The UFC’s first show of the newly created Fox Sports 1 channel was filled with huge wins and big surprises as the promotion took over the TD Garden on Saturday night.
In the night’s main event battle, former top contender Chael Sonnen shocked the MMA world by submitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via guillotine choke with just 13 seconds remaining in the opening frame. The impressive win also earned Sonnen Submission of the Night honors.
”I hear that Chael’s all talk, but I fight some very tough guys,” Sonnen said at the post-fight press conference. “I’m very proud of my wins and losses.”
As soon as the opening bell rang, the wrestling based Sonnen quickly shot in with a double leg takedown, landing in Rua’s half guard.
The former champ was able to get back to his feet, putting Sonnen up against the cage fence briefly before landing an inside leg trip. “Shogun” would end up in Sonnen’s guard before the former NCAA Division I All-American landed a reversal which forced the fight back to the feet.
After a brief exchange, Sonnen landed a huge hip toss, putting him back into Rua’s half guard. The Brazilian looked to squirm out from the bottom, but Sonnen kept good control, landing solid ground and pound strikes.
As Rua attempted to get back to his feet again, Sonnen saw an opening and grabbed a hold of the former champ’s neck. As “Shogun” tried to stand, Sonnen surprisingly jumped guard, locking in the guillotine choke and forcing the Brazilian to tap out with just seconds left in the round.
Browne survives early trouble, KO’s Overeem
It looked like Travis Browne’s night would be over quickly early in his fight with Alistair Overeem. However, “Hapa” survived the initial beatdown before coming back in spectacular fashion, knocking “The Reem” out with a front kick with less than a minute to go in round one. Overeem hurt Browne with a series of knees and punches against the cage, even landing a clearly illegal knee to a grounded opponent that the referee completely missed. But the always game Browne wouldn’t stop, pushing back with strikes of his own before landing the kick on Overeem’s jaw, following up with a couple of hammerfists to seal the deal “I was mentally there but I’ve never had my body shut down like that on me,” Browne said after the bout. “The referee kept saying he was going to stop it and I was telling him that I was ok. I was thinking about my sons and providing for my family, this is what I’m made of.”
Faber decisions Alcantara
It was a rough start for former WEC champ Urijah Faber, but “The California Kid” kept his cool through adversity in order to take the unanimous decision win over Iuri Alcantara. “The beginning of the fight was pretty intense and he was catching me with some really big punches,” Faber said after the match. “Lots of respect for Iuri, he’s a tough guy and it was a great fight.” The Brazilian didn’t waste anytime engaging with Faber in round one, landing a huge throw before ending up in mount. However, after a surviving a few slick submission attempts, Faber battled back, landing a nice takedown of his own. The Team Alpha Male product turned it up a notch in the second and third frames, thoroughly dominating the Brazilian with ground and pound strikes to take the decision win.
Brown stops Pyle
”The Immortal” Matt Brown made quick work of his opponent, Mike Pyle, smashing the former WEC champ with a huge knee and strikes for the fast first round finish. It took Brown just 29 seconds to end Pyle’s night, extending his win streak to six in a row. “Mike Pyle is good enough to be champion,” Brown told commentator Joe Rogan following the fight. “He’s better than GSP [Georges St-Pierre] I guarantee.” Brown said that he had to start off strong, adding, “If I let him get comfortable in there, it’s going to be a dog fight.”
Boston’s Howard victorious in Octagon return
Dorchester’s own John “Doomsday” Howard did not disappoint in his return to the Octagon, taking a close split decision over Uriah Hall. The Boston crowd was in full support of the hometown hero, who’s tenacious striking and multiple takedowns earned him the win. “Fighting in my hometown of Boston is a dream come true for me,” Howard said after the bout. “I’m so thankful to the UFC for bringing me back.” The man they call “Doomsday” started off a bit slow, getting taken down by Hall to start the first round. However, the Wai Kru product battled back, landing a ton of nice leg kicks and punching combinations, as well as a few takedowns throughout the fight to take the close decision.
Johnson dominates Lauzon
Despite walking into the Octagon with the hometown crowd cheering him on, Boston area native Joe Lauzon just couldn’t get his game going against Michael Johnson, losing a lopsided unanimous decision to kick off the main card. “This was definitely my best performance,” Johnson said following the bout, “not just because of how I performed but who I performed against.” After a slow start to the first round, Johnson landed a hard straight right, flooring Lauzon briefly in the opening frame. The shot would set the tone for the rest of the fight as Johnson’s faster, more powerful striking combinations completely shut down Lauzon on the feet. The Ultimate Fighter alum also landed some nice takedowns, ending the fight with a huge slam before the bell rang.