measured pace, Escudero was effective with his striking again in the final round, and with the crowd getting restless at the lack of sustained action, the former winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” went on the attack, unfortunately losing a point when referee Josh Rosenthal docked him for a low kick. The point deduction brought out the fire in both fighters in the final sequence, as the two went toe-to-toe to the bell.
With the win, Escudero improves to 14-1; Lauzon falls to 12-4.
Melvin Guillard continued his ride up the lightweight ranks, winning his fifth bout in his last six tries with a first round knockout of Octagon newcomer Waylon Lowe.
After some cautious standup from both men to open the bout, Lowe (8-3) was able to score with a takedown, but Guillard (43-9-3, 1 NC) quickly bounced back up. Lowe kept pressing as he bulled his foe to the fence, and Guillard responded with some hard close range knees that eventually got him loose. From there, Guillard kept his distance as he used the Octagon to his advantage, and when Lowe shot again, ‘The Young Assassin’ sprawled and landed with a debilitating left knee to the body. Lowe fell forward on his face and was done for the night, with referee Yves Lavigne halting the bout at 3:28 of the opening round.
France’s Cyrille Diabate made a successful entry into the UFC in light heavyweight action, as he rebounded from an early knockdown to stop Brazil’s Luiz Cane via strikes later in the opening round.
Diabate, a veteran kickboxer, definitely looked like the veteran in the opening stages of the bout, but the aggressive Cane evened things up by dropping ‘The Snake’ to the mat.
“I was out,” admitted Diabate. “But I recovered fairly quick.”
Diabate (17-6-3) was able to clear his head and elude further danger as he got to his feet, and it was Cane (11-3, 1 NC) who emerged from the action with a bloody nose. Sensing that the end was in sight, Diabate made sure that was the case as he scored with a straight left followed by a right that put Cane on the canvas. A follow-up barrage then prompted referee Herb Dean to halt the bout at the 2:13 mark of the round, giving Diabate his first Octagon win.
Veteran lightweight Aaron Riley got back in the win column in his first bout since a loss to Ross Pearson last November with a methodical three round unanimous decision victory over Joe Brammer.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Riley, who ups his record to 29-12-1; Brammer falls to 7-2-1.
Neither fighter took too long to get acquainted with the other, and hard shots were traded from the opening bell. By the end of the first frame, Riley had a slight edge thanks to an effective kicking attack, but Brammer was far from out of the fight.
The second round progressed at a similar pace, with Riley scoring a takedown and some ground strikes to break open another close five minute period.
Brammer was able to get Riley to the mat early in the third, albeit briefly, but the Indiana veteran was able to return the favor a minute later. After getting back to their feet, the two traded sporadic strikes as fatigue began to set in, and while Riley scored with a takedown in the final two minutes, it was Brammer who ended stronger with some hard shots to the head and body.
It was perhaps the wildest 30 second turnaround seen in a long time, as Ryan Jensen bounced back from an almost certain defeat to submit Jesse Forbes in the first round of the middleweight opener.
Forbes almost finished things early with a flush left hand that dropped Jensen. A rear naked choke attempt followed, but Jensen not only fought loose, he was able to catch Forbes in a guillotine choke in the process, forcing a tap out at 1:06 of the opening round.
With the win, Jensen improves to 16-5; Forbes falls to 13-6.