Commentary

Kampmann rallies to submit Alves

Originally Published: March 2, 2012
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

The end came unexpectedly for Thiago Alves.

With a little more than a minute remaining in the final round of his welterweight bout with Martin Kampmann, it appeared that Alves was on his way to a unanimous decision victory.

But Alves, who spoke recently of not always feeling confident heading into some fights, was full of confidence on the feet Friday at Allphones Arena in Sydney.

He landed numerous straight right hands and left uppercuts throughout the fight that left Kampmann's face a swollen mess.

In the third round, Alves hurt Kampmann with a right hand and sent him reeling against the cage. But rather than stay on his feet, where he was in control, Alves lifted Kampmann and tossed him to the canvas.

In the process, Kampmann was able to apply a guillotine choke that forced Alves to tap at the 4:12 mark.

"Thiago caught me with some good shots," said Kampmann, who improved to 19-5. "He was tough to take down. I felt I was behind. I have all the respect for Thiago. He's a beast.

"I felt I had to really finish the fight."

While Alves controlled much of the standup action, Kampmann had his striking moments. A kick to the jaw from Kampmann in the first round wobbled Alves.

But the former No. 1 welterweight contender survived the strike and finished the round strong.

Alves was at his striking best in the second round. He hit Kampmann repeatedly with straight right hands, left uppercuts and kicks to Kampmann's left thigh.

Until Alves (19-9) went for that final takedown, he appeared well on his way to victory.

Benavidez punches his way to title shot

Joseph BenavidezJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesStrong and fearless, Joseph Benavidez takes aim at becoming the UFC's first flyweight champion.

Former UFC bantamweight contender Joseph Benavidez punched his ticket to the title bout with a second-round TKO of Yasuhiro Urushitani.

Benavidez dominated the action from the opening minute of the fight. He landed the sharper, harder strikes that often had Urushitani on his heels.

With seconds left in the first round, Benavidez was able to put a rear-naked choke on Urushitani that nearly ended the fight. The sound of the horn allowed Urushitani to survive.

But Benavidez made certain that time would not be a factor in the second round.

He landed a hard counter right hook that dropped Urushitani. Benavidez immediately pounced on his fallen opponent and began landing numerous punches.

Referee Steve Perceval jumped in to stop the assault 11 seconds into the round.

"I felt like would bring power to this division," said Benavidez, who improved to 16-2. "I was rocking everyone at 135 and putting them down. I think this is just a sign of things to come."

The loss drops Urushitani to a pro mixed martial arts record of 19-5-6.

Johnson, McCall battle to draw

Demetrious JohnsonJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesDemetrious Johnson, facing, and Ian McCall will meet again after battling to a draw.

In the UFC's first flyweight bout, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall battled to a majority draw (29-28 Johnson, 29-29 and 28-28).

The bout was originally announced as a split decision win for Johnson. ESPN.com scored the fight 29-28 for Johnson. Afterward, Dana White announced both men would meet in a rematch to determine an opponent for Benavidez in the flyweight tournament final.

Most fans in attendance at Allphones Arena were not happy when Johnson was announced the winner. Boos rang down on the Octagon after the judges' scorecards were read.

"My hat's off to him," Johnson said, after believing he was moving to the final. "I thought I won the first two rounds and he came on [late] and put it on me."

After seemingly taking the first two rounds of the fight by utilizing his superior footwork and striking skills, the fast-moving Johnson was overwhelmed on the ground for much of the third round.

In the final seconds of the fight McCall was able to flatten Johnson out and land several punches. It appeared that referee Leon Roberts might step in and stop the fight.

"I wasn't close to being finished," Johnson said. "I knew I had the first two rounds in the bag. I kept on pushing through and gave the referee the thumbs up to let him know I was OK the punches weren't hurting me. I wasn't out."

McCall, who was visibly disappointed by the announced decision, left the cage without speaking.

Philippou keeps it standing to beat McGee

Constantinos PhilippouJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesConstantinos Philippou's power proved to be the difference against Court McGee.

What made Court McGee unbeatable inside the Octagon was his ability to be competitive anywhere the fight took him. McGee is as comfortable standing as he is on the ground.

But against Constantinos Philippou, he was unable to get the fight to the ground and that proved to be his undoing. Philippou dominated the standup game and stuffed nearly every takedown attempt by McGee to earn a unanimous decision.

Each judge scored the fight 29-28 for Philippou, who handed McGee his first UFC loss. ESPN.com also had Philippou victorious by a score of 29-28.

Coming out on the short end of a fight is something McGee hasn't experienced in a while. He had won eight fights in a row (three under the Zuffa banner) entering the bout with Philippou. But he is now 14-2 as a professional mixed martial artist.

Philippou, a former amateur boxer, improves to 10-2 with one no contest. He has won three fights in a row.

Power-punching Te Huna stops Rosa

There aren't many light heavyweights who deliver more powerful punches than James Te Huna. It was a lesson Aaron Rosa learned first-hand.

Te Huna sat on his punches early, especially with right hooks, and found Rosa's jaw often en route to a first-round TKO victory.

After several minutes of punishment, Rosa had a cut under his left eye. But it was a hard right hand that would send him to the canvas, forcing referee Leon Roberts to jump in at the 2:08 mark.

Te Huna improves to 14-5. He has won two in a row.

Rosa (17-5) has dropped two of his three most recent fights.

Jordan celebrates Octagon debut with TKO win

Heavyweight Shawn Jordan showed no signs of Octagon jitters in his UFC debut as he finished Oli Thompson in the second round.

The heavyweights traded strikes for much of the fight, but it was Jordan (13-3) who landed the more telling strikes.

Jordan hurt Thompson in the first round with an uppercut, but could not stop him. That wasn't the case in the second round.

A right uppercut dropped Thompson (9-3) and referee Steve Percaval jumped in at the 1:07 mark.

Perosh punishes Penner en route to TKO

Anthony Perosh finally found his groove at 205 pounds, coming into this clash with Nick Penner on a two-fight win streak.

And he would not skip a beat, extending his streak to three with a first-round TKO. It was the third finish in a row for Perosh since he left the heavyweight division and returned to light heavyweight in February 2011.

His previous two wins came via submission.

Perosh used straight right hands to open a cut under the left eye of Penner early in the opening round.

He would later take Penner to the ground twice in the round, but during the second takedown Perosh refused to allow his foe to get up. Perosh pounded Penner to the point that referee John Sharp waved the fight off at the 4:59 mark.

"I think my ego just wanted to be a heavyweight, but I need to be at light heavyweight," Perosh said. "I'm strong, I'm big and nobody is going to outmuscle me. I'm competitive in this division."

Perosh, a native of Sydney, Australia, improves to 13-6. Penner, who entered this fight on an eight-fight win streak, falls to 11-2.

Miller unable to avenge brother's loss

Cole Miller had revenge on his mind entering this featherweight fight with Steven Siler.

It was Miller's intent to avenge the loss his brother, Micah, suffered to Siler during a bout on "The Ultimate Fighter" series.

Siler, however, would control most of the standup battle during the first two rounds en route to a unanimous decision.

All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Siler, as did ESPN.com.

"He's a very, very tough guy," Siler said after improving to 20-9. "I expected a war and I got it.

"I thought for sure I had the first two rounds. I rocked him a few times and I controlled the cage more."

Miller, who competed at 145 pounds for the first time since July 2006, falls to 18-6.

Newcomer Craig spoils Noke's homecoming

Australia native Kyle Noke was eager to rebound from a first-round submission loss to Ed Herman in August.

And nothing would be sweeter than doing so in front of his countrymen against UFC newcomer Andrew Craig in a middleweight bout. But Craig would not cooperate.

After nearly being submitted several times in the first round, Craig rebounded in the second and third rounds to earn a unanimous decision.

Each of the three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Craig. ESPN.com also had Craig winning the fight 29-28.

Craig got stronger and more confident as the fight wore on. He used a powerful double-leg takedown in the third round to secure the win.

"I tend to start off slow," said Craig, who improved to 7-0.

Noke (19-6-1) drops his second fight in a row.

Waldburger halts Hecht's win streak at four

It was no secret that T.J. Waldburger wanted to take Jake Hecht to the ground, where he could utilize his jiu-jitsu skills. And he got what he wanted in their welterweight matchup.

Waldburger took Hecht down early in the opening round and applied an armbar that Hecht was unable to escape. Hecht would tap at the 55-second mark.

"I don't like to go the distance," Waldburger said. "I want to finish these fights.

"I'm a well-rounded guy. He gave me an arm and I took it."

Waldburger has now won two fights in a row, improving to 15-6 overall.

Hecht falls to 11-3 after entering the cage on a four-fight win streak.

Pineda takes out Semerzier in first round

Just six weeks after submitting Pat Schilling in the first round of his UFC debut, Daniel Pineda treated fellow featherweight Mackens Semerzier in similar fashion.

Pineda forced Semerzier to tap at 2:05 of the first round for his second win inside the Octagon.

A left hook from Pineda dropped Semerzier. Shortly thereafter, Pienda applied a mounted triangle, but was in no mood to quit.

However, Semerzier's right arm was exposed and Pineda attacked it. Semerzier would tap shortly after.

"I worked hard for this," said Pineda, who improved to 17-7, 2-0 inside the Octagon. "It was on short noticed, but hard work pays off."

Semerzier slips to 6-4 with one no contest.

Franklin McNeil covers MMA and boxing for ESPN.com. He also appears regularly on "MMA Live." Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil.