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cozzone.comBrookins, Bonnar win at TUF finale

Octagonside by Anthony Springer, Jr. & Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone

The mark of a good fighter is finding a way to win after the original game plan is proven to be a failure.

Jonathan Brookins dug deep and put on a dominant performance on the canvas, defeating fellow teammate Michael Johnson to become season twelve’s Ultimate Fighter.

Johnson came out strong in the opening frame, battering Brookins with some huge shots that sent the Orlando fighter staggering and down to the canvas. Each time Brookins dropped, he got right back up and kept coming. The round clearly went to Johnson, but the blonde bomber had a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Rounds two and three were all Brookins all the time. Totally abandoning the standup, Brookins used his wrestling to take the bout to the mat. Despite the initial explosion, Johnson looked like a fish out of water and was unable to avoid the takedown and subsequent ground and pound.

The judges scored the bout 29-28 twice and 29-27.

“I was thinking, I can’t let my family down, they’re all in the front row,” Brookins said of his thoughts after the first round. -- Anthony Springer Jr.

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cozzone.comBonnar Cruises Past Pakrajac

TUF Season 1 finalist -- and the man whose epic brawl with Forrest Griffin is responsible for bringing the sport where it is today -- Stephan Bonnar continued his winning ways with a hard fought three roundunanimous decision over Igor Pokrajac.

Bonnar scored numerous takedowns and demonstrated good fighting within the clinch as Pokrajac wasn’t able to mount much of an offense against the "American Psycho." If Igor did have any advantage, it was his standup, but Bonnar nullified it with his Judo and ground game.

In the second round, Pokrajac was deducted a point for an illegal knee while Bonnar would be lose a point in the final moments as referee Steve Mazzagatti deducted a point for punching in the back of the heard. The point deduction was moot as Bonnar cruised to a 29-26 decision on all three scorecards. -- Andreas Hale

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cozzone.comMaia decisions “Da Spyda”

Demian Maia took another step up the long climb of the middleweight division, defeating Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove via unanimous decision.

The jiu-jitsu ace showed improved skills on the feet and held his own despite eating some big shots from “Da Spyda.” At the end of the day, Maia returned to his bread and butter—the ground game—to seal the deal. The opening two rounds were capped with Maia latching on to Grove and working for submissions. Maia nearly finished the bout in the second frame, but Grove held off the rear naked choke until time expired.

The final round stayed on the feet as the Hawaiian was able to stuff Maia’s takedown attempts and mount some offense of his own. Despite winning the round, the effort wasn’t enough. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Maia. -- Anthony Springer Jr.

 

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Story Ends Hendricks Undefeated Streak

In a tough battle of wills, Rick Story handed Johny Hendricks his first loss in his MMA career as he grinded out a three round unanimous decision. Story was the aggressor from the jump as he pressed the action and slugged away at Hendricks body. Hendricks had a difficult time keeping Story off of him and, in the end, Story was awarded the victory in a tough fight. All three judges saw it 29-28.-- Andreas Hale

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cozzone.comGarcia edges Phan in controversial decision

In a wild slug fest, Leonard Garcia earned a razor thin and controversial split decision over TUF 12 alum Nam Phan.

The two exchanged heavy in the first round, with Phan appearing to get the best of the early exchanges. Phan kicked it up a notch in the second dropping Garcia with a series of big right and left hands and nearly finished the fight with a rear naked choke. The Jackson’s MMA fighter came out swinging big in the third frame but caught air more often than not. The pair ended the bout the same way it started: trading heavy leather.

The judges scored the bout 29-28, 27-30 and 29-28 for Garcia. When the decision was read, the crowd erupted into chants of “bullshit.”

Despite the loss, Phan clearly emerged as a fighter to watch.-- Anthony Springer Jr.

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Mckenzie Subs WIlkinson With The Guillotine

In a matchup between Team Koscheck and Team GSP fighters, Cody Mckenzie choked out Aaron Wilkinsonin the first round. The team GSP fighter sought out the choke from the outset and Wilkinson had no answers once the move that has had the entire MMA world talking was sunk in. Although it wasn’t underneath the chin, Mckenzie secured the hold across Wilkinson’s jaw and forced the tap at 2:03 in the first round.-- Andreas Hale

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Loveland Smashes Toner For Unanimous Decision

Ian Loveland used a heavy handed approach to defeat Tyler Toner via unanimous decision. Loveland set the pace from the opening moments, dropping Toner with a big right hand. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28 and 30-26. -- Anthony Springer Jr.

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Watson Scores Controversial Decision

In a battle of TUF season 12 lightweight competitors, Kyle Watson earned a highly debatable unanimous decision over Sako Chivitchian. Chivitchian put constant pressure on Watson and never let the Team GSP fighter get his jiujitsu going on the ground. But apparently Watson landed the cleaner punches and the judges saw it in his favor 30-27 (twice) and 29-28. -- Andreas Hale

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Pace's Unique Choke Earns Late Submission Victory

Nick Pace rallied for a late submission win over Will Campuzano in the UFC’s first bantamweight bout. In the final frame, Pace secured the choke using a leg over the top and a forearm on the throat. The move, never seen before, has been dubbed “The Pace” by its owner. The official time was 4:31. -- Anthony Springer Jr.

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Garza Obliterates Paixao

The first fight featuring featherweights in the UFC since the merger with the WEC subjected the crowd to one scary sight. Pablo Garza knocked out Fredson Paixao with a flying knee within moments of the opening bell. The knee hit with such an impact that it could be heard slamming into Paixao’s face throughout the arena. It was a grotesque sight but Paixao was able to move his arms and legs before being helped out of the cage by doctors. Time of stoppage :51. -- Andreas Hale

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Branch Earns Unanimous Decision

David Branch earned a unanimous decision win over TUF alum Rich Antonitto. All three judges scored the bout 30-27. Branch used superior cage control and takedowns in the victory. -- Anthony Springer Jr.

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Bonus pics

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