It’s fight night in Connecticut. In fact, it’s two fight nights in Connecticut. For the first time, Bellator MMA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship are hosting events on the same night in the same state!
We’re casting focus on the UFC for tonight’s play-by-play.
UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Mousasi features a meeting of two of MMA’s middleweight elite. Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza is touted as a possible next challenger for the middleweight belt, but he’ll have to get through Gegard Mousasi here to earn that opportunity. The fight is also a rematch of their 2008 Strikeforce bout, won by Mousasi via knockout.
Tonight may have something for everyone. On the undercard, heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Ben Rothwell promise a hard-hitting, standup-heavy slug-fest; and a bout between lightweights Michael Chiesa and Joe Lauzon pairs two of the division’s better grapplers.
We’ll begin calling the action with the preliminary bouts at 7 pm EST, 4 pm PST. Please join us, and hit refresh often for the latest update.
Preliminary Card (to be televised on Fox Sports 1: 7 pm EST, 4 pm PST)
Featherweights: Chas Skelly vs. Sean Soriano
Former NAIA wrestling All-American Skelly is a -200 favorite, although fighting on short notice after winning a UFC bout — a round one submission — just 13 days ago. 8-1 Soriano is from nearby Rhode Island but fights out of Florida.
Round One: Skelly clinches up right away, Soriano gets a knee to the body in before getting dropped to the mat. Soriano scrambles to his feet, and Skelly gets back standing, looking for another rear naked choke victory. At one point, he kicks off the cage and drives him to the mat. Soriano finally escapes to Skelly’s guard for a few elbows. Skelly looking for omoplata, then kneebar. Skelly gets another “back take” as Soriano scrambles away. Skelly looking for the choke with both hooks in, Soriano again reverses into Skelly’s guard as time expires. 10-9 Skelly.
Round Two: Soriano with great hand combo’s, ending with a good left hook to the body. They clinch and Skelly is flagged for a knee to the groin. The knee hit prior to a Skelly takedown — but after they’re stood up, the fighters are arranged back on the mat (after the takedown). Huh?
Press row is confused:
That was a brutal moment from Herb. If you stop it for the foul, you don't give the advantageous position that resulted back to the fouler
— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) September 5, 2014
Skelly maneuvers to the back again. Soriano turtled up with about two minutes left. Skelly transitions to mount, then back mount again. He’s looking for the choke, lands a few punches besides. Time expires on the round. 10-9, Skelly.
Round Three: More nice hand combo’s to start, until Skelly gets the takedown and the back. Am I watching an instant replay… no, this is live. Skelly looking for the rear naked choke again. Soriano escapes to Skelly’s guard and lands an elbow. No, really this the third round, not the first or second. Skelly looking for armbar from guard, Soriano looking for his back. Mistake! Skelly looks for leglock, transitions into a sweep to side control. Skelly mounts. Time expires as he tries some light ground-and-pound. 10-9 Skelly.
Chas Skelly defeats Sean Soriano by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bantamweights: Chris Beal vs. Tateki Matsuda
Both guys are noted as strikers. Ventura, CA’s Beal is 9-0, with a flying knee KO in his last UFC appearance, and is about a five to one favorite. Japan’s 10-5 Matsuda is a late replacement; he’s based in the Boston area.
Round One: Matsuda looking for leg kicks to begin, then fails with a double leg shot. Beal with a double, looks for arm triangle while in Matsuda’s half guard. Matsuda rolls to escape, but is whipped back to the mat. Matsuda eats some elbows, then bridges, and Beal looks for guillotine choke in transition. Matsuda escapes and advances to side control nicely. Beal escapes to his feet. Doctor in to look at a Matsuda cut. Re-start, Beal lands a nice uppercut in an exchange. Hard leg kicks from Matsuda; he’s landed a few now. 10-9 Beal.
Round Two: Matsuda switching stances with fluidity for striking combo’s, often landing heavy round kicks. Nice right hand from him, too. Beal moving slowly to avoid damage. Matsuda misses a head kick, lands a right. He’s out-landing Beal two-to-one now. Good left-right combo from Beal. Matsuda gets a takedown, Beal reverses into mount. Big elbow from Beal. Matsuda to half guard, still taking big shots. Cut opened again as time expires. Ugh, I’ll go Matsuda but he made a huge mistake and took some bad damage at the end, so nothing would surprise me with that scoring. 10-9 Matsuda.
Round Three: Leg kicks from Matsuda, both guys throwing hand combo’s but mostly missing. Beal with a takedown, looking for the back as they’re pressed to the cage. Beal back in mount. Matsuda recovers guard. Beal with some light ground and pound. Big right from Beal. Good elbows from Beal, as Matsuda rocks his hips up to look for a sweep. Beal keeps on the pressure, bouncing Matsuda to the mat as time expires. 10-9, Beal.
Chris Beal defeats Tateki Matsuda by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Middleweights: Chris Camozzi vs. Rafael “Sapo” Natal
Two guys with recent ups-and-downs, “in need of a win” as the commentators say. 19-8 Camozzi has lost three straight, but his striking-heavy offense has earned some solid wins (Nick Ring and Luis Cane). 17-6-1 Natal is basically a pure BJJ fighter who has lost his last two — he’s a -175 favorite here.
Round One: Sapo with leg kicks to start. Sapo with front kicks to the body. Camozzi with inside leg kicks. Big, if awkward, 2-1 from Sapo. Camozzi’s inside leg kick landing. Wild swinging from Sapo, who finally shoots in for the double leg takedown. Camozzi fights to his feet. Tepid standup exchange ends the stanza. 10-9, Sapo.
Round Two: Awkward hand combo’s from both, Sapo with the better kicks. Camozzi backs Sapo against the cage, lands a good elbow. Sapo with a nice single leg, looks for the back. Camozzi scrambles to his feet, and we’re back against the cage. They disengage, then back to the cage, and Camozzi with an elbow in the clinch. Sapo switches position for a knee to the body. Neither guy did enough here. 10-10.
Round Three: More tepid standup, Camozzi finally hits a solid punching combo, then a good inside leg kick. They clinch to the cage, and nice knee to the body from Camozzi. Camozzi carrying the round now. Good kick to the body. Big hook rocks Sapo, but he clinches. 10-9, Camozzi.
Camozzi likely to win, but I've got this a draw: Camozzi's striking carries r3, Sapo busier r1, neither really earned r2
— Tommy Hackett (@tommy_hackett) September 6, 2014
I was wrong — Sapo takes it. I’d rather see him again anyway, to be honest.
Rafael “Sapo” Natal defeats Chris Camozzi by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Lightweights: Rodrigo Damm vs. Al Iaquinta
Long Island’s Iaquinta, 8-3-1, is the night’s biggest favorite at -600 over the 34 year old Brazilian, 12-7 Damm.
Round One: Iaquinta stalking Damm to begin, neither guy landing much of anything. Nice leg kick from Iaquinta. Nice jab to the body from Iaquinta. Iaquinta stuffs a Damm takedown and lands a 1-2, staggering Damm. Damm recovers but Iaquinta’s jab carries the remainder of the round. 10-9, Iaquinta.
Round Two: Good jabs from Iaquinta. Damm with a 1-2-3 combo. Iaquinta with good leg kicks and jabs to head and body. Iaquinta lancing with 1-2’s. Damm switching from orthodox to southpaw, firing hand combo’s to little effect. Iaquinta dominating with volume, finally hits a hard shot — a head kick. His attack is patient, and Damm survives to see the end of the round. 10-9, Iaquinta.
Round Three: More of the same, Damm holding steady while Iaquinta lands combo’s in a staccato rhythm — head and body. Boom! Iaquinta lands a big straight punch, and Damm collapses to the mat. Iaquinta walks off like he’s got it won, but no call from referee Herb Dean! They re-start as Damm gets to his feet, and a great striking exchange — Damm landing head kick! Iaquinta with a big 1-2, then two elbows crack Damm to the head. Dean steps in this time — as Damm is looking for a leg lock?
What a weird finish! Damm was shaken though, and dominated from nearly the opening bell.
Al Iaquinta defeats Rodrigo Damm via TKO (punches) at 2:41 of round three
Flyweights: John Moraga vs. Justin Scoggins
The 14-3, 30 year old Moraga is a former title contender trying to get back in the mix, the 9-1 “Tank” Scoggins a 22 year old young gun trying to bounce back from his first career loss. Moraga is listed a +190 underdog despite being ranked #5 by UFC, and Scoggins unranked.
Round One: Scoggins shoots almost immediately. Moraga looking guillotine but no dice. Scoggins in Moraga’s closed guard. They bounce to their feet in a scramble, with Scoggins again shooting in successfully. Scoggins with some light g’n’p. Scoggins opens a cut with an elbow and passes to briefly to mount. Moraga re-positions guard, but another nice pass from Scoggins. Another scramble to the feet. Scoggins hits side kicks and spinning kicks, then a double leg drops us back to the mat as time expires. 10-9, Scoggins.
On social media, Bellator is getting a little more attention than this show right now. Anthony Pettis’ jiu-jitsu trainer tweets:
— Daniel Wanderley (@danielswbjj) September 6, 2014
Round Two: Moraga is taken down again, looks for guillotine. Looks like he’s flat on his shoulders, but Scoggins taps! Whoa! Moraga has a world-class squeeze.
John Moraga defeats Justin Scoggins by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:47 of round two
Main Card (to be televised on Fox Sports 1: 10 pm EST, 7 pm PST)
Lightweights: Michael Chiesa vs. Joe Lauzon
Great-looking matchup here, with UFC hyping both guys and their personal trials: 23-10 Lauzon’s son beating cancer, 11-1 Chiesa losing his father before winning his season of TUF. Both are great grapplers and Lauzon has never been in a bad fight. Chiesa is a -190 favorite.
Round One: Lauzon catches a kick, brings Chiesa down and looks for the back. Chiesa scrambles to his feet. New England crowd chanting for Lauzon. Chiesa with double under-hooks, they disengage. Both pawing at range with the jab. A right jab lands from southpaw Chiesa. Takedown from Chiesa, goes right for the back. Lauzon escapes beautifully, gets side control, and then back mount with hooks! Light ground and pound from Lauzon when he doesn’t get the choke. Nice scramble and Chiesa out. Big knee to the chin stops a Lauzon rally. They’re swinging away as the horn sounds. I’ll go 10-9 Chiesa but what a round, could go either way.
Round Two: They exchange striking combo’s, Chiesa’s the more significant. Great takedown by Lauzon off a Chiesa knee strike. Back up, Lauzon fails with an attempt at a rolling Kimura. Big knee to head, and uppercut by Lauzon. Chiesa cut, but he’s trying to rally, looking for Thai clinch knees. Big body punch by Chiesa. They’re stopping to look at the cut. It’s over!!!
Joe Lauzon defeats Michael Chiesa via TKO (knee and punches) at 2:14 of round two
Heavyweights: Derrick Lewis vs. Matt Mitrione
Two sluggers, with 36 year old Mitrione in his 11th UFC (and MMA) bout. He’s underdog here against 11-2 29 year old Lewis.
Round One: BOOM! Huge right hand blasts Lewis. Lewis lunged right into the forearm. Lewis crumbles to the corner where he takes several more ugly haymaker rights. Referee Mario Yamasaki steps in.
So much for the standup war, but big win for Mitrione. Mitrione stood above Lewis and yelled, as Lewis complained to Yamasaki. Not so classy.
Matt Mitrione defeats Derrick Lewis by KO (punches) at 0:41 of round one
Chiesa is upset about the stoppage:
I hope you all were entertained, you guys got robbed as much as me. That fight was going to be a 3 rd war. We all got robbed.
— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) September 6, 2014
Lots of time-killing on this show, due in part to quick finishes and in part to the cancellation of the Oliveira bout. Ariel Helwani runs down the UFC’s best moments in CT, including Penn/Pulver 1. Fun stuff.
Heavyweights: Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell
Overeem a -395 favorite here in the co-main.
Round One: Overhand right, then oblique kick from Overeem. Knees to the body, and a round kick to the body from Overeem. Leg kick from Overeem is checked. Boom! Big uppercut stuns Overeem. They clinch, then disengage. Rothwell glances a left hook to the body. Knee and then kick to the body from Overeem. Massive right DROPS Overeem. Rothwell pounces with more punches and it’s over!
Ben Rothwell defeats Alistair Overeem by TKO (punches) at 2:19 of round one
Middleweights: Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi
Jacaré a two to one favorite. Here we go!
Round One: Low single from Jacaré, Mousasi avoids it. Mousasi looking to establish jab. Jacaré pins Mousasi against the cage, looking for a footsweep (?). Double-underhooks now, looking for the reap, then the double leg. Mousasi dropped to the mat on the double. Jacaré advances from closed to half guard. Mousasi re-positions guard, looks for a triangle, and hits an up-kick as Jacaré stands. Jacaré dives right back into Mousasi’s guard, keeping the pressure. Jacaré looking for a Kimura grip as time expires. 10-9, Jacaré.
Round Two: Mousasi lancing with the jab, finally lands one. Left hook by Jacaré, followed by a big front kick to the chin. Mousasi clinches. Jacaré switches levels and gets another double leg. Light ground-and-pound as he looks for the pass. Minutes pass — Jacaré stands and avoids the up-kick, passing to side (finally). A minute left, he’s looking for the Kimura grip again. He’s got it — now stepping over the head. Mousasi barely squirming out of trouble as time expires. 10-9, Jacaré.
Round Three: Jabs from Mousasi. Mousasi clears his way from a clinch. Nice counter left from Jacaré, who ends a hand combo with another takedown. Mousasi eventually scrambles up, but he’s back down to the canvas courtesy another takedown.
Herb Dean telling Jacare to be active on the ground is like telling Picasso to hurry up and finish your goddamn painting.
— Terrence Chan (@tchanpoker) September 6, 2014
Mousasi looks to scramble again, but Jacaré gets his neck in a guillotine as he sits up. Jacaré rocks back and gets the tap!
Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza defeats Gegard Mousasi by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:30 of round three
Thank you for joining us! See you next time.