By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, January 2 – Lightweight up and comer Cole Miller came out on a mission Saturday night to rebound from his loss to Efrain Escudero last September and he succeeded in style, rising from an early knockdown to submit fellow prospect Dan Lauzon in the first round of their UFC 108 preliminary bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Miller’s striking was sharp early, but it was the 21-year old Lauzon (12-3) who landed the first significant blow of the night as he dropped Miller to the mat with a left to the jaw. Miller cleared his head, got back to his feet, and went back on the offensive, but it was clear that the heavier hands belonged to the Massachusetts native. With under three minutes left, the bout went to the mat, and Miller started to work his ground magic, eventually locking Lauzon’s arm up and forcing him to tap out to a kimura from a reverse triangle at 3:05 of the first round.
Martin Kampmann vs. Jacob Volkmann
Welterweight contender Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann got back in the win column following his TKO loss to Paul Daley last September, submitting Jacob Volkmann in the first round of an action-packed scrap.
After some tentative standup from both men in the opening minute, both got the fireworks started in minute number two, as some flush strikes from Volkmann were followed by thudding return fire from Kampmann that dropped his foe to one knee. Volkmann came back strong and drew a roar from the crowd as he scored again on Kampmann, but again, a quick counter hurt the Minnesotan. Kampmann, cut around his left eye, tried to move in for the finish, but Volkmann was able to keep himself in the fight – but not for long, as Kampmann sunk in a guillotine choke that forced the tap out at 4:03 of the opening round.
“He caught me with too many punches, but I’m happy I got the win,” said Kampmann, now 16-3; Volkmann falls to 9-2.
Mark Munoz vs. Ryan Jenson
Middleweight prospect Mark Munoz made it two straight in the middleweight division as he used his ground and pound attack to stop Ryan Jensen in the first round.
Jensen came out fast and looked to be on the verge of upsetting the favorite when he was able to weather the storm after Munoz’ first takedown. But the second time Munoz and Jensen went to the mat, “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” proved to be just that as he ripped off a barrage of unanswered blows that forced Jensen to tap out due to strikes at 2:30 of the first round.
“I have a good ground and pound,” said Munoz. “I wanted to get the submission victory today, but I’ll take it.”
The win ups Munoz’ record to 7-1; Jensen falls to 15-5.
Mike Pyle vs. Jake Ellenberger
In welterweight action, Jake Ellenberger kicked off the New Year with his first UFC win as he impressively halted veteran Mike Pyle in the second round.
“This is the greatest feeling in the world,” said Ellenberger. “Mike’s a tough guy.”
Ellenberger went on the attack immediately, using his strikes to set up a takedown. What followed was an interesting stalemate as Ellenberger used his ground and pound attack while Pyle looked for submissions while mixing in strikes from the bottom. After the two stood up and re-started the action on the feet, Ellenberger got another quick takedown. This time Pyle worked on his opponent’s arm, but it was Ellenberger who got last licks in as he pounded away on a hurt Pyle until the bell intervened.
It was Pyle looking for the takedown early in the second round, but Ellenberger fought it off and instead landed with a flush right hand that dropped Pyle against the fence. A follow-up flurry ended the bout moments later, with referee Yves Lavigne halting the bout 22 seconds into the round.
With the win, Ellenberger ups his record to 22-5; Pyle falls to 18-7-1.
Rafaello Oliveria vs. John Gunderson
The lightweight opener saw Rafaello Oliveira pound out a methodical three round unanimous decision win over Octagon newcomer John Gunderson.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Oliveira.
“I didn’t have a Christmas, I didn’t have a New Year’s,” said Oliveira. “This is my Christmas and New Year’s.”
Gunderson showed off his jiu-jitsu with two brief submission attempts in the first two minutes, but when he came up empty, Oliveira took control on the mat, pounding away from the mount position until he was able to get Gunderson’s back. The Las Vegan was able to get free briefly, but Oliveira kept after him, wrapping up a dominant opening frame.
Oliveira had another good round in the second, but was unable to finish off his gutsy foe, and after an impassioned speech from trainer Shawn Tompkins between the second and third, Gunderson came out looking to turn things around in the final stanza. Oliveira was too dominant on the mat though, and he was able to control matters for the final five minutes just like he had the previous ten.
With the win, Oliveira improves to 10-2; Gunderson falls to 22-7.