Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares walked away a winner at UFC 134. | File Photo: Sherdog.com
Middleweight contender Rousimar Palhares won a unanimous decision from AMA Fight Club standout Dan Miller in a rousing preliminary matchup at UFC 134 “Silva vs. Okami” on Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Scores were 29-27, 30-27 and 30-25, all for Palhares (13-3, 6-2 UFC), who has recorded five wins in his past six appearances.
This 185-pound scrap had it all, including the bizarre.
Palhares dropped the former International Fight League champion with a first-round head kick and swarmed him with punches. Miller (13-6, 1 NC, 5-4 UFC) covered up, and, for reasons known only to him, Palhares raised his arms in triumph, turned away and, believed the fight was over, scaled the cage. Referee Herb Dean, however, never called for a stop to the match, and Palhares was forced to restart. Miller capitalized on the second chance, as he cracked and floored the Brazilian with a straight left hand. He, too, could not finish.
A Brazilian Top Team representative, Palhares established his superiority in the second round. There, he grounded Miller and whacked him with merciless ground-and-pound, his muscular arms delivering punches, hammerfists and elbows to the head, causing significant damage to his opponent’s left eye. Miller, who still has never been finished, again survived the onslaught.
The pace of both men slowed noticeably in the third, where Miller went to work with his jab and straight right hand. However, after absorbing a hellacious beating the round before, he did not have enough in the tank to force the issue.
Tavares Grounds, Stops Fisher
Thiago Tavares stopped the well-traveled and respected Spencer Fisher on second-round punches from a mounted position in their preliminary lightweight bout. The end came 2:51 into round two.
Tavares (16-4-1, 6-4-1 UFC) did not oblige the dangerous and savvy Fisher with a standup battle. Instead, he employed a clinch-and-ground attack that neutralized and frustrated the 35-year-old Cashiers, N.C., native. In the second round, he took down Fisher, went to work with ground-and-pound and ultimately moved to a mounted position. From there, he showered Fisher (24-8, 9-7 UFC) with unanswered blows and forced the stoppage.
Mitchell No Match for Thiago
Thiago set the tone from the start, as he secured a first-round takedown, moved to side control and hunted for an arm-triangle choke. Later, following another takedown, he set up a brabo choke and transitioned briefly to a topside crucifix. Mitchell (11-2, 0-2 UFC) had no answer for him, and three more takedowns, along with some ground-and-pound, greeted him in round two. Thiago’s attack drew blood on the bridge of the American’s nose.
In control, Thiago went back to work in the third round, where he landed a solid overhand right, hopped into back control and nearly closed out the victory with a rear-naked choke. However, the clock was on Mitchell’s side, and he survived.
“I trained a great deal for this,” Thiago said. “My opponent was very tough, but I was able to get this one. I am [an] employee, so whatever [the UFC decides], I will do, and I’ll be happy for it.”
Assuncao Victorious in Bantamweight Debut
Raphael Assuncao greeted UFC newcomer Johnny Eduardo rudely, as he made a successful transition to 135 pounds, taking a unanimous nod from the judges in their bantamweight dark match and halted the Bellator Fighting Championships veteran’s 11-fight winning streak. Assuncao (17-4, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards by matching 30-27 counts.
Assuncao was relentless in his pursuit of the clinch and effectively shut down his 33-year-old opponent’s striking game during the 15-minute encounter. Twice he seized Eduardo’s back from a standing position. Assuncao closed the distance at will, eating a few blows for his troubles but making sure he dictated the terms on which the fight was contested. He grounded Eduardo (25-9, 0-1 UFC) in all three rounds and might have finished him in the second, if not for lack of time. There, Assuncao drove him to the mat from behind, sank his hooks and threatened him with a rear-naked choke until the horn sounded.
Silva Stops Ramos in 40 Seconds
Erick Silva’s Octagon debut can only be described as utterly dazzling.
A brief feeling-out process gave way to violent aggression, as Silva (13-1, 1 NC, 1-0 UFC) charged forward with a lead left hand and followed with a wicked right over the top. The punch hit its intended target, and Luis Ramos collapsed to the mat. A follow-up flurry from the 27-year-old Silva, one of Brazil’s top prospects, forced referee Herb Dean to intervene just 40 seconds after the preliminary welterweight matchup began.
Ramos (19-7, 0-1 UFC), an injury replacement for American Kickboxing Academy representative Mike Swick, entered the cage on a three-fight winning streak. The Nova Uniao standout and Shooto champion had been finished only once in his previous 25 outings.
Jungle Fight lightweight champion Yuri Alcantara extended his winning streak to 12 fights with a unanimous decision victory over fellow UFC rookie Felipe Arantes in an undercard bout at 145 pounds. All three judges scored it for Alcantara (26-3, 1-0 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Alcantara controlled much of the matchup with takedowns, top control and ground-and-pound. The 31-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt opened a cut near Arantes’ right eye in the first round, mounted and threatened him with a topside triangle in the second and secured three takedowns in the third. The 23-year-old Arantes (13-4, 2 NC, 0-1 UFC), who entered his promotional debut unbeaten in his previous nine appearances, had difficulty mounting any offense of note and ultimately bowed to his more experienced countryman.
Judges Award Jabouin Split Verdict
Accurate strikes, textbook low kick-punch combinations and the occasional takedown carried Haitian-born Canadian Yves Jabouin to his first UFC victory, as he eked out a split decision against Team Quest representative Ian Loveland in a preliminary bantamweight matchup. Two of the three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Jabouin. A third ruled it 30-27 for Loveland.
Loveland (14-8, 1-2 UFC) was in his element as the fight unfolded in the first round, scoring with a takedown, passing to half guard and threatening his foe with a kimura. Later, he staggered Jabouin with a crackling blow to the head. The 32-year-old was not deterred, however, as he backed up Loveland with a right hand, followed with a flying knee and swarmed on “The Barn Owl” with punches to close out round one.
After escaping an early mount in the second round, Jabouin (16-7, 1-1 UFC) regained the momentum with beautiful body shots and a takedown. Round three followed a similar script, as Jabouin delivered another takedown and stepped on the gas in the standup department. Hand-and-foot combinations, right hands and a liver kick put an exclamation point on it, at least for two of the judges.
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