(Don’t be afraid to stare. Roy Nelson is all man and he doesn’t care who knows it. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)
Hope you’ve got your bucket of Bojangles fried chicken and your usual Wednesday night energy drink/prescription allergy medication buzz, because Charlotte is ready to rock for UFC Fight Night 21. Tonight we find out whether Takanori Gomi still has any fireballs left in his arsenal, as well as whether Roy Nelson can find a way inside of Stefan Struve’s reach without having his face turned to mush. Keep it locked right here for live results and commentary, or else spend the rest of your life wondering whether you might have missed the best fat joke ever told.
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Pearson darts in with a jab and Siver looks to keep him at bay with leg kicks. Both these guys look content to keep it standing for now, and with the hard hooks they’re throwing it seems like somebody’s going to mess around and get hurt that way. Pearson looks for a clinch but Siver ain’t having it. His left eye has puffed up some, however, showing the signs of Pearson’s right. Another hard right from Pearson staggers Siver. A superman punch from Pearson is followed up by a headkick, and Siver is in a bit of trouble. Pearson gets Siver’s back in the final minute. A bloodied Siver escapes to his feet and fires off a flurry before the bell sounds. It’s still Pearson’s round, 10-9.
Pearson seems to be finding his range now, sticking Siver when he wants and staying out of the way of counters. Siver looks for a takedown but can’t come close. And there’s the Siver spinning back kick to the gut. Pearson takes it and seems mostly unfazed. Jumping knee from Pearson, and he seems to be really opening up his attack. Siver gets a takedown and then briefly takes Pearson’s back, but loses it and they get back to the feet. The round ends with Pearson looking fresher and sharper. Another 10-9 round for the Brit.
Siver just can’t seem to figure out where Pearson is. He keeps getting stuck with jabs and is looking increasingly discouraged. Hard right stings Siver, but he comes right back with a takedown, landing in Pearson’s guard. Back on their feet, Pearson goes back to work and briefly tosses Siver down before allowing him to scramble up. Pearson just tagging Siver at will in the last thirty seconds. This should be an easy decision.
Ross Pearson def. Dennis Siver via unanimous decision
Pearson says Siver’s back kick tickled a little bit. Is that a British idiom for ‘hurt like hell’?
We pause so Goldberg can interview B.J. Penn, and the first question is the always probing, “Are you ready?” Really digging deep here.
A lot of feeling out going on early, trading tentative leg kicks, and some jackass will not quit screaming. Sounds like one of the judges has fallen asleep and is having a night terror. Rivera stings Quarry with a punch and Nate’s chin lifts up dangerously high. Rivera comes charging in and drops Quarry with a looping right. Quarry scrambles back to his feet quickly and gives some back before getting out of harm’s way. Another hard right from Rivera. Very little head movement from Quarry. Rivera drops him again and has him bloodied up. Quarry looks shaky with his back against the fence. Rivera is unloading on him and Quarry is just trying to survive now. He makes it out of the round, but just barely.
Quarry comes out looking to be aggressive in the second frame. He succeeds in pushing Rivera back, but it seems like he’s lost his snap. A hard right from Rivera stuns Quarry, and a follow-up left hook drops him. He’s just covering up and waiting for it to be over. Yamasaki has mercy upon him and stops it as Rivera rains down hammer fists.
Jorge Rivera def. Nate Quarry via TKO (punches) at 0:29 of round 2
Rivera gets emotional talking about Jesus, says he asked for this fight because he knew it would be a good one for the fans. Milford, Mass — what!
Dana White drops by with Joe Rogan to pump us up for the premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which, in case you haven’t heard, is on right after this event. Rogan walks right up the brink of asking him whether the Tito injury rumors are true, but he stops short of mentioning that particular rumor, and obviously DW isn’t giving anything away. So what did we learn? That both Chuck and Tito are “psycho competitive.” Great.
Roy Nelson vs. Stefan Struve
A power outage in the arena puts the fight on hold. Come on, Bojangles Coliseum. You’re in the big time now. Act like it.
We bide our time with Caol Uno vs. Gleison Tibau from the prelims. Tibau drops Uno with some huge punches midway through the first, then again before jumping on him to finish Uno with strikes from the top with less than a minute left in the round. Uno isn’t sure where he is when he gets up. You can’t blame him for wanting to be somewhere else just now.
Joe Rogan’s explanation for the power outage on Twitter: "Arianny plugged her vibrator in backstage and crushed the circuit breaker." Wow.
Nelson seems to be having no trouble at all getting inside Struve’s reach. He’s winging big looping right hands that reach Struve’s jaw at their apex. A big right from Nelson drops Struve to the canvas and several heavy follow-up blows seal the deal. And there’s the trademark belly rub. It’s officially a “Big Country” party now.
Roy Nelson def. Stefan Struve via TKO (punches) at 0:39 of round 1
Nelson says Struve will be a stud when he’s 25, presumably because then he’ll be able to rent a car. When asked who he’d like to fight next he responds, "James Toney." This gets a laugh from Joe Rogan.
Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi
Okay, it’s still weird to see Gomi in the Octagon. Not sure when I’ll get over that. They’re both cautious to start the fight. Florian is testing the range with his right hand jab. Good leg kick from Florian. Gomi tosses a hard right and Florian blocks it, clearly cognizant of Gomi’s power. Florian’s brother shouts from the corner, trying to keep Kenny from getting into a brawl with a power puncher. A left from Gomi stings Florian, but KenFlo comes back with a couple nice jabs to pop his head back. Florian’s jab is proving to be the difference-maker so far. It’s a close round, but Florian may have won it by being busier.
The more Florian proves himself to be better able to land at will, the more Gomi seems to be looking for one big shot. Florian eats a punch and then grabs Gomi in a clinch for a body shot. Florian looks like he might want a takedown, but Gomi stops it before he can even get started. Gomi misses big with a uppercut, and then with a head kick. Is he getting desperate? Possibly, but Florian is definitely ahead on the scorecards now.
Florian starts the round with a shot and then settles for a clinch against the cage. They separate and go back to staring at each other in the center of the cage, but the next takedown attempt from Florian is a big winner. He lands in Gomi’s guard and looks to introduce him to the hellbows. Florian passes the guard and mounts Gomi, who then gives up his back. Florian quickly locks up the rear naked choke, and Gomi is forced to tap. Impressive, patient performance from KenFlo.
Kenny Florian def. Takanori Gomi via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:52 of round 3
That’s it for us. Enjoy the premiere of the new "Ultimate Fighter" season, and we’ll talk tomorrow.