Tony Ferguson likely broke Aaron Riley's jaw at UFC 135. | File Photo: Sherdog.com
For the second time in his career, an apparent broken jaw derailed Aaron Riley.
A pair of thunderous left uppercuts from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson seemed to do the damage. Though Riley weathered the blows, the fight was called between rounds one and two at UFC 135 “Jones vs. Rampage” on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Riley (30-13-1, 3-5 UFC), bleeding heavily from the mouth, retreated to his corner and informed his team of the injury.
Ferguson (12-2, 2-0 UFC) fought at a measured pace and attacked Riley with a steady diet of power punches. The 27-year-old will carry a five-fight winning streak into his next match.
Boetsch Decisions Ring at 185
Tim Boetsch handed “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum Nick Ring his first professional defeat, as he leaned on power and technique to capture a unanimous decision in their preliminary middleweight duel. Boetsch (14-4, 5-3) carried all three scorecards: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Ring (12-1, 2-1 UFC) circled away from Boetsch for much of the first round, stuffed his attempted takedowns and limited “The Barbarian” to one punch on most exchanges. However, he could not maintain the pace. The tide took a significant turn in Boetsch’s favor in round two, as he delivered powerful combinations to the head, secured takedowns and threatened with a guillotine choke.
Visibly fatigued, Ring had little left for the third round. Boetsch wowed the crowd and shook the cage with a highlight-reel hip toss, worked elbows from top position and ultimately moved to mount, where he continued to batter his fading foe with punches.
Junior Assuncao made a triumphant return to the Octagon, as he grounded and controlled Eddie Yagin en route to a lopsided unanimous decision in their preliminary featherweight matchup. All three cageside judges scored it for Assuncao: 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26.
Assuncao (13-4, 2-2 UFC) struck for multiple takedowns, worked effectively from top position and defended against Yagin’s submission attempts without issue. He enjoyed his best moments in round three, as he freed himself from a Yagin (15-5-1, 0-1 UFC) choke, assumed a dominant position and dropped unanswered punches and elbows to the head and body. The 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has recorded seven consecutive victories.
Mizugaki Stops Escovedo in Second
Takeya Mizugaki wiped out former WEC champion Cole Escovedo with a hailstorm of second-round strikes in their undercard bout at 135 pounds. Escovedo (17-8, 0-2 UFC), who has lost four of his last five fights, met his end 4:30 into round two.
Mizugaki (14-7, 2-1 UFC) was the aggressor from the outset, as he largely walked through Escovedo’s punches and kicks, scored with a trip takedown and closed the first round as the stronger of the two bantamweights. In round two, he had Escovedo in retreat mode with blistering combinations and then buried him under sheer volume. Punches and knees flew before Mizugaki put away the 30-year-old Fresno, Calif., native with a left hook and follow-up strike on the ground.
Te Huna KOs Romero in 47 Seconds
A pair of brutal James Te Huna uppercuts knocked former two-division Ring of Combat champion Ricardo Romero unconscious in a preliminary light heavyweight matchup. It lasted less than a minute, ending with Romero face down on the canvas just 47 seconds after it began.
Te Huna (13-5, 2-1 UFC) made his foe pay for desperate takedown attempts, as he landed the finishing blows while Romero (11-3, 1-2 UFC) was at his ankles. The 29-year-old New Zealand native has rattled off seven wins in his last eight appearances.
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