PHILADELPHIA, August 6 – Alexander Gustafsson could have been rattled by a late change in opponents for his UFC 133 bout Saturday at Wells Fargo Center, but going from Vladimir Matyushenko to Matt Hamill proved to be no issue for Sweden’s “Mauler,” as he scored the biggest win of his career, halting Hamill in the second round.
The victory was Gustafsson’s third in a row, with each bout being finished before the final bell.
There was little sustained action in the opening round, with Hamill chasing and Gustafsson using every inch of the Octagon to keep his foe from getting his feet set for a takedown. Hamill was able to open a cut over Gustafsson’s right eye with a left hook, and though he didn’t press the action, “The Mauler” was able to tag Hamill at times over the course of the first five minutes.
Gustafsson began opening up in the second round, and his ability to avoid Hamill’s takedown attempts lifted his confidence even more. Add in Hamill’s increasing fatigue, and when Gustafsson turned up the heat and rocked “The Hammer” with a hard left, it was clear that the end would follow shortly thereafter, and it did, with a series of hard, unanswered ground strikes prompted referee Dan Miragliotta to halt the bout at 3:34 of the second round.
With the win, Gustafsson improves to 12-1; Hamill falls to 11-4.
MENDES vs. YAHYA
Unbeaten featherweight contender Chad Mendes wasn’t spectacular against submission ace Rani Yahya, but he was effective, as he moved to 11-0 with a shutout three round decision win.
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
There was little action of note to talk about in the opening round, save for a late surge in the final minute by Mendes that included a toss of Yahya (16-7) to the canvas, a right hand follow-up, and a thudding knee.
Mendes wasted no time getting to work in the second though, as he slammed Yahya to the mat with a crash, finally getting a reaction from the crowd. Yahya’s ground defense was good enough for him to get back to his feet, and he did the same thing after Mendes’ second takedown of the frame, but it was clear that there was no way the Brazilian was going to win a standup fight or a fight where he wasn’t putting Mendes on the canvas himself.
In the final round, Mendes continued to score takedowns, and Yahya tried to work his submission game from the bottom position, but the smothering attack of Mendes kept him from getting anything going. Once standing, Yahya was able to score a flash knockdown of Mendes with a balance shot, but the Californian made him pay with two takedowns before the final bell intervened.
MENJIVAR vs. PACE
Bantamweight veteran Ivan Menjivar showed off some impressive and varied striking and then survived a late surge from Nick Pace to score a close, but unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Menjivar, who improves to 23-8; Pace falls to 6-2.
After a slow start, Pace livened things up with a takedown in the second half of the round which was followed by the Staten Islander taking Menjivar’s back. The veteran rose quickly, but nearly got caught in a rear naked choke before escaping in round one’s final moments.
Menjivar drilled Pace with leg kicks in round two, and with no return fire coming back, he threw in some punches and kicks upstairs for good measure. Midway through the round, Menjivar caught Pace against the fence and unleashed a barrage of shots, and even though he wasn’t able to finish, he was piling up the points on Pace, whose offense was non-existent until he scored a takedown with a little over a minute left.
Montreal’s Menjivar continued to press the action while standing in the final round, but the more urgent Pace finally got his chance to turn things around in the final minute when a knee to the head forced Menjivar to grab a rapidly swelling eye and backpedal to clear his head as the New Yorker followed, trying to finish. He didn’t get the desired result, and Menjivar was able to make it to the final bell and nab the decision win.
HENDRICKS vs. PIERCE
Welterweight prospects Johny Hendricks and Mike Pierce battled tooth and nail over the course of their 15 minute bout, with Hendricks emerging victorious via a grueling three round split decision.
Scores were 29-28 twice, and 28-29 for Hendricks, who ups his record to 11-1; Pierce falls to 12-4.
Hendricks had a strong first round, dominating the pace and location of the first five minutes, with his knees to the body being a particularly effective weapon.
After Hendricks took the first frame, Pierce came out fast in the second in an attempt to even the score, and he may have been successful thanks to a busier striking game and solid takedown defense. A late charge by Hendricks may have made that work for naught though.
Regardless of the scoring, both Hendricks and Pierce opened the third as the fight was on the line, and neither wanted to give up an inch of Octagon real estate in the process. Midway through the round, Pierce scored his first takedown of the bout, and some thudding strikes followed before Hendricks scrambled to his feet. The two immediately engaged again, with some dirty boxing taking place before Hendricks looked for his own takedown in the final minute, only to be turned away at the bell.
BROWN vs. PHAN
Featherweight veteran Mike Brown got his first UFC win with a close three round unanimous decision victory over Nam Phan, and it was a much needed one for the former WEC featherweight champ, who snapped a two fight losing streak in the process.
Scores were 29-27 and 29-28 twice.
Brown (25-8) was the aggressor from the start, shooting overhand rights in between looks for a takedown. In the second minute, Brown was able to get the bout to the mat and his quickly took Phan’s back. A series of unanswered punches to the head followed, but Phan weathered the pesky shots and found some semblance of daylight, eventually working his way to his feet. Brown scored another takedown before the bell though, putting an exclamation mark on a big round.
Phan (16-10) showed more urgency in round two as he tried to crawl out of the scoring hole he was in, and when he was able to get some distance, he tagged Brown with a series of hard and flush shots. With two minutes left, Brown was able to close the gap and get Phan to the mat again, but the Ultimate Fighter alum fought his way back to his feet and got loose. This wasn’t where Brown wanted to be, as Phan’s combinations and body punches were starting to take a toll.
Picking up where he left off in the second, Phan continued to drill Brown with hard shots, but this time the former WEC champ returned fire before tying his opponent up against the fence. When the two broke, the striking battle was more evenly matched, and throughout the rest of the bout, Brown made sure that he used his wrestling to take a slight advantage on the scorecards when necessary, and it sealed the victory for him.
NATAL vs. BRADLEY
Rafael Natal nabbed his first UFC win in three tries, outpointing late replacement Paul Bradley via unanimous decision in middleweight action.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Natal, who improves to 13-3-1; Bradley, who came in on short notice to replace Costa Philippou (who was promoted to the main card to fight Jorge Rivera) falls to 18-3 with 1 NC.
The two fighters were busy in the opening round, but any significant scoring done was by Natal, who bloodied Bradley’s nose and reddened his left leg with kicks.
Picking up the pace in round two, Bradley and Natal got the crowd into it immediately with a wild slugging exchange. Natal, staggered, left himself open for a takedown and Bradley took it, but he was unable to do anything with it, allowing Natal to get back to his feet. From there, the fight settled back into a kickboxing match, with Natal pecking away and doing the bulk of the scoring. In the final stages of the round, Bradley scored another takedown, but didn’t have enough time to press his advantage.
There was some solid back and forth action in the final round, with Bradley pressing the action, but Natal countering well while he avoided his opponent’s takedown attempts. But in the second half of the round, fatigue was evident for Bradley, who nonetheless kept trying to get the takedown until the bout ended.
UFC 133 Prelim Results - Gustafsson Hammers Hamill, Wins in Second
Click below for the UFC 133 prelim card report....
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