Gegard Mousasi wins in Round 1
Gegard Mousasi's second go in the UFC middleweight division went much better than his first.
Mousasi (35-4-2) was dominant in a first-round submission over Mark Munoz in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card at 02 World Berlin on Saturday. The event marked the promotion's first trip to Germany since 2010 and first ever to its capital.
The fight didn't last long, as referee Marc Goddard stopped the bout 3:57 in, after Munoz tapped to a rear-naked choke.
It was an impressive performance for Mousasi, who was outclassed in his UFC 185-pound debut in February. A former light heavyweight, he offered little resistance in a unanimous decision loss to Lyoto Machida. After the fight, Mousasi, 28, asked to face a ranked opponent next.
"I think I'm going to get (Luke) Rockhold or (Tim) Kennedy," Mousasi said. "I'm not challenging anyone, but of course, I'm going to get a winner. Whoever will get me closer to a title shot, I'm ready."
Rockhold (12-2) is fresh off a first-round submission over Tim Boetsch last month, while Kennedy (18-4) is currently on a four-fight win streak.
A former Strikeforce 205-pound champion, Mousasi was in complete control of Munoz. He anticipated takedown attempts well from the former NCAA national champion wrestler and steadily picked him apart with the jab.
He did allow Munoz (13-5) to slam him to the mat in the first minute of the fight, but calmly got back to his feet when Munoz failed to control him on the ground. Munoz grew more desperate with takedown attempts as the round progressed, which Mousasi took advantage of.
He hurt Munoz with hammerfists and elbows to the temple while defending a single leg and briefly threatened to finish him with a tight neck crank near the fence. He moved to full mount later in the round, at which point Munoz gave up his back.
"He's a wrestler, so he always comes forward," Mousasi said. "I wanted to pick up angles, move sideways and slowly pick up the pressure.
"I worked a lot on the rear-naked choke and guillotine. I was able to set it up with punches."
It marked the 12th submission of Mousasi's career, which began in 2003. Prior to his loss to Machida in February, Mousasi hadn't fought in the weight class since 2008.
Munoz dropped consecutive fights for the first time in his career. The California-based middleweight suffered a first-round knockout loss to Machida in October.
Dollaway upsets Carmont in decision win
CB Dollaway is turning into must-see material in the UFC middleweight division.
Dollaway (15-5) earned perhaps the biggest win of his career in an upset unanimous decision over Francis Carmont. All three judges scored the fight for Dollaway: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
"I feel amazing," Dollaway said. "I'm finally in the Top 10, I believe. I've done it."
In what has become a trend in Dollaway's recent fights, the victory came with a bit of showmanship. The former collegiate wrestler smiled at Carmont (22-9) and raised his arms mockingly in the air during the first round after blocking a few head kicks.
He dropped Carmont moments later with a left hook, but the French-Canadian didn't back down, as he recovered and offered a smiling, arms-raised gesture back at Dollaway once he was back on his feet.
The later rounds of the fight clearly belonged to Dollaway, however, as he imposed his will with offensive wrestling and showcased good striking defense. He scored three takedowns in the final two rounds, wearing Carmont out in the process.
With 2:30 remaining in the final round, Carmont managed to work back to his feet from a Dollaway takedown and landed a hard elbow in the clinch along the fence. But he surrendered a takedown shortly after, which sealed Dollaway the round.
Fighting out of Tempe, Arizona, Dollaway is now 4-1 in his last five fights. His only loss during the run was a narrow split decision to Tim Boetsch in October. Carmont has now gone 0-2 to start the year, after entering 2014 on an 11-fight win streak.
Strickland stays unbeaten after defeating Barnatt
Middleweight Sean Strickland managed to maintain his perfect pro record, despite an injury to his right hand that clearly affected his aggressiveness in the fight.
Strickland (14-0) narrowly defeated Luke Barnatt via split decision even though cage-side stats had Barnatt ahead on strikes landed, 73-55.
The fight was tenuous throughout, as Strickland circled away from Barnatt (8-1) the majority of the fight while throwing mostly a counter jab. The reason why became apparent immediately afterward, when Strickland complained in the cage of an injured right hand.
Two judges scored the contest for Strickland, 30-27 and 29-28. A third saw it for Barnatt, 29-28. ESPN.com scored the contest 29-28 for Barnatt.
Barnatt's best work of the fight came in the second round, as he finally found range on his straight right off the jab. He succeeded in putting Strickland on the fence at times, limiting his movement and sizing up the right hand.
Strickland suffered a small cut under his right eye in the final round, but was never really hurt in the 15-minute affair. He continued to pepper away on Barnatt with counter jabs and outside leg kicks. He attempted just two takedowns, landing one.
One thing he clearly did was frustrate Barnatt, who could be heard complaining of Strickland's unwillingness to engage late in the fight. A former contestant on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, Barnatt suffered his first career loss.