OMAHA, February 15 - The final fight on the UFC on FUEL TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger Facebook prelim broadcast at the Omaha Civic Auditorium Wednesday pitted two featherweights fighting out of Florida: wrestler Jonathan Brookins vs. BJJ ace Vagner Rocha. And after two early bouts that went to the judges, the crowd erupted after the free-spirited Brookins clocked a quick KO win.
Despite being ground specialists, both men showed crisp striking in the opening minute, trading kicks, straights and targeted hooks that stunned one another. When Rocha caught one of Brookins’ kicks and went for a takedown, Brookins landed on top and quickly landed half a dozen powerful blows with his right hand that put Rocha to sleep at 1:32 of the first round.
Brookins, the TUF 12 season winner, upped his record to 14-4, netting his first knockout win since his first pro bout in 2006; Rocha departs 7-3. Hear what Brookins had to say in his post-fight interview
Anton Kuivanen vs. Justin Salas
Two debuting lightweights met in a closely-matched second fight of the night. Using his full arsenal of wrestling skills and strategic striking, Colorado’s Justin Salas bested the Estonian-born, Finland-based Anton Kuivanen by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Both men started by moving forward, the Finnish Kuivanen opting for more flashy kicks as the Trevor Wittman-trained Salas stuck to power punches. After a few struggles for takedowns, Salas finally scored with a huge one. Unable to pass into mount, he stood over Kuivanen, landing one blow from above before being tripped to the mat by Kuivanen’s long limbs. Bouncing back to their feet, Salas added in low kicks while Kuivanen scored with more shins to the body.
In round two they both circled, and though only a two-inch reach differential separated the fighters, Salas struggled to get inside and found himself throwing far more strikes than Kuivanen and landing far fewer. Kuivanen connected a couple of times early on before being bulled to the fence by the former college wrestler. As the chessmatch threatened to turn into a stalemate, Kuivanen turned up his standup and Salas answered with another trip to the wall, dragging Kuivanen down to the mat briefly.
Salas switched it up and controlled the center to start the third, coming out aggressively with fists that backed Kuivanen against the wall. “J-Bomb” used momentum and speed to lift his opponent and dump him on his back against the wall. As he started to work his ground and pound, Kuivanen went for a heel hook and Salas appeared to be briefly in trouble. Salas worked his way out and as the two stood up, Kuivanen landed one kick, then traded low blows with Salas. Salas again shot in, trapping Kuivanen against the wall, where scored with one connecting fist. As Kuivanen became more aggressive, Salas used that kinetic motion to scoop Kuivanen into the air for yet another impressive slam to end the round.
Kuivanen’s nine-fight win streak is snapped as he falls to 16-5; Salas’ pro record now stands at 10-3.
Watch "J-Bomb's" post-fight interview
Tim Means vs. Bernardo Magalhaes
Two lightweight newcomers tested the Octagon in the night’s first fight,
with Tim “Dirty Bird” Means earning the unanimous decision over
Bernardo “Trekko” Magalhaes via scores of 30-27 and 30-26 twice
The first round built steam, as the two UFC newcomers circled cautiously
for the first minute or so. Means, with a 5-inch height advantage,
tested his range but kept his distance, trying to avoid the BJJ black
belt’s all-but-sure takedown attempts. The first one came two minutes
in, and Means countered with a nasty knee – one of nearly a dozen he
would land in the round. With that, Means’ confidence grew, and he took
the center of the cage, peppering Magalhaes with punches at will and
grabbing him in the clinch to deliver knees – five in a row at one
point. One knee dropped the intrepid Magalhaes, and Means followed him
to the mat, but when “Trekko” reversed, Means quickly slipped away to
the safety of his feet, and the end of the first round drew cheers from the half-full Omaha Civic Auditorium.
Round two played out much like the recent Diaz vs. Condit did... in the eyes of Diaz' fervent fans, anyway . Means stalked his increasingly frustrated
opponent around the Octagon, backing him against the fence and
delivering punch combinations. With no luck on his feet, Magalhaes desperately dove for a takedown, earning another
knee in the process, and Means again pulled himself out of harm’s way.
“Come on,” yelled Means, as Magalhaes used lateral footwork to avoid
damage but mounted no real offense on the feet. The goading eventually spurred a couple of wild overhand attacks from the smaller lightweight, and Means cut
off his opponent into closer and closer quarters. Again dropped,
Magalhaes curled up as Means delivered body blows, then returned to his
feet, forcing Magalhaes to follow.
In the third, Magalhaes became more aggressive with his takedown
attempts, and paid for those as well. During two attempts at a
single-leg, Means issued vicious hammerfists and elbows from the top,
until his opponent let go of the hold. Exhausted or out of game plans,
Magalhaes stayed on the ground, and several times had to be directed by
the referee to stand up. At the end of the fight, the bloodiest Magalhaes again
returned to the ground, this time of his own accord.
The Brazilian-born, Aussie-based Magalhaes’ record falls to 11-2 with the loss, while Means returns to New Mexico with a record of 17-3-1.Hear what Means had to say about his performance
Brookins Drops Bombs: UFC on FUEL TV Prelim Results
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