B.J. Penn used his bad blood with Jens Pulver to fuel his win last night on The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale. Penn dominated the first round and with Pulver unable to counter Penn’s offense “The Prodigy” cinched in a rear naked choke late in the second round to avenge his loss to Pulver at UFC 35 and put their feud to rest.
The win will likely earn Penn a shot at the lightweight title while Pulver will likely go to World Extreme Cagefighting for his next contest at the lighte 145 lb. division.
In the other main event of the evening Manny Gamburyan squared off with Nate Diaz. Manny looked strong and powerful easily winning the first round to Diaz. A quick shoot in the second round and an awkward landing caused Gamburyan to aggravate a recurring shoulder injury which forced him to tap out and give Diaz the win. As the winner of the show Diaz received a six-figure UFC contract although I am sure we have not seen the last of Manny by any stretch. It is almost certain that once Manny heals we will see a rematch between the two talented lightweights.
Floyd Sword was unable to overcome the odds in his UFC debut as rising middleweight Thales Leites locked in a katagatami choke in the first round to win his second consecutive UFC fight.
The most impressive debut easily came in the first fight of the night as Alaskan fighter Doug Evans debuted in the octagon against Roger Huerta. Evans, a stellar wrestler, won the first round and controlled Huerta at will and looked calm, cool, and collected in the first part of his debut. Huerta came out in the second like the fighter most expected to see and regained control of the fight. A poor position cost Evans the fight after Huerta perched onto his back and landed unanswered shots as Evans couldn’t escape and the referee stepped in and stopped the fight raising stock in Huerta although the impressive debut effort by Evans will in all likelihood earn him another shot at earning his first UFC win.
In a fight many thought was going to be and perhaps should have been guaranteed a spot on the live portion of the show Joe Lauzon defeated an overweight Brandon Melendez with a triangle choke in the middle of the second round. Although the fight was eventually broadcast (along with 2 other undercard fights) many fans wanted Lauzon, who will in all likelihood be one of the most marketed fighters from the season, to be guaranteed television time. The win, along with his earlier upset of Jens Pulver, will surely put Lauzon in the UFC for a long time to come while Melendez will, and probably should, move up in weight based on his problems dropping to 155 pounds both on the show and prior to the finale.
Andy Wang did little to improve his stock as he was quickly TKO’d just over a minute into the first round by Cole Miller. Miller should be fighting the UFC again later this year while Wang will likely never fight in the organization again unless he has a successful run outside of the octagon.
In one of the oddest endings to a UFC fight ever Gray Maynard and Rob Emerson fought to a no contest in their official UFC debuts. Maynard dominated the first round although Emerson survived to push the fight to the second round. Early in the second Maynard landed an uppercut combo that shook Emerson. Maynard latched on to slam him to the mat but as he executed the takedown Maynard was knocked unconscious in the process. Emerson tapped out simultaneously and the fight was eventually ruled a no contest but not without controversy. This fight may ultimately happen again although Maynard surely did enough to earn another fight.
Leonard Garcia earned his first UFC win with a round 1 submission over Allen Berube. Although Berube put up a fight it is unlikely he will get another UFC fight, although he may ultimately fight for the WEC. Garcia earned a much needed win after losing a close decision fight to Huerta at UFC 69 earlier this year. The UFC has yet another marketable name in Garcia who now has a soaring lightweight stock.
Matt Wiman rounded out the 9 fight card with a round 1 win over Brian Geraghty. Wiman will surely return to the octagon following the successful UFC win and stint on The Ultimate Fighter 5.
- B.J. Penn def. Jens Pulver via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 2, 3:12
- Nate Diaz def. Manny Gamburyan via submission (injury) – Round 2, 0:20
- Thales Leites def. Floyd Sword via submission (katagatami choke) – Round 1, 3:50
- Roger Huerta def. Doug Evans via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:30
- Joe Lauzon def. Brandon Melendez via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:09
- Cole Miller def. Andy Wang via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:10
- Rob Emerson vs. Gray Maynard (no-contest – injuries) – Round 2, 0:45
- Leonard Garcia def. Allen Berube via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 4:22
- Matt Wiman def. Brian Geraghty via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:09