Welcome fight fans to the last meaningful MMA card of 2012. Live from the Chicago branch of Inside Fights we’ll be covering UFC 155 from the opening bell to the final interviews from John Anik inside the Octagon. You can follow our coverage of the Facebook fights here. The best way to view them is either on Facebook or on YouTube.
Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga
Round 1 – Both fighters come out fairly tentative for the first part of the round. Moraga with a nice flurry early as he’s controlling the pace early. He gets a takedown at the two minute mark but can’t hold him down for a significant amount of time. Moraga is throwing more to the head than anywhere else; he’s throwing a lot of head kicks and Cariaso is content to keep it standing. Moraga is opening up his hips and normally this is where someone would go for the takedown; Cariaso is content to turn this into a kick boxing match. Moraga presses him against the cage underneath the two minute mark but can’t do much with it as Moraga gets away. Cariaso is throwing kicks but not setting them up with anything significant; Moraga is looking for the takedown off of his strikes. Cariaso lands a nice right that doesn’t do much. The round ends with some nice leg kicks but he’s telegraphing his kicks fairly openly; Moraga is looking to set up a takedown but Cariaso is using good movement to keep him away. Moraga 10-9
Round 2 – Cariaso opens up much more aggressively in the first round. He’s setting things up more effectively as well; he’s not just throwing for the sake of. He’s using combinations and Moraga isn’t nearly as aggressive because of it. He’s looking to go for a takedown but Cariaso is throwing much more to keep him away. Cariaso goes for the clinch and Moraga pushes him against the cage at the 90 second mark. Moraga pushes away and a nice flurry from the two as they move back to the center of the cage that Cariaso lands more on. Cariaso lands a nice head kick off a faith; Moraga is looking to level change and Cariaso is catching him before he shoots in. Moraga is moving in but Cariaso’s combinations are crisp. Moraga is pressing forward but Cariaso is landing. Moraga gets close and throws him to the ground and Cariaso is working off his back. He’s comfortable enough to try and do a standing pass, though, but can’t complete it. Cariaso back to his feet. Cariaso tries to get inside with a nice double jab off his left; Cariaso with a nice takedown and lands in full guard. Moraga spends the final 10 seconds of the round tying up to prevent anything drastic. Cariaso 10-9, 19-19
Round 3 - Cariaso comes out more aggressive again. He’s found his timing a bit more but eats some combinations for his trouble. Moraga goes for a body lock takedown and can’t finish. Moraga is much more aggressive but Cariaso goes for the clinch against the cage. He lines up a front headlock and gets a sweet power guillotine kind of front choke with a darce lockup. Cariaso taps to it at 1:11 of the 3rd round.
Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway
Round 1 – Holloway comes out looking to establish range with some kicks. Garcia responds in kind by throwing power shots as neither guy is landing much with their hands but landing hard with kicks. Garcia is staying technical and actually fighting instead of brawling. He lands a nice combination but gets clipped at the 90 second mark and dropped. He recovers quickly though. Garcia doesn’t respond by throwing wild haymakers, which is his usual response. It’s odd seeing him keep that level of composure. Garcia goes for the clinch but Holloway moves back. And scratch that as Garcia starts winding haymakers halfway through the round. He’s throwing wildly but he’s missing and Holloway is countering with better shot. Garcia with a big shot as Holloway wobbles a little bit. Holloway is keeping his composure as Garcia is getting more technical in his striking at times but this is slowly turning into a brawl. Holloway is countering him beautifully though. Garcia lands a nice right with 20 seconds left and a nice flurry after. Holloway 10-9
Round 2 - Garcia is in full brawling mode right as Holloway is much more aggressive early on. He’s using his kicks to try and keep him at bay as Garcia is trying to walk him down with his jab. Garcia is going for that big power right and Holloway is landing shots to that side with it. Holloway is being very disciplined here and not letting Garcia play his game. Flying knee from Holloway gets caught and Garcia throws him to the ground. Garcia lets him back up and pushes him against the cage; he wants to throw and wants nothing to do with Holloway’s ground game. Garcia is being more aggressive but Holloway is landing off the counter and much more often to the body. Garcia has abandoned his technical striking game and is winging power shots as Holloway is countering him effectively. Garcia isn’t nearly as wild but he’s going for power strikes much more and not setting things up. Big looping left and he half heartedly goes for a takedown that goes nowhere. Holloway looks to be tiring as he spends the final moments of the round getting into a brawl with Garcia. Garcia 10-9, 19-19
Round 3 – This is getting interesting now as both guys are coming out knowing they have to win this round. Holloway is sticking with his jab as Garcia keeps looking for big wild shots. The opening minute looks like a drunk who doesn’t know how to fight against a boxer who does. Holloway is countering him wonderfully. Garcia has also dropped his hands as he has no problem with Holloway’s power right now. Holloway is landing in volume but Garcia is just winging strikes. At the three minute mark a wild exchange begins as Holloway joins him for some wild brawling. Garcia goes for a takedown at 2:30 and completes it as Holloway misses out on a kimura. Holloway is looking for mission control but Garcia lets him up, making him eat a knee as he gets up. Holloway’s gassed right now as Garcia is pushing the pace; he knows he’s got more energy right now. Some nice combinations exchanged as the final minute is a wild brawl as the two are just throwing without regard. Holloway is playing Garcia’s game right. Holloway goes for spin kick and lands partially, Holloway with a sloppy, gassed out triangle attempt but Garcia slams his way out of it to end the round. Garcia 10-9, 29-28
Official Decision – 29-28 Holloway, 29-28 Garcia, 29-28 Holloway … Holloway by split decision
Interesting decision, one of the first times I’ve seen Garcia on the wrong end of a split decision.
Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee
Round 1 – Duffee comes out throwing and catches De Fries, getting him against the cage. De Fries ties him up as Duffee is looking to throw. He grabs a double and gets him down and De Fries lands some big time strikes as he controls him against the cage. Duffee is pummeling as De Fries wants to cage dance with him to try and get the takedown. Duffee reverses and is looking to strike from the clinch before backing off. Duffee with anice combination; big uppercut and he unloads as De Fries eats a ton of punches before finally going down at 2:00 of the first round. Todd Duffee wins via KO at 2:00 of the first round.