By Thomas Gerbasi
After a breakout year in 2008, lightweight contender Kurt Pellegrino got 2009 off to a good start Saturday night with a second round submission win over Rob Emerson in UFC Fight Night prelim action at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.
Both fighters focused on their standup early, with Pellegrino moving and landing well on the heavy-handed Emerson. Midway through the round, Pellegrino tried to put the fight on the mat, but he was instead taken down by Emerson. While there, Pellegrino locked his foe up from the bottom and got back to his feet to resume his standup attack. Surprisingly, Emerson scored another takedown by the end of the round, turning the tables on the wrestler and jiu-jitsu black belt.
Emerson opened the second behind the jab, and a hard kick to the head got Pellegrino’s attention at the one minute mark. Pellegrino looked to be getting frustrated by Emerson, and looked for the takedown. With two minutes gone, he got it, slamming Emerson to the mat. While on the mat, Pellegrino took over, eventually taking his foe’s back and sinking in a rear naked choke that produced a tap out at the 3:14 mark of round two.
With the win, Pellegrino improves to 19-4; Emerson falls to 10-7 with 1 NC.
It was a rollercoaster ride, but by the time it was over, unbeaten Matt Veach survived some rocky moments to stop Matt Grice in an exciting lightweight bout.
The pace was furious from the start, with some heated exchanges eventually leading to a trip to the mat for both men. Veach (11-0) took control from the top position, but Grice (10-2) worked his way back up and almost locked in an anaconda choke. Veach escaped and the two commenced trading on the feet again. An uppercut by Grice dropped Veach hard, and a series of ground strikes almost forced a stoppage, but Veach was able to clear his head and get back in the fight. Grice was still in control from the top and he continued to press until a failed guillotine attempt allowed Veach to switch position and eventually get back to his feet. Once standing, the exchanges continued, and a huge right hand dropped Grice. A follow up barrage brought in referee Troy Waugh to halt the fight at the 4:34 mark, much to the dismay of Grice, who immediately protested the stoppage.
Dan Miller made it 3-0 in the Octagon in less than five months, issuing UFC debutant Jake Rosholt his first pro loss via first round submission.
Rosholt (5-1) shot in for a takedown early, only to get met with a knee to the head for his trouble. Rosholt kept with it though and he was able to put Miller on his back. Miller (11-1, 1 NC) worked for a leg lock from the bottom, and even though he didn’t get it, he was able to use it to get back to his feet, and once standing, the New Jersey native locked in a deep guillotine choke that produced a tap out at 1:03 of the opening round.
Gleison Tibau broke a two fight losing streak in impressive fashion as he issued Rich Clementi a first round submission defeat in their lightweight contest.
The two southpaws met in the center of the Octagon, and Tibau (28-5) drew first blood with a quick takedown. The Brazilian immediately took Clementi’s back, but “No Love” was able to get to his feet just as fast. Tibau stayed locked on, and though Clementi was able to turn around, he was taken down again. Clementi (40-14-1) again rose and looked to establish his standup attack, but he instead ate a big left from Tibau, who then scored another takedown. Tibau moved right into side control and then into the mount. Clementi gave up his back briefly before finding some daylight, but the stronger Tibau kept Clementi pinned to the mat. And though Clementi kept battling to break free, Tibau wasn’t letting up, even as the fight went back to the feet with under a minute left. Eventually, Tibau locked in a guillotine choke, and forced Clementi to tap out at the 4:35 mark.
It took a while, but after two fights with Amir Sadollah were scrapped, New Jersey middleweight Nick Catone finally got the chance to step into the Octagon and he made the most of it, submitting Derek Downey in the second round.
An opening right hand from Catone (7-0) was met by a takedown attempt from Downey (10-4), but the former Rider University wrestler was able to reject the attempt and turn the tables in his favor. Soon, the effect of Catone’s opening right was on display as a lump appeared on the side of Downey’s head. Midway through the round, Catone was controlling Downey on the mat and his grappling prowess and ground and pound was rapidly paying dividends. With under a minute left, the bruise on Downey’s head continued to rise while Catone kept the pressure on until the bell sounded.
Downey looked for another takedown to begin the second, but again, Catone avoided hitting the mat, instead landing some knees before getting his own takedown. Catone moved into side control, pounding away strikes before clamping on a key lock that forced a tap out from Downey at 1:15 of the second.
In welterweight action, The Ultimate Fighter season seven’s Matt Riddle upped his pro record to 2-0 with a three round unanimous decision over Steve Bruno.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Riddle.
Bruno’s striking was sharp early as he caught Riddle with two flush rights to the head, and some hard kicks to the leg. Riddle closed the distance and pushed Bruno (13-5) into the fence, but the Floridian broke free and again landed with his right hand. Riddle got on the board with a hard right kick to the midsection and followed it up moments later with a takedown. While on the mat, Riddle scored effectively with short elbows, and though Bruno soon got back to his feet, Riddle put him back on the mat. By the end of the round Bruno resumed control with some hard strikes and a takedown of his own just before the bell.
Riddle opened his offensive attack in the second round with a takedown, and began dishing out a ground and pound assault. Bruno, pinned to the mat, tried to escape, but was unable to as Riddle wrapped up his limbs while continuing to land strikes. With a minute left, Bruno got up briefly, but after eating a knee he went back to what he thought was the safety of the mat. Riddle proceeded to get his foe’s back and again he fired away until the end of the round.
The third round was a continuation of the theme established in the second, with Riddle in total control on the mat as Bruno simply tried to survive. And though Riddle tried to finish the bout, Bruno was able to make it to the final bell.
'Batman' Uses Plan B to Beat Emerson in UFN Prelim
Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - After a breakout year in 2008, lightweight contender Kurt Pellegrino got 2009 off to a good start Saturday night with a second round submission win over Rob Emerson in UFC Fight Night prelim action at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.