UFC on Fox 7 is in the books from San Jose, California, and the night delivered a card full absolutely devastating knockouts. Continuing the heavy-hitting trend started by last weekend’s TUF 17 Finales, the UFC is picking up tons of steam heading into the summer.
In the main event, Benson Henderson faced off with Gilbert Melendez to unify the UFC and Strikeforce Lightweight titles. Melendez came out strong, utilizing Octagon control and hitting some crisp boxing combinations. Henderson put his trademark leg kicks to work, bruising and battering Melendez’s lead leg. A turning point seemed to take place towards the end of the second round as Henderson found his groove. While Melendez continued to move forward throughout, it was Henderson who indeed landed the higher volume of strikes. Ultimately Henderson retained the belt with a split decision. He proposed to his girlfriend as the crowd booed the split decision.
Daniel Cormier and Frank Mir fought a pivotal heavyweight tilt that ended up with a not-so-predictable result. Cormier used his impressive kickboxing and wrestling skills to continually push Mir up against the cage and pepper him with a variety of shots. There’s not much more to say. Mir landed some good kicks, but never had a chance to get his gameplan going.
Nate Diaz and Josh Thomson fought another close-knit battle. Thomson used his great kickboxing skills to land a couple headkicks early on, and he also noticeably swelled up Diaz’ right knee with low kicks. Diaz continuously kept coming forward however, and landed some good significant strikes of his own. The second round saw Thomson bloody Diaz with some sharp elbows. He landed another huge head kick, wobbling Diaz. Following up with a barrage of ground strikes, Thomson became the first man to finish Nate Diaz in the UFC Octagon. He also tied the UFC record for most knockouts on a card with the eighth.
Jordan Mein faced off with Matt Brown in a battle of streaking welterweights. The fight started off as a back-and-forth slugfest with a first round that saw both fighters not only rocked but also hurt. ‘The Immortal’ locked in a tight Triangle towards the end of the round but Mein miraculously escaped. The second round ended quickly, as Brown swarmed Mein with a bevy of Muay Thai strikes to earn the impressive TKO.
UFC on Fox 7 Full Results:
Benson Henderson def. Gilbert Melendez via Split Decision
Matt Brown def. Jordan Mein via R2 TKO (Strikes)
Chad Mendes def. Darren Elkins via R1 TKO (Strikes)
Francis Carmont def. Lorenz Larkin via UNanimous Decision
Joseph Benavidez def. Darren Uyenoyama via R2 TKO (Strikes)
T.J. Dillashaw def. Hugo Viana via R1 TKO (Strikes)
Anthony Njokuani def. Roger Bowling via R2 KO (Punch)
Yoel Romero def. Clifford Starks via R1 KO (Strikes)
Lowkick MMA Fight Night Awards:
Performance of the Night: It’s hard to pick this one, but Josh Thomson deserves the award in his return to the UFC. He nailed an opponent who never stopped coming forward in Nate Diaz, and implemented his gameplan to finish off the ultra-tough fighter.
Finish of the Night: Myles Jury earned the hard-fought nod with a devastating one-punch KO of TUF alum Ramsey Nijem. Nijem found himself overcommitting and got hit with a looping overhand right on the button from Jury.
Honorable Mentions: It was an unbelievable night for Team Alpha Male, who have appeared to increase their striking dramatically since the signing of Duane “Bang” Ludwig as head coach. Chad Mendes floored Darren Elkins in the first and never let him recover, further staking his claim at another Featherweight title shot.
Anthony Njokuani deserves some recognition for his flash KO of Strikeforce import Roger Bowling. It was so clean, he didn’t even follow up with any ground strikes. As does Yoel Romero, who knocked out Clifford Starks with a pinpoint flying knee. With a card that tied the UFC record for most KOs in a night, you could really pick and choose your award winners tonight.