UFC made its debut in Louisville, KY at the YUM! Center. This was the first UFC event in Louisville and was a hugh success according to fans in attendance. The main card was televised live on Versus TV. In the main event, Diego “The Dream” Sanchez won a close decision over Martin “Hitman” Kampmann that was booed by fans. Sanchez recieved significantly more damage than Kampmann. Again, this calls UFC judging into more controversy following several fights ending in draws. Most recently at UFC 127, BJ Penn and John Fitch was declared a draw when most watching the fight felt that Fitch actually won the fight. Looking at the post fight interviews, sanchez looked like the loser with a brutally beaten up face. Sanchez improves to 25-4 with the win; Kampmann falls to 17-5. UFC President Dana White awarded $60,000 bonuses to both men for the Fight of the Night.
In the co-main event. Mark Munoz finished CB Dollaway with a TKO in 54 seconds of the first round. Munoz rocked Dollaway with a right hand and sent him to the canvas. Munoz immediately moved in for the finish and he got it, with two more flush right hands bringing in referee Mario Yamasaki to halt the bout. With the win, Munoz improves to 10-2; Dollaway falls to 12-4.
A star may have born in the middleweight division, as Long Island’s Chris Weidman lived up to all the pre-fight hype about his UFC debut and scored a dominant three round unanimous decision over Alessio Sakara. And he did it on two weeks’ notice, replacing Rafael Natal against “Legionarius”. Scores were 30-27 across the board.
Former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles made a triumphant return after a year-long layoff due to injury, submitting Damacio Page for the second time in two tries via guillotine choke in the UFC debut for both men. “That’s my signature move,” said Bowles, who earned a $40,000 bonus for Submission of the Night. “I hit it all the time in the gym. He was out for a second. I didn’t want to hold on to it too long and hurt him.” Bowles ups his record to 9-1; Page falls to 12-6.
Steve Cantwell finally returned to the Octagon Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center, but he may have wanted to stay on the sidelines considering the one-sided thrashing he took at the hands of Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate, who defeated the Las Vegan with a shutout three round decision. Scores were 30-27, 30-25, and 30-26 for Diabate, who improves to 18-7-3; Cantwell, who has now lost three in a row, falls to 7-4. Tonight was his first start since a September 2009 loss to Brian Stann.
Former WEC standout Danny Castillo was on top of his game in his bout against Joe Stevenson, as he scored a hard-fought three round unanimous decision win to notch his first UFC victory. Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Castillo.
WEC veteran Shane Roller made a successful UFC debut in lightweight action, knocking out Thiago Tavares in the second round. “That was the first knockout I’ve ever had in a fight,” said Roller, who earned a $40,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for his efforts. “It felt perfect. I knew it as soon as I landed the punch.” Roller was the aggressor throughout the opening round, but it was Tavares’ crisper shots that got the job done, especially when a left hook rocked Roller and knocked him into the fence with 2:20 left.
Japan’s Takeya Mizugaki got a handful from late replacement Reuben Duran, but the bantamweight contender was able to hold off the newcomer for a close split decision win. Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 27-30 for Mizugaki, who improves to 14-5-2; Duran falls to 7-3-1.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 27-30 for Mizugaki, who improves to 14-5-2; Duran falls to 7-3-1.