Penn, Fitch fight to draw at UFC 127
Report by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Photos courtesty of Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
Fitch and Penn go toe-to-toe, neither man emerges victorious
For the second time in as many months, a UFC main event ended with no winner and lots of discussion.
Perennial 170-pound title contender Jon Fitch and former two-division champion BJ Penn went at each other for 15-minutes—and both came up on the short end of the stick. Like Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard on New Year’s Day, the bout ended in a majority draw.
“The Prodigy” struck first in the opening round, taking down the former Purdue University wrestler. On the mat, Penn threatened with a rear naked choke but was unable to finish the scrappy Fitch.
Penn came out hard again in the second frame, finding a home in the top position. A second failed rear naked choke attempt allowed Fitch a chance to reverse roles. A late rally from Fitch tied the bout up in the minds of many fans in attendance.
Facing a possible two round deficit heading into the third, the American Kickboxing Academy fighter went for broke. Over the course of five minutes, Fitch battered Penn with punches and elbows. The effort, likely the most blistering attack Penn has seen in his MMA career, was nearly a consensus 10-8 round.
The judges scored the bout 29-28 for Fitch and 28-28 twice.
Both men remain open to the possibility of a rematch.
Rivera down by “The Count”
Michael Bisping was steaming heading into Saturday night’s co-main event with Jorge Rivera. In the run up to the fight, the Ultimate Fighter winner’s opponent had verbally jabbed at him through a series of Internet videos. The verbal barbs worked as Bisping, in uncharacteristic fashion, vowed to send Rivera back to the undercards with a loss.
He made good on his word.
“The Count” earned a controversial TKO victory, finishing off Rivera with strikes at 1:54 in the second round.
Early in the opener, Rivera found himself on the receiving end of an illegal knee to the face. The move cost Bisping a point, but clearly fazed Rivera who soldiered on after the blow.
Other than a big right hand in the second frame, the hard hitting Rivera had few answers for Bisping’s more polished and technical striking. A barrage of combos, knees and elbows sealed Rivera’s fate as the referee rushed in to halt the bout.
Siver derails Sotiropolous
Prior to UFC 127, talks of a potential title shot swirled around submission specialist George Sotiropolous. He just had to get past German striker Dennis Siver first.
As everyone knows, submissions can’t occur if a fighter can’t get the bout to the ground. Dennis Siver used stellar takedown defense to keep the fight standing en route to a surprising—but dominant—unanimous decision victory over the Australian. Unable to get the fight to the ground, Sotiropolous found himself playing Siver’s game. The opening round set the tone for the remainder of the contest as Siver floored his foe twice.
The judges scored the contest 29-28, 30-28 and 30-27.
Ebersole makes good on debut, stuns scrappy Lytle
Brian Ebersole went toe-to-toe with Chris Lytle and earned a unanimous decision win and new fans in the process.
Ebersole, making his UFC debut battered “Lights Out” with heavy hands and a thorough ground attack over the course of the fight. A strong finish in the closing moments of the bout, in which Ebersole finished with a big elbow made picking a winner an easy decision.
The judges scored the bout 30-37 and 29-28 twice.
Noke shines on home turf, chokes out Camozzi
Kyle Noke made short work of fellow TUF housemate, Chris Camozzi, earning a victory by rear naked choke in the opening round.
It took Noke just 1:35 to secure a takedown, flatten out Camozzi and sink in the fight ending hold.
Ross Pearson defeated the always tough Spencer Fisher via unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
Alexander Gustafsson used a rear naked choke to stop James Te Huna at 4:27 in the opening round.
Riki Fukuda earned a hard fought decision win over Nick Ring. The final scores read 28-28, 29-28 and 29-28.
Anthony Perosh defeated Tom Blackledge by rear naked choke at 2:45 in the opening frame.
Tiequan Zhang emerged victorious over Jason Reinhardt via guillotine choke in just 48 seconds of the first round.
Veteran fighter Mark Hunt stopped fellow heavyweight Chris Tuchscherer with punches. The TKO win came at 1:41 in the second round.
Curt Warburton opened up the night with a decision win over Maciej Jewtuszko. All three judges scored the bout 29-28.