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McGee chokes out McCray, becomes the next Ultimate Fighter

Octagonside by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Photos by Ray Kasprowicz

Court McGee turned in a dominant performance, choking out Kris McCray in the second to become season eleven’s Ultimate Fighter.

The fight was all McGeefrom the outset as he utilized superior wrestling to take the heavier handed McCray down at will. Each time McCray would load up to punch, McGee brought the fight back to the mat.

McGee continued the wrestling clinic in the second stanza as the final takedown signaled the beginning of the end. McGee drove McCray across the Octagon with a thunderous double leg. When McGee secured a mount, McCray attempted to buck, inadvertently giving up his back. The Utah fighter went to work, quickly securing a rear naked choke. With a firm choke in place and a flattened out opponent, McGee felt three light taps on his forearm, signaling the end of the bout at the 3:41 mark.

“The game plan was to hit him and move. But the shot was open so I took it,” McGee explained.

“I want to dedicate this to anyone who’s ever struggled,” he added, fighting back tears.

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Hamill bests Jardine in bloody finish

Matt “The Hammer” Hamill meted out some discipline of his own, beating “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine in a bloody unanimous decision.

Though Hamill is known for his wrestling, the three round war took place mostly on the feet due to a broken left hand Hamill suffered in the opening frame.

Jardine started out strong, sticking and moving against the slower Hamill who kept moving forward. For a moment, flashes of the old “Dean of Mean” began to show. Jardine mixed his patented leg kicks with his punches which wowed the crowd and temporarily slowed Hamill’s relentless pressure.

Round two found Jardine doing more of the same. The mixture of punches and kicks kept Hamill off balance, as he seemed to be looking to land a fight ending haymaker that never came. The tide appeared to turn when the pair got in close. The much stronger was able to land a series of heavy uppercuts from the clinch position. The action temporarily halted when Jardine inadvertently poked Hamill in the eye.

The illegal blow cost Jardine a point.

When the action continued, the two men began swinging wildly at each other, with Hamill getting the better of the initial exchange. “The Hammer” picked up the pace again when Jardine staggered back into the cage. Another exchange left Jardine bloodied as the round concluded.

By the time the final bell sounded, Jardine was rendered a bloody mess. Referee Herb Dean twice stopped the action to have the doctor check the cut on Jardine’s face. With leg kicks out the window and one hand protecting a bloody ear, Jardine’s previously effective attack was void, allowing Hamill to go to work. While the haymaker never landed, Hamill scored two takedowns in the early going to the joy of the capacity crowd.

When time expired, the pair embraced quickly before the scores were announced.

The judges scored the contest 29-27, 29-28 and 28-28.

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Simpson’s perfect record snapped by Leben

Chris Leben got back to his winning ways, defeating a previously unbeaten Aaron Simpson by TKO at 4:17 in the second round.

The first round belonged to the college wrestling standout. Simpson overwhelmed Leben early with big takedowns, ground and pounds and even beat Leben to the punch in the standup.

The second frame told a different story.

Cardio proved to be the key factor as Simpson slowed considerably in the second frame. Unable to take Leben down, Simpson was forced into a slug fest with the always dangerous “Crippler.” A big left hand rocked Simpson. Leben kept the pressure on with another flurry of wild shots that sent Simpson stumbling across the cage.

In what can only be described as reenactment of the second Roy Jones-Montel Griffin fight, Simpson stumbled around the Octagon before collapsing to the mat, forcing the referee to halt the bout.

“You know what, that’s what I do; punch people in the face,” Leben said after the bout.

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Siver defeats Fisher in three round war!

In a wild slug fest, Dennis Siver outpointed the hard hitting Spencer “The King” Fisher to earn a unanimous decision.

The bout was an early Fight of the Night candidate that saw both men go for broke early on. Siuver was cut early on when the men appeared to butt heads, but was stitched up by the cut man at the conclusion of the first.

While the first round arguably belonged to “The King,” Siver found his range in the second and third rounds. Using a mixture of punches and kicks to keep his opponent guessing, Siver pushed forward forcing Fisher to consistently back pedal.

Siver unleashed his trademarked spinning back kick in the second, but failed to land with the accuracy he’s been known for.

Siver kept the pressure on in the third, but Fisher fired back with plenty of power punches and kicks of his own. From minute one to minute fifteen, the action never slowed, leaving fans to speculate about the winner of the contest.

The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28, and 39-28 for Siver.

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Anttonito pounds out Yager

Rich Anttonito season 11 villain Jamie Yager via second round TKO in the night’s first main card bout.

The two heavy hitters came out swinging from the opening bell. Yager appeared a half step faster than Anttonito in the early going, but was unable to land any of the big shots that made him one to watch during the season.

The Afro’d warrior appeared to slow considerably in the second stanza, allowing Anttonito to land a series of right hands at will. A power shot sent Yager to the canvas with Anttonito following behind. After a rear naked choke proved unsuccessful, Anttonito used his heavy hands from the dominant position to pound Yager out.

The official time was 4:25.

“I stuck to the game plan and stayed tight and started working my boxing and changing levels,” Anttonito said of his strategy for victory.

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The Undercard

John “Guns” Gunderson defeated Mark Holst via unanimous decision. Gunderson used his strikes to set up takedowns en route to grinding out the win.

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Double legs, crisp striking, grappling, submission defense, ground and pound. In a rematch from this season’s Ultimate Fighter, Brad Tavares put on MMA clinic en route to a unanimous decision victory over Seth Baczynski. Tavares fought thru two tight triangle choke attempts in the first and final rounds to pull out the win. Baczynski rallied late and finished strong, but all three judges scored the contest 29-28 for Tavares. “I was never close to tapping,” a winded Tavares told Kenny Florian after the bout. “It was a war though.”

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Kyle Noke defeated Josh “The Beast” Bryant via TKO at 3:12 in the second round. Noke picked Bryant apart from the outset, mixing up his strikes to keep Bryant guessing. Bryant never seemed to find his rhythm while the man fighting out of Australia found his range almost immediately. A push sent Bryant into the cage. Noke followed with a flurry that sent “The Beast” cowering on the canvas before referee Kin Winslow mercifully stepped in to halt the carnage.

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Big knees and punches lifted Chris Camoozzi to victory over housemate James “The Sledge” Hammortree. The three round back and forth left both men bloodied. Hammortree attempted to steal the bout in the final moments of the third with a guillotine choke. Camozzi was able to hold his breath until time expired. The judges scored the bout, 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 for Camozzi, who improve to 13-3 with the victory.

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Travis Browne made a statement in his UFC debut, defeating TUF 10 cast member James McSweeney via TKO in the opening round. Browne dropped McSweeney during an exchange midway thru the round and kept the pressure on when the bout hit the mat. Brown finished the Jackson’s MMA fighter. The bout was halted at 4:32.

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