Short notice or not, when Spencer Fisher (Pictures) throws fists with Sam Stout (Pictures) the lightweights produce exciting moments.
Tuesday night in Hollywood, Fla., Fisher proved that when he is prepared -- unlike the March 2006 bout between the pair that saw Fisher go down by split decision despite agreeing to fight on two days notice -- the 31-year-old North Carolinian can be one of the most accurate power punchers in the lightweight division.
Headlining the latest UFC-promoted card at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Fisher and Stout were content to avoid the ground, making the high-paced stand-up bout a virtual 15-minute kickboxing war.
Standing goofy footed, Fisher unloaded crisp lead lefts and right hooks that slammed into Stout during the top half of round one. Stout, a champion kickboxer out of London, Ontario, Canada, stood up amazingly well under the pressure.
The last two minutes of the period saw Stout mount a charge, especially after a gash opened over Fisher's right eye. Fortunately for Fisher, the crimson river trickled down the side of his face and not into his eye, preventing the sting that comes when blood mixes with tears.
Stout could have taken the round with his rally had Fisher not punctuated the first stanza with another left that crashed into the Canadian as the horn sounded.
Unlike the first clash, when Fisher tired badly after cutting 20 pounds in two days to make the division limit, the high-paced bout continued in the second period, and it was clear by the middle of the period that Stout, who still hadn't displayed the effects of the fight on his face, simply didn't have the power to keep trading.
Between the second and third rounds, both fighters received positive reinforcement from their corners. While Fisher's crew asked him to take the fight down to the canvas, Stout's trainer Shawn Tompkins (Pictures) told his charge that he was winning every exchange, which in reality saw both fighters connect with knees, kicks and elbows in addition to the cornucopia of punches.
Though Tompkins had a great view of the fight, he clearly wasn't seeing Fisher (19-3-0) bounce heavy strikes off of every exposed area of his fighter's body.
They traded again until Fisher connected with a huge lead left that briefly put Stout (11-3-1) on a knee. Somehow, the 23-year-old Canadian again showed immense spirit by standing and firing back.
Fisher, who dedicated the win to his grandparents, found a dangerous rhythm in the third when he dropped a series of lead lefts, which clearly stood out as his best weapon in the rematch.
With the fight waning, Fisher, cut above and below his right eye, and Stout, his face a lumpy mess, slugged it out as the crowd responded with roars.
When it was done, judges at ringside -- Mike Roth, Chris Lee and Tim Vannatta -- saw it the same way: 30-27 for Fisher.
The win puts Fisher back in the title picture in a rapidly expanding lightweight division, which on June 23 weaves another story when veterans Jens Pulver (Pictures) and B.J. Penn (Pictures) square off for a second time.
Fitch makes most of opportunity
Jon Fitch (Pictures) was patient.
Undefeated in four UFC appearances, the former Purdue University wrestler had quietly established himself as a serious threat in the welterweight division. Yet with just one televised UFC bout to his credit, few fans have seen him in action.
Tonight, hoping to showcase himself to the SpikeTV audience, Fitch showed patience again, surviving a trying opening round versus Brazilian Roan Carneiro (Pictures) before adjusting in his corner and taking the bout at 1:07 of round two.
"For me this is the best victory because this is one of the best opponents I've ever faced," said Fitch (14-2-0, 1 NC) in the cage after the fight. "Regardless of whether people know [Carneiro] or not, I knew he was going to be a handful. He's extremely strong. I had trouble with his strength, and I'm one of the stronger guys in the weight class."
The Brazilian fought beautifully in the first, sidestepping strikes to twice put Fitch on his back. Carneiro (11-6-0) did his best to not let the opportunities go to waste, nearly locking in an anaconda choke, but Fitch showed poise and skill by preventing the Brazilian from rolling him over.
"It was pretty tight," said the 29-year-old Fitch. "I saw some tweety birds for a second."
If he was going to win, Carneiro, also 29, needed to duplicate the efficiency displayed in the opening five minutes. The American Kickboxing Academy trained welterweight showed how difficult a thing that is to do.
Saying afterwards that he needed one round to figure out Carneiro's range, Fitch listened to the advice of his corner between periods.
"My corner told me to double up on the jab," he said. "So I doubled up on the jab and then followed it up with the right hand."
A right hand followed by a stiff left to Carneiro's face endangered the Brazilian. Fitch has shown an ability to finish and this was no different. He pounded away with strikes and, as Carneiro was tangled beneath him, Fitch slapped on a rear-naked choke. For the first time in 17 fights, Carneiro was forced to tap to a submission.
"I hit him with a couple good shots and his neck just kind of came up," said the victorious fighter. "I slipped in and finished it."
Andrew McFedries needed just 33 seconds to put away Bulgarian middleweight Jordan Radev, who was believed to be one of Europe's top mixed martial arts prospects.
Known for heavy hands and the love for using them, McFedries (6-2-0) lit up the five-foot-seven UFC newcomer (11-2-0) with a right hand followed by a left hook.
Radev stumbled to the canvas and McFedries unloaded with three crippling shots to the chin that forced referee Jorge Alonso to bust up the beating.
"I was real worried that he was going to shoot, so I was trying to be lackadaisical, kinda lazy you know?" said the possum-playing McFedries. "He breezed by me. I threw that inside hook and laid it to him. I just had to keep going. I wasn't going to stop. And you know it. I got hands that are just, hard. I don't know how else to explain it."
Brazilian Thiago Tavares (Pictures), just 22 years of age, swarmed Jason Black (Pictures) and by the end of the opening frame had effectively shut the veteran wrestler's right eye.
Little changed as action moved into the second. Tavares walked out, took double underhooks and slammed Black, making his UFC debut at 155 pounds, hard to the canvas.
Black (21-3-1) enjoyed his best moment of the fight by sweeping Tavares off a Kimura, but placing the Brazilian on his back only set up a smooth transition to triangle choke, which was also used by Shinya Aoki (Pictures) last August to finish the American grappler.
Tavares, still undefeated in 13 fights, looked very good tonight, while Black's experiment at 155 failed to yield positive results. The loss is Black's third in five fights.
"I just have one quick question," Tavares said, "Dana White, who's next?"
Welterweight Forrest Petz (Pictures) took a lackluster decision over Luigi Fioravanti (Pictures). Following a slow open round, Petz (13-4-0) finally connected in the second. However he failed to capture the reeling Fioravanti (10-3-0) and at the end of three rounds needed the judges to walk away the winner (30-27, 29-28 twice).
After controlling action early against six-foot-four welterweight Tamden McCrory, Pete Spratt (Pictures) again fell victim to a submission inside the octagon, tapping at 2:04 of the second period.
Appearing to be well on his way to a win, the veteran Spratt (15-9-0) made the mistake of jumping into the UFC rookie's guard. McCrory, a welterweight undefeated in eight fights, responded by slapping on a triangle that elicited an immediate tap.
Gleison Tibau (Pictures) quickly took control in his fight against Jeff Cox (8-4-0) by working from the American's back before locking in an arm-triangle choke at 1:52 of the opening period.
Tibau, competing at 155 pounds, controlled Cox's left arm after the lightweight tried to spin his way out of the dangerous position. However, all that did was set up Tibau (14-4-0) to lock in the choke. After several perilous moments the Cleveland, Ohio-based fighter tapped out of the fight.
Anthony Johnson enjoyed his UFC debut, knocking out Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds. As Reiner (13-3-0) moved forward, Johnson (4-0-0) countered with a crisp uppercut followed by a left hook that put the Nebraskan down on the canvas for several minutes. Reiner would eventually walk out of the cage with some help.
The night's opening contest saw Nate Mohr (Pictures) out-point Luke Caudillo (12-7-0) after three grappling-deficient rounds. The final judges' tally saw it 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Mohr, who upped his record to 8-4-0.