By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, January 2 – It’s two UFC fights and two devastating knockout wins for Nottingham, England’s Paul “Semtex” Daley, who struck hard and fast against Dustin Hazelett Saturday night in the UFC 108 co-main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, taking out the jiu-jitsu ace in the first round to continue his march up the welterweight ranks.
Hazelett vs. Daley
Hazelett got the crowd into the fight immediately with a front roll takedown attempt that while unsuccessful, certainly made an impact. Following that interesting opening, Daley, who came in overweight for the bout at 172 pounds, took the offensive behind kicks to the leg and body, intermittently tossing in punches upstairs as Hazelett patiently stood in the pocket and threw out the occasional front kick. It was just a matter of time before Daley struck though, and it was a flush left hook that put Hazelett on his back. A follow-up barrage finished things off, with referee Herb Dean halting the bout at the 2:24 mark.
“I wasn’t surprised he stood with me, all fights start on the feet, and he knew he had to stand with me,” said Daley, who stopped Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut last September. “Dustin is a great guy, a great fighter, and I wish him all the best in the future.”
With the win, Daley improves to 23-8-2; Hazelett falls to 14-5. Watch post-fight interview
J. Lauzon vs. Stout
Ontario lightweight Sam Stout turned in the most impressive performance of his UFC career, surviving some dicey early moments to decisively decision fellow up and comer Joe Lauzon over three rounds.
The judges scored it 30-26 and 30-27 twice for Stout, who improves to 16-5-1; Lauzon falls to 17-5.
Lauzon wasted no time looking for, and getting, a takedown, and he quickly opened a cut on Stout’s forehead before locking up his opponent’s arm. Amazingly, Stout fought his way out of the submission and got back to his feet, but Lauzon got another takedown moments later. Again, Stout got upright, and on a return trip to the mat, the Canadian wound up on top, leaving him free to inflict his own punishment. After a brief stay on the canvas, Stout stood and beckoned Lauzon to follow him, and this time “Hands of Stone” was able to land a series of hard strikes that got the New Englander’s attention for the rest of the round.
Stout kept his momentum going in round two, scoring with punches and just missing the mark on a kick to the head. Lauzon was able to respond with a takedown, but Stout quickly rose to his feet. As the round progressed, Lauzon was able to score with straight punches with regularity, but he also appeared winded, while Stout seemed to be operating on a full gas tank, as evidenced by a solid sprawl and reversal that kept the action standing for much of the stanza.
The two fighters came out slugging in round three, with both having their moments. Subsequent takedown attempts by Lauzon came up empty though, leaving Stout ample space to tee off with his strikes. With two minutes left, Lauzon was finally able to get Stout back to the canvas, and he showed a sense of urgency to finish, almost locking in a guillotine choke before Stout slipped free and got back to his feet to continue his standup attack until the final bell, capping off a stellar victory. Watch post-fight interview
J. Miller vs. Ludwig
Jim Miller had three opponents for tonight’s fight thanks to injuries to Tyson Griffin and Sean Sherk, but when it counted, Miller took care of the man that stepped into the Octagon with him, impressively dropping, then submitting, returning veteran Duane Ludwig in the first round of their lightweight bout.
The standup action from both fighters was crisp early, with Ludwig holding a slight edge thanks to his height and reach advantage and Muay Thai experience. But it was Miller who surprisingly scored the first knockdown with a right hook, and once the bout hit the mat, the Jersey product took over, getting into the mount position and then locking in an armbar that forced Ludwig to tap out at 2:31 of the opening frame.
With the win, Miller improves to 16-2; Ludwig falls to 27-10. Watch post-fight interview
Dos Santos vs. Yvel
In the main card opener, heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos continued to impress as he halted a former PRIDE fighter for the third time in four UFC fights, this time taking out Gilbert Yvel with a furious first round barrage.
With all the flashes going off in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the bout had the feel of a heavyweight title fight and neither slugger disappointed, with each early exchange drawing a roar from the crowd. Dos Santos was the sharper of the two, and while Yvel (36-14-1, 1 NC) was getting his licks in, it was “Cigano” who landed a sweeping left hook that dropped Yvel hard to the mat. Dos Santos immediately moved in for the finish, and though Yvel tried to get his bearings, the punches kept coming, prompting referee Herb Dean to halt the bout at the 2:07 mark.
And when asked after the bout where he belongs in the heavyweight pecking order, the Brazilian wasn’t shy in his assessment.
“On the top,” said Dos Santos, now 10-1 overall and 4-0 in the UFC. “I love this. I love to be a fighter. I love this place. It’s amazing, my life.” Watch post-fight interview