The drought is over for Joshua Burkman.
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2 graduate picked up his first Ultimate Fighting Championship victory in more than eight years, as he captured a unanimous decision from former EliteXC champion K.J. Noons at UFC Fight Night “Hendricks vs. Thompson” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Burkman (28-12, 6-7 UFC).
Noons (13-9, 2-3 UFC) offered up tepid offense, seemingly short-circuited by the mere threat of the takedown. Burkman attacked with kicks to the legs and body, fought well in the clinch and executed takedowns in the second and third rounds. Outside of the overhand left and right hook he landed in round two, Noons was a non-factor. Burkman put the finishing touches on the win in the waning moments of the third round, as he delivered a takedown and applied some ground-and-pound.
The 35-year-old Burkman had not won a fight inside the Octagon since he beat Forrest Petz at UFC 77 on Oct. 20, 2007.
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Lewis Spoils Grabowski Debut
Former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Derrick Lewis disposed of Damian Grabowski with punishing first-round ground-and-pound in a preliminary heavyweight duel. Bleeding from a cut on top of his head, Grabowski (20-3, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:17 into round one.
Lewis (14-4, 5-2 UFC) stuffed a takedown from the onetime M-1 Global champion, assumed top position and got busy with his hands. Grabowski tried and failed to scramble out of danger, eating heavy punches along the way. Lewis stepped out of the Polish veteran’s guard, reset himself on his feet and fired a standing-to-ground right hand. Though partially blocked, the punch was enough to force referee Mark Smith to act.
The 30-year-old Lewis has won eight of his past 10 bouts.
Scoggins Slows Borg Rise
Revolution MMA’s Justin Scoggins leaned on a hyperactive kicking game and superb takedown defense, as he claimed a unanimous decision over Ray Borg in a preliminary flyweight encounter. Scoggins (11-2, 4-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 marks from the judges.
Once his takedowns failed, Borg (9-2, 3-2 UFC) became increasingly ineffective and desperate. The 22-year-old Fit NHB standout even resorted to pulling guard in an attempt to initiate scrambles with Scoggins. Nothing seemed to work. Scoggins chopped at him with a relentless stream of kicks to the body, arms and head, mixing in sweeping left hooks to the body on occasion. The South Carolinian impressed in all phases, more than holding his own with the notoriously slippery Borg on the mat.
Scoggins has rattled off back-to-back wins.
Rivas Flying Knee KOs Lahat
“The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” alum Diego Rivas knocked out the American Kickboxing Academy’s Noad Lahat with a second-round flying knee and follow-up hammerfists in their undercard tilt at 145 pounds. Rivas (7-0, 2-0 UFC) brought it to a close 23 seconds into round two.
Lahat (9-2, 2-2 UFC) dominated the first five minutes with superior positional grappling. The 31-year-old Israeli twice achieved full mount and threatened Rivas with guillotine, arm-triangle and rear-naked chokes. None of them produced the desired finish. Early in the second round, Rivas met his adversary in the center of the cage with a crushing knee to the chin, the sound of the violent impact echoing through the arena. The unconscious Lahat dropped where he stood, his modest two-fight winning streak at an end.
Gall Choke Submits Jackson
Mickey Gall needed less than a minute to submit fellow Octagon rookie Mike Jackson with a first-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary welterweight pairing. Jackson (0-1, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 45 seconds into round one.
Gall (2-0, 1-0 UFC) floored the former Golden Gloves champion with a straight right, dove into top position and immediately advanced to the back. The Rutgers University graduate then secured his hooks, set the choke and waited for the tap.
The 24-year-old Gall expects to face former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar “CM Punk” Phil Brooks later this year.
White Downs ‘Ultimate Fighter’ Finalist Lobov
Stinging punches and strategic takedowns spurred Alex White to a unanimous decision over SBG Ireland export Artem Lobov in a three-round undercard battle at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for White (11-2, 2-2 UFC).
A finalist on Season 22 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Lobov (11-12-1, 0-2 UFC) never got going. Working behind a three-inch height and six-inch reach advantage, White punched effectively in combination and mixed in leg kicks when the mood struck. The 27-year-old Missouri native also executed takedowns in all three rounds, frustrating Lobov to the point of desperation and exhaustion.
The win snapped a two-fight losing streak for White.