Hughes Pummels Torch Out Of Gracie’s Hands,trio Of Subs Marks Ufc 60’s Main Card
Hughes Pummels Torch out of Gracie’s Hands,
Trio of Subs Marks UFC 60’s Main Card
Report by Derek Callahan – Photos by Daisy Rosas
No matter what you want to think about the direction of the UFC as it gaits to the coveted mainstream, one thing is certain: Shaquille O’ Neal has never dunked at the McNichols Arena. Making a notable debut at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, UFC 60 had the type of match-ups that make a fan jittery with excitement and then frustrated with anticipation. The main event gave the show a different feel from any other in recent memory — it was after all, the first UFC appearance for Royce Gracie in over a decade, the man who had been credited with single-handedly changing the face of martial arts in this country.
The victor of UFC 1, 2, and 4’s tournaments was surrounded by family and looked calm as he headed to the Octagon for the first time in over ten years to a standing ovation. Shortly after, a recording of Hank Williams brought Matt Hughes out, where the question was brought up as to whether or not a country boy could indeed survive. As was mentioned by the broadcast team, Hughes was assumedly happy about the five extra pounds that he didn’t have to cut, as the pair would meet at a catch weight of 175 pounds.
The fight began with both legends standing, Hughes adapting to the role of being a better striker than his opponent. After a scramble, Hughes was able to spin Gracie down into side control, where he worked from the top. Gracie tried to roll out, showed his back and got to half guard.
Hughes worked a straight armlock, twisting Gracie’s appendage one way and then the other. As they scrambled, Hughes took Gracie’s back, locking in his hooks as his elder stretched out belly down flat on the canvas. Hughes paused, and then let loose with several connecting shots to the sides of Gracie’s head, stopping only when referee John McCarthy halted the onslaught.
After the bout, both fighters were as gracious in their respective roles of winner and loser as could be. Although somewhat deflated with a purplish mouse forming quickly under his eye, Gracie smirked when he nodded at his post-fight question, and assured the crowd that he would be back for more, though it is now definitive to say his best days are behind him. For his part, Hughes never wavered, for he showed the fans the extent of his repertoire, which is something he knew he had all along.
Abu Dhabi Absolute division champion Dean Lister took advantage of a boxer’s style to win his UFC debut via triangle choke. Lister started the bout with a high kick and straight right hand, and from there, transitioned to the ground, yanking Italian-Brazilian Alessio Sakara down with him. After working towards an omo plata, Lister changed his M.O. and looked for a triangle. He found it, and got the tap from Sakara.
Canadian John Alessio’s confidence had to rise throughout round one when he stuffed at least five of Diego Sanchez’s takedown attempts. It was evident that "The Ultimate Fighter" season one middleweight champion, now fighting back at his preferred weight of 170 pounds, needed the bout on the ground in order to be comfortable.
A relentless Sanchez hunted the takedown well into round two, and finally got his opponent to the ground at just under four minutes in, although it was short-lived. Alessio rolled backwards out of his own open guard and to his feet to the crowd’s approval. The two welterweights circled, trading hands, and both were able to land, but Alessio seemed to get the best lick in with a stiff left jab that ripped a gash over Sanchez’s right eye.
The third frame, from the midway point to the final bell, was a new sight in the Octagon. At about 3:30, a flying knee led to Sanchez taking Alessio’s back. A body triangle held Sanchez on as he searched for a rear naked choke. Alessio tried to neutralize the arm that Sanchez attempted his submission with, and the cat-and-mouse game went on. As the end approached, Sanchez let loose with some short, and then some long punches from behind. It was enough to pick up the decision (with two scores of 29-28 and a single 30-27), but not enough to win over the crowd, who booed the decision.
Heavyweight Brandon Vera put his 6-0 record on the line against Assuerio Silva, and at 2:39 of round one he upped it to 7-0. Silva and Vera exchanged high kicks and jabs to start the second bout of the featured card. Although much leaner, the California up-and-comer didn’t appear to be too much faster than the Brazilian who had lost a decision to Tim Sylvia at UFN 4. After an accidental poke to Silva’s eye, Vera was picked up and slammed hard to the canvas. Midway through the slam, Vera sank in a guillotine and finished up from the guard.
After touching gloves and dancing around for openings, strikers Joe Riggs and Mike Swick looked comfortable bringing in UFC 60. Swick didn’t look at all fazed by the southpaw preference of Riggs, and proved it by landing a solid right roundhouse to the body. Around 4:30 of round one the crowd was already booing the lack of action, but their impatience was rewarded with a quickness. Swick used his right leg to perfection, whacking it against the side of Riggs’s head. As cheesy as the nickname sounds, Mike Swick actually deserves the "Quick" moniker. After eating the kick, Riggs looked flustered and proved it by shooting in for a double- leg without a set-up. That was where he was caught in a guillotine, which Swick promptly finished from the guard.
UFC 60 Main Card Results
Fisher "King" of UFC 60 Prelims
By Loretta Hunt
If it was the UFC’s aim to create a star or two tonight, their prayers were answered. With the highest tier of the Staples Center sardined with fans in comparison to the sparsely inhabited floor level seating, the dark bouts of UFC 60 catapulted a couple of names up the roster for future cash-ins.
3-0-1 lightweight Rick Davis was handpicked to take the brunt of 18-6-1 Melvin Guillard’s punches, and he held up his end. A buoyant Guillard bounced from left to right before zooming in around 30 seconds with fast knees from the clinch. A one-two from New Orlean’s Guillard and Davis was on his backside. The Las Vegas fighter rose and threw back a low kick just as Guillard answered with a whopping overhand right hook. Like deadweight, David fell forward chin first, his body folding at the hip joint on the way down. Guillard was rewarded with hearty applause for a stinging opener.
Rebounding from his infamously mind-numbing UFC 56 debut with partner-in-crime Kevin Jordan, Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga returned to the Octagon tonight a bit surer of himself. Taking down American Top Team’s Fabiano Scherner at will, Napao easily outscored him in the first round both on the feet and on the mat, leaving Scherner cut and bleeding under his right eye going into the second.
After a prolonged between-rounds rest period that went well past one minute as a cageside physician flashed a light into Scherner’s eyes, the fight progressed on. Ducking Scherner’s wild left, Gonzaga landed a stiff jab that wobbled Scherner, then followed him with a right kick and a body shot in succession. Scherner flew back and bounced off the cage, dropping to his knees and reaching for Gonzaga’s legs to recoup positioning. Referee Steve Mazzagatti halted the bout just then, a premature if not inappropriate stoppage if there ever was one.
After dropping a split decision to Sam Stout at March’s UFC 58 as a last-minute replacement, Spencer Fisher wore the other shoe this evening. One-week replacement Matt Wiman hardly had the experience to match the MFS Elite lightweight, but that didn’t stop him from trying. A slow start for Fisher aided the 3-2 Wiman’s soft takedown on his 17-2 foe. Stalled on the mat, Fisher eventually mustered to his feet, but Wiman grabbed the guillotine on "the King’s" rise and the two crashed to the mat again. Fisher escaped, but soon found himself defending a rear naked choke, which he broke free from before returning to his feet. From here, Fisher took the reigns with a flying knee attempt, reversing a takedown attempt to settle into Wiman’s guard. Connecting with an elbow, a sizeable gash drew blood from Wiman’s forehead as the round culminated. Pushing each other as they passed to get back to their corners, the pair’s animosity fueled the crowd.
Although it looked as if the cutman would be unable to stop the trickle from Wiman’s vertical forehead rip, the Armory rep rose from his corner and coaxed Fisher across the cage with the taunt "Do you wanna go? Let’s go." Fisher obliged , expertly maneuvering himself off of Wiman’s takedown attempt into the Florida fighter’s guard. Backing up and out to his feet, Fisher then charged in with a flying left knee, catapulting himself over Wiman’s shoulder and clotheslining him to the ground with his dragging left arm. Fisher hardly had the time to twist around to survey the damage – seeing Wiman’s dazed expression, referee John McCarthy jumped in to halt the action. The audience went wild.
Looking the part of seasoned pro among of an undercard of relative youngsters, Jeremy Horn welcomed the takedowns of Team Quest’s Chael Sonnen, an opponent the Utah resident had bested already on two previous occasions.
From his back, Horn masterfully sported an open butterfly guard, his heels resting comfortably on Sonnen’s hips as the wrestler tried to connect with elbows from above. Horn punched in his card and went to work, and Sonnen methodically countered Horn’s attempt to leverage a guillotine choke by rolling himself and his clinging foe to their side.
From another opening bell takedown at the top of round two, Horn finally released his trapped arm and latched on an armbar, which he torqued by pressing his triangled leg underneath and against Sonnen’s neck for the 1:17 tap out.
UFC 60 Preliminary Bouts Results
More is Better Says IFL’s Schoenauer
League’s Second Bracket Airs Tonight on FOX Sports Network
By Derek Callahan – Photos by Tom DeFazio
For Alex Schoenauer, the light-heavyweight fighter America watched come from behind with a stunning heelhook victory in his televised International Fight League bout last week against Travis Wiuff, it’s all about the experience.
As FSN airs the second bracket of the IFL’s Legends Championships tonight featuring Maurice Smith’s Tiger Sharks against Renzo Gracie’s Pitbulls, Schoenauer (the sole member of Bas Rutten’s Anacondas to come away on the winning end) prepares for Jamal Patterson (1-0), who he’ll meet at June 3’s IFL Finals in an added non-team match-up.
Getting into the ring and trying the things he’s worked on in the gym is what Schoenauer, the 11-4 veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter’s" inaugural season, looks forward to most. "The more you fight in the ring, the more comfortable you’re going to be," says Schoenauer. But was he comfortable getting choked out three times in his first five fights since the show wrapped?
"I was trying to get as much ring time as possible, preparing myself," explains Schoenauer. It goes back to before Spike TV, prior to the weeks training around the clock with fellow UFC hopefuls. Undefeated when he started on the show, Schoenauer sees it as the point where he was kicked into overdrive as a fighter, regardless of how much experience he felt he had previously. Of all the participants on the original show, "I was the one who improved the quickest," says Schoenauer. But he concedes that, "I didn’t have time to develop, I was a mediocre jiu-jitsu guy."
Schoenauer left his first and, so far, only UFC fight on the wrong end of a 20-second knockout. Mike Swick made it a quick night, so with his inexperience in mind, Schoenauer set out to change what was wrong. He would do it in the ring, regardless of the potential for mistakes along the way.
"I made some bad decisions in fights, but it paid off," he says. "As long as you train harder and learn something it’s not a loss." Schoenauer earned himself the luxury of hindsight while professing the positives of a "fight first, worry about the record later" theory. That’s because after the losses to Swick, the 3-3 Buck Meredith, Midwest standout Jason Brilz and former "TUF" housemate Lodune Sincaid, Schoenauer looks to have turned a corner.
"Getting hit in the face twice a day, six days a week, you’re going to get better," says Schoenauer, who trains now with the Las Vegas Combat Club. It was at the IFL’s premier event that Schoenauer pulled off the biggest upset — and win — of his career.
"I was obviously losing both rounds, I was stuffing takedowns [but] he was a stronger fighter," he says about his opponent, UFC veteran Wiuff.
"But from fighting so much, I saw an opportunity and was able to take it," he says. Schoenauer picked up the win for Rutten’s Anacondas, putting the Argentinean-born fighter on a temporary pedestal in the light heavyweight division. He vows to stay there.
"I paid my dues; now I’m winning some big fights," he says. "Once I get to the next step, I stay there." The win earned him another appearance in the IFL, and it seems difficult to imagine someone who has gambled more to get to where they are. Under contract not to fight until called on by the UFC, Schoenauer had other plans after the reality show’s completion.
"We all know how the UFC is: they get around to you when they get around to you," he says. With that in mind, Schoenauer says he brought his concerns to UFC president Dana White. "I told him ‘Hey, whenever you need me, I’ll fight for you.’ I’m sure whenever they need me they’ll call," he says. From then on a free agent, Schoenauer is relaxed about where he is now because "I’m happy where I’m at; I’m plenty busy right now."
He’s busy training for the IFL and Patterson, a new sensation who came out of left field to submit Matt Horwich in his debut fight. Patterson, a Renzo Gracie-trained fighter who boxes at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, fought for the Pitbulls on the last IFL card.
"I know he’s probably not as good as Travis Wiuff," says Schoenauer, who credits Kevin Randleman with helping him improve his wrestling. "He is a known jiu-jitsu guy, he’s got a lot of experience in the jiu-jitsu world. I don’t think he’s as comfortable with his hands as I am."
This being the last of Schoenauer’s two-fight deal with the IFL, free agency is once again in his near future. As a TUF veteran, Schoenauer is one of the most familiar faces that the IFL is putting on FOX Sports Net. However, he doesn’t see it quite like that. "I really don’t think of it as ‘Oh, I’m on TV again,’" says Schoenauer. For him, it’s all a bout getting into the ring and preparing for the future, whatever it may bring.
From the event’s promoter:
IFL on Fox Sports Net
International Fight League #2 on Fox Sports Net – Sunday May 28 6:00 pm check your local listings
New York PITBULLS Vs. Seattle TIGERSHARKS (Semi-Finals)
Air Times by Region: