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Maynard Bullies Diaz, Gets Split Nod

Report by Brady Crytzer

UFC lightweight contender Gray Maynard kept his unbeaten streak in tact by defeating The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz by split decision on the campus of George Mason University Monday night in Fairfax, Va.

Although Maynard was undeafeated as a professional, he has been haunted by a prior exhibition loss during his tenure on The Ultimate Fighter 5 over two years ago. That loss was to the eventual winner Nate Diaz, the same man that he faced Monday night. With no shortage of bad blood or trash talking, the main event of the Ultimate Fight Night 20 was sure to deliver.

Maynard assumed the center of the Octagon with bad intentions as he hoped to exact revenge on Diaz. As Diaz pawed with a left to keep distance, Maynard leapt forward with hard haymakers that missed their mark. In an exchange, Diaz landed a slapping left hook that appeared to open a cut on the right eye of “The Bully.” As Diaz reached forward Maynard slammed a hard right uppercut to the jaw of the Stockton, CA native. In response Diaz signaled and taunted his fellow castmate of The Ultimate Fighter. Maynard, who has a perfect professional record of 9-0, assumed the role of counterpuncher but attacked largely with wild, off target haymakers. The round ended with Maynard missing a wild right hook.

Round two saw the fighters measuring each other and freely trading verbal jabs. Although the standoff looked very similar to that of the first round, Diaz was more cautious of his heavy handed opponent. In a moment of weakness Diaz dropped his hands and was soon met with a crushing right hook that momentarily wobbled him. In retaliation Diaz came forward with a looping hook that was countered by a stiff Maynard hook.

Smelling blood Maynard dropped Diaz with a hard knee and allowed the stunned fighter to stand up. From the outside “The Bully” began to pick his shots and batter The Ultimate Fighter winner. Diaz, never one for subtlety, raised his arms mid-round to taunt his man and was met with hard hooks to the ribs for his efforts.

Diaz appeared to be more willing to trade in the final round as he landed several hard left hooks and a headkick early. Following an exchange Maynard was momentarily stunned by a Diaz left. Using a well timed jab Diaz controlled the aggression of Maynard and implemented his game effectively. After landing more piercing jabs, Diaz saw his momentum taken away from him when Maynard landed a hard left hook that sent him to the mat. The fight ended with the tired pair trading jabs.

Judges’ scorecards read as follows: 29-28 Diaz, 30-27 Maynard and 29-28 Maynard

With this victory Maynard improves to 10-0 and moves up the lightweight ladder.

Dunham Victorious in Battle of Unbeatens

Lightweight Evan Dunham impressively submitted The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Efrain Escudero in the final round of an exciting lightweight contest.

Escudero was the first to land cleanly in the lightweight contest as he pushed forward with a slapping kick to the body of Dunham. After scoring with another southpaw left, the wrestling oriented Escudero was able to take the back of his opponent and control his body. The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner suddenly exploded on Dunham landing a left hook followed by a wicked flying knee that sent his opponent to the mat. On his back, Dunham attempted a shoulder lock but soon found himself in a guillotine choke. The men worked back to their feet and Dunham shoved Escudero to the mat at the bell.

Dunham appeared ready for action in the second round and stung his opponent with a sharp right hand. Although he was overmatched in the first period, Dunham began to implement sharp, practical boxing to take advantage of the wild nature of Escudero. Catching a kick, Dunham was able to muscle Escudero to the mat and work from the side position with hard elbows.

Dunham exploited an opening in the grappling stanza to secure the back of Escudero and sink in a tight body triangle. With time ticking away the composed Dunham blasted the reality star with hard punches. The confident Dunham returned t his corner with a smile on his face.

The final round saw Dunham shoot for a takedown early allowing Escudero to sink in a guillotine choke. Though the hold appeared tight, the well schooled Dunham escaped and slammed his opponent to the mat. In a beautiful sequence, Dunham was able to take the back of Escudero and transition to a slick armbar. Refusing to quit, Escudero allowed Dunham to badly hyperextend his right arm at an unnatural angle. Although he survived for a brief period of time, The Ultimate Fighter winner would suffer his first loss as a professional as he tapped soon after.

The tap came at the official time of 1:59.

Dunham moves to a perfect 10-0.

No Quit: Simpson Survives, Get the ‘W’

Battling back from tremendous adversity in the first round Aaron “A-Train” Simpson used his heavy hands and tremendous wrestling to defeat “Filthy” Tom Lawlor via split decision.

The fighters exchanged heavy punches early, and although both men scored, Lawlor blasted Simpson with a hard right uppercut. Despite the illustrious wrestling histories of both fighters, the fight was contested on the feet and Lawlor found himself on the winning side of all of the exchanges.

In a desperation maneuver, Simpson shot in for a takedown but found no success. Lawlor continued to batter his overmatched opponent but began to pick his shots. Although Simpson would keep his distance and survive the round, it was evident that he was badly wobbled.

Simpson began the second round with a clear agenda to attack despite the damage sustained in the previous round. Timing his approach, “A-Train” drove Lawlor into the cage and took him to the mat. Simpson’s wrestling began to shine as he controlled his opponent from the top position. Once on the feet Lawlor scored with a left hook that allowed for a brief takedown. In the final seconds of round two Simpson remained the aggressor and took Lawlor to the mat.

The firefight resumed in round three and both men scored. Lawlor assumed the role of counter puncher and landed clean shots while stepping backwards. Simpson next slammed his opponent to the mat but could not gain control and soon found himself on his back. Lawlor began to seek out a kimura and was soon swept by the unbeaten Simpson. In a flash “Filthy” Tom was on his stomach with the tenacious Simpson latched onto his back. With just seconds left in the bout, an exhausted Lawlor worked back to his feet and the men traded barbs until the bell sounded.

Judges’ scorecards read 29-28 in favor of Lawlor and 29-28 twice in favor of the winner via split decision Aaron “A-Train” Simpson.

Sadollah Impressive in Victory, Answers All Questions

In his first Octagon appearance of 2010, The Ultimate Fighter 7 winner Amir Sadollah soundly defeated “Bad” Brad Blackburn over three rounds en route to winning a unanimous decision.

Sadollah utilized a snapping jab early in the fight to keep his powerful opponent at bay. Although Sadollah won season seven of The Ultimate Fighter, Blackburn was unafraid of his opponent and threw hard right hands with bad intentions. Known as “Bad” Brad, Blackburn set himself apart as a regular in the now-defunct International Fight League, and has found new life in the UFC with six straight wins.

Confident in his abilities, Blackburn muscled Sadollah into the cage to negate the reach advantage of his favored opponent. Suddenly, Sadollah landed a clean left hook that badly hurt his opponent and allowed for a slick double leg takedown. Blackburn was quick to his feet but was met unkindly with a front kick to the face as time expired.

Sadollah began round two in impressive fashion by unloading with several diverse muay thai combinations. After scoring to the body, Sadollah landed a sharp knee to his opponent’s midsection. Blackburn, in an attempt to regain his composure, rushed Sadollah and once again pressed him into the cage. The fighters reset in the center of the cage and Sadollah continued to land heavy leg kicks on the stationary IFL veteran. At the bell Sadollah grazed the head of Blackburn with a kick that excited fans.

Round three started off with a bang as Sadollah stunned his opponent with a hard right cross to the chin. Showing a complete understanding of mixed martial arts, Sadollah immediately shot for a takedown and landed hard shots from inside the guard of the former Seattle Tiger Shark. Content to remain inactive, Blackburn found himself defending a d’arce choke and eating elbows from the side position. Time expired with Sadollah dominating the fight with hard punches from the top.

Judges’ scorecards all read the same, 30-27 in favor of Amir Sadollah.

Undercard Results: MacDonald, Harris Win Big; Bradley-Tavares Draw

Rory MacDonald finished MMA veteran Mike “The Joker” Guymon in the first round with a tight armbar at 4:27.

Although Guymon found success early in the fight with a stiff right cross that momentarily his opponent, MacDonald utilized superior grappling technique to take Guymon to the floor and lock in a fight ending armbar.

Middleweight Gerald Harris defeated newcomer John Salter via TKO in the third round after landing a vicious series of punches and elbows from the top position.

The first round was uneventful as both fighters seemed hesitant to engage. However slow the pace, Salter returned to his corner at the end of the round with a bloody nose courtesy of a stiff jab from Harris. The second round saw Harris find some success with ground n’ pound from the top position and the condition of Salter’s nose declined. The end came in round three when, after scoring a takedown, Harris unloaded with a devastating series of blows forcing the fight to be stopped at 3:24.

In a middleweight match up, Nick Catone defeated The Ultimate Fighter alum Jesse Forbes via split decision. After three rounds of action highlighted by numerous exchanges, all three judges’ scorecards read the same, 29-28, twice in favor of Catone giving him the split decision victory.

Lightweight Rafael dos Anjos outworked Kyle Bradley over three rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory. All three judges’ scorecards read the same, 30-27.

After three grueling rounds, lightweights Thiago Tavares and Nik Lentz battled to an unpopular majority draw. Scorecards read 29-27, and 28-28 twice.

Middleweight star and former reality star Chris “The Crippler” Leben defeated Jay Silva via unanimous decision. Scorecards all read the same, 30-27.

Rick Story received the judges’ nod over opponent Jesse Lennox after three rounds. Scores read 30-27 twice and 29-28 in favor of Story


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