Stefan Struve mauls Stipe Miocic in 2
In the first five-round fight of his career, Struve took a conservative approach in the first round but started to let his hands go in the second. He hurt Miocic for the first time with an uppercut midway through the round. The finish came on the heels of a hard straight right punch that had Miocic virtually out on his feet.
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Referee Herb Dean stepped in and saved Miocic from further punishment at the 3:50 mark.
"We trained for five rounds. I knew I had it in me," Struve said. "He slowed down in the second round. I caught him with an uppercut. I always want the finish. If I got him rocked, I'm going in for that kill."
Miocic, who was favored in the fight, showcased solid boxing skills by going to the body in the first round and wobbling Struve at one point with a hard right.
He had trouble dealing with the 7-footer's reach, though, when Struve started moving forward in the second round.
"I heard some complaints about my power in the past. I think they might change their opinion," Struve said. "I think I showed I have a good chin.
"(UFC president Dana White) said I'm about top five in the world. I'm pretty proud of that for a 24-year-old."
Struve (25-5) has finished all four fights on his current win streak. He's already won nine fights inside the Octagon, with his only losses coming to Travis Browne, Roy Nelson and current champion Junior dos Santos. Miocic (9-1) loses for the first time in his professional career.
Hardy keeps momentum, wins second straight
Fighting in his hometown of Nottingham, England, for the first time under the UFC banner, Hardy got off to a bit of a slow start but admitted that was partly due to a focus on not letting emotions get the better of him.
"I thought I might have the tendency to go out and trade punches," Hardy said. "I like a war as much as all you guys but I've got to be smart, be sensible and pick my shots. I had a good time tonight."
Sadollah pushed the pace early, landing leg kicks and stringing together punches more effectively than Hardy. Despite walking into a few counter left hands in the process, two of the three judges awarded Sadollah the first round.
A different Hardy came out in the second and third, moving forward and setting up several double leg takedowns. His most dominant stretch came in the third round. After taking Sadollah down, Hardy opened up multiple cuts with short elbows and looked extremely comfortable in Sadollah's guard.
Final scores read 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 all for the Brit.
Hardy (25-10-1) now has won two straight after a four-fight losing streak that nearly saw him cut from the UFC. Sadollah (6-4) continues his hit-and-miss ways. The 32-year-old has avoided back-to-back losses in his career but has never strung together a win streak of more than two.
Pickett knocks out Jabouin in first
It was actually Jabouin's speed that stood out early. The bantamweight eluded Pickett's striking with crisp head movement and answered with effective counter striking.
Jabouin was well on his way to winning the round when Pickett caught him. The finish came 3:40 into the fight.
"When my name is 'One Punch,' it puts added pressure," Pickett said. "That's my first stoppage in a long time. I've been getting submissions. To be honest, to get it against who I think is technically the best striker in our division -- I'm stoked."
Pickett used constant pressure throughout the fight to back up Jabouin. He admitted the finish came when he was actually setting up a takedown attempt to steal the round.
"I was putting a lot of pressure on him," he said. "I was trying to get a good double leg (takedown) but I do have a lot of success with the uppercut."
Pickett (22-6) has won three of his last four fights, with the loss coming by way of submission to interim champion Renan Barao. Jabouin (18-8) sees a three-fight win streak in the Octagon snapped.
Wiman scores first-round submission over Sass
Yet another Paul Sass fight ended in submission -- but for the first time in his career, it was the Brit on the wrong end of it.
Lightweight Matt Wiman ended Sass's unbeaten run, submitting the ground specialist in the first round via armbar. The finish came after Sass had threatened with several submission attempts of his own.
"I had a lot of respect for the guy," Wiman said. "He's never lost before. He's never tasted defeat. You have to go in there and take it from him."
Sass wasted no time getting Wiman to the ground but lost top position when he rolled into a leglock attempt. After more grappling exchanges, Wiman nearly locked in a triangle choke from off his back before settling into the armbar finish. The stoppage came at the 3:48 mark of the first round.
It's a big win for UFC veteran Wiman (15-6), who now has won five of his last six fights. Sass (13-1) drops to 3-1 since joining the UFC in October 2010.
Hathaway cruises over Maguire in slow fight
John Hathaway continues to stack up wins in the UFC, adding a unanimous decision win over John Maguire to his resume.
All three judges scored it 30-27 for Hathaway, who utilized his reach and wrestling advantages to control the fight.
A lackluster performance by Maguire certainly contributed to Hathaway's win. Urges from Maguire's corner to pick up the pace went ignored. After spending most of the fight circling away and attempting feeble counter strikes, Maguire found life in the final minute with a late takedown but was well behind on the scorecards.
Hathaway (17-1) improves to 7-1 in the UFC, but his inability to finish has likely had an effect on his standing in the 170-pound division. The Brit hasn't finished an opponent since his UFC debut in January 2009.
Maguire (18-4) suffered his first loss since May 2010, snapping a seven-fight win streak.
Mills earns win after Ludwig suffers leg injury
A leg injury put an early end to Duane Ludwig's night and resulted in a first-round TKO victory for Che Mills.
Dean stopped the action less than three minutes in when Ludwig, in visible pain, began clutching at his left knee. The injury may have occurred during an early takedown attempt by Mills.
Mills was in control for the short duration of the fight. His size advantage showed, as he had early success getting Ludwig to the canvas and roughing him up with elbows.
"To be honest, there wasn't a set game plan," Mills said after the fight. "I've been training so hard in all areas -- it was wherever I felt comfortable. The takedown was there, so I took it."
It's not the first time a leg injury has forced Ludwig (21-14) out of a fight. In March 2010, his fight against Darren Elkins was stopped in the first round after he suffered an ankle injury after landing awkwardly during a takedown.
For Mills (15-5-1), it's a nice bounce back from a second-round TKO loss to Rory MacDonald at UFC 145. The Brit is now 2-1 inside the Octagon.
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