Join Will Cooling at 9PM ET for live coverage of all the action from tonight’s live finale of the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck. In addition to the lightweight tournament final between Team GSP’s Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson, the likes of Leonard Garcia, Demian Maia and Stephen Bonnar are also in action. The full matches are as follows:
MAIN CARD (Televised live on Spike TV)
- Jonathan Brookins (154) vs. Michael Johnson (156)
- Stephan Bonnar (205) vs. Igor Pokrajac (205)
- Kendall Grove (186) vs. Demian Maia (186)
- Rick Story (170) vs. Johny Hendricks (171)
- Leonard Garcia (145) vs. Nam Phan (146)
- Cody McKenzie (154) vs. Aaron Wilkinson (155)
- Ian Loveland (145) vs. Tyler Toner (146)
- Kyle Watson (156) vs. Sako Chivitchian (156)
- Will Campuzano (136) vs. Nick Pace (138)*
- Pablo Garza (126) vs. Fredson Paixao (125)
- Rich Attonito (185) vs. Dave Branch (185)
Welcome fight fans to The Ultimate Fight 12 Finale, with Michael Johnson and Jonathan Brookins competing to be the winner of the season’s lightweight tournament. This may well be the strongest Fight Night lineup of the year with the historic first-ever UFC featherweight division main card match between Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan, an intriguing fight between former world title challenger Demian Maia and TUF3 tournament winner Kendall Grove, and what should be an exciting brawl between Stephen Bonnar and Igor Pokrajac. The fact that this stacked card is going head-to-head against a Strikeforce event is I’m sure a complete coincidence.
Leonard Garcia (145Ibs) vs. Nam Phan (146Ibs)
This is history in the making, as the UFC begins its great experiment in marketing lighter-weight fighters to the masses in a way that not even boxing has been able to do successfully. Garcia goes for a big overhand right, Phan pushes him back to the cage and they briefly exchange furiously. Phan fires a low kick as Garcia swings wildly. Garcia find some success with the jab and a switch kick. They exchange kicks to the body. Garcia is trying to work with the wildest one-two combination in history, Phan is able to walk through stuns Garcia with big punches. Garcia fires back in the counter. Phan connects to the body. Garcia goes for a jumping knee, doesn’t connect cleanly. Phan fires out a low kick. Garcia is throwing out more wild punches and follows up with a kick to the body. Phan is trying to fight defensively, staying out of range and looking to pick Garcia off. Phan comes connects cleanly with a couple of headkicks but Garcia is able to shake it off and comes out aggressively with more wild punches. Phan connects with a big cross. Good round of action, would probably give it to Phan 10-9 just because his strikes were more accurate and seemed to do more damage.
Garcia comes out the aggressor, pushing the action with overhand punches and low kicks. However Phan is able to weather the storm and starts to picking his punches, visibly distressing Garcia. Garcia responds by successfully shooting for a takedown. Phan is able to get back up quickly and quickly renews hostilities standing. Phan unleashes on Garica a pin-point accurate barrage of strikes, with a couple of beautiful uppercuts staggering Garcia before a side-kick drops Garcia. Phan comes very close to finishing the fight with excellent ground and pound but Garcia is able to weather the storm. Phan goes down to the ground, takes the back of Garcia and looks to get the choke. Weird moment when it looks like Garcia may have tapped. He is however able to survive to the end of the round. Should really be a 10-8 round to Phan but it won’t be.
More of the same this round, with Phan just being the more accurate, clincial fighter. For all the power of Garcia, Phan is able to stay out of trouble. Garcia tries to vary his tactics by again going for takedowns but the shots lack power, with Phan even able to sprawl or quickly get back to his feet. In the second half of the round, Garcia is clearly exhausted which rather degrades his technique and discipline. Garcia is just slowly, lunging with big swinging punches while Phan is happy to stay out of striking distance and ride out the decision victory. The final round may have been Garcia’s but the fight should surely belong to Phan, 29-27 on my scorecard.
In a terrible judges’ call, Leonard Garcia gets the nod on scores of 29-28 to Garcia, 29-28 to Phan and 29-28 to Garica. Absolutely terrible decision that once again shows the problem with the current scoring system – yes Round One and Round Three were relatively close but nobody could argue that Phan didn’t take the majority of the fight with his dominant performance in Round Two. And I’d put money on the judges in question agreeing. The crowd is furious, booing Garcia and unleashing a loud ‘BS’ chant. Garcia offers Phan a rematch, maybe unlike Rampage Jackson he’ll get his wish.
Leonard Garcia defeated Nam Phan via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Rick Story (170) vs. Johny Hendricks (171)
Hendricks clips Story with a left hand, looks for a takedown but can’t gets it. They end up being pushed up against the cage. Story gets a bunch of punches in on the separation. Story goes for a takedown but Hendricks is able to get up. Hendricks looks the stronger, more aggressive fighter laying in some hard one-two punch boxing combinations. Story connects with some good kicks to the legs and again connects with some solid punches, particularly to the body. Story connects with the knee, and twice traps Hendricks on the cage and unloads right and left hands. Hendricks tries to kick Story in the mid-section but the leg is caught. Story throws a legkick and Hendricks catches it, getting the takedown. The commentators discuss whether this will allow Hendricks to steal the round with only 20seconds left with again just underlines the idiocy of the current scoring system. Story gets back to his feet and is surely the winner of the round, 10-9.
They exchanges on the feet, Story gets the takedown but Hendricks briefly threatens with a guillotine. Story escapes but can’t prevent Hendricks from getting back to his feet. Hendricks however quickly takes him back down, looks for a kimura whilst on the back of Hendrick. Hendricks escapes and catches Story in a front choke, but can’t hold it for long. They exchange in the clinch against the cage, with Hendricks able to briefly get the takedown but Story is able to get back to his feet. Nothing much happens for about half a minute, which gives Joe Rogan all the time he needs to go on the tirade to end all tirades about MMA judging. Story gets another takedown but again Hendricks is able to quickly get back to the feet. The two end up stuck against the cgage. Close round, Story probably gets the nod. 10-9.
Hendricks gets the takedown early on but Story is able to stand up. Story drops down for a guillotine attempt but Hendricks is able to escape. Story sprawls but Hendricks looks for another takedown. Hendricks pushes Story against the cage, but Story is busy looking to isolate the left arm of Hendricks. Hendricks pins Story against the cage for a long period of time but can’t get the clean takedown. The fight either gets stuck against the cage or becomes a fascinating wrestling struggle depending on your tastes. The referee warns them to keep working. Story is tired and elements in the crowd are starting to boo. Hendricks is keeping working for the takedown but Hendricks’ strategy is bizarre given that there’s a good chance that he’s behind on the scorecards and needs to finish. Hendricks round but Story’s fight, 29-28. And the judges all agree. Really bad tactics from Hendricks in that final round.
Rick Story defeated Johny Hendricks via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
In a pre-lim fight from earlier, Cody McKenzie defeated Aaron Wilkinson by….Guillotine Choke! Incredibly he’s able to get the submission despite not getting his arm under the chin of Wilkinson, instead just putting pressure on his opponent’s jaw.
Kendall Grove (186) vs. Demian Maia (186)
They exchange striking early on, but Maia gets hit one time too often by Grove and so successfully shoots for the takedown. Maia quickly passes but Grove is able to get back to his feet, although Maia doesn’t disengage. Maia has his arms around Grove’s waist and is looking for the takedown . Maia gets a couple of takedowns but Grove is always able to get back to his feet. Grove doing a good job of defending, with Maia even trying to jump and take the back standing. Maia finally lets go of Grove’s waste and successfully shoots for a fresh takedown. Maia showing some good ground and pound, and Groves gives up his back and Maia comes very close to submitting Grove. Grove is just able to hang on until the end of the round. 10-9 Maia.
Maia shorts for a takedown and Grove is able to evade. He shorts for another and Grove cracks him with a short counter-punch. Groves follows it up with an uppercut. Maia is reeling BUT is able to get the takedown. Maia dominant on top without actually being able to put Grove in a threatening position. Grove tries to sweep and attack the leg, forcing Maia to give up top position but before Grove can properly get to his feet Maia gets a fresh takedown. Grove is in survival mode on the ground, reduced to just focus on stifling and blockling the offense of Maia. Maia tries to ground and pound from standing position, Grove tries to counter with upkicks but this only succeeds in giving Maia the space to take his back. Again the round ends with Maia in control, threatening to choke Grove. 20-18 to Maia.
They circle each other out, with Grove finally ending the stalemate by moving forward with some straight punches. Maia trying to hit Grove on the counter but his standup is clearly rudimentary. Groves needs to push the action more if he’s going to save this fight. Maia shoots in for a takedown, pushes Grove up against the cage. Grove counters with a knee to the head. Grove defending with multiple punches to the head and body. Total nothing round with the two fighters tired and away from their natural milieu. In reality it was a 10-10 round but let’s give it to Groves for his counter-striking during the final minute. Therefore on my scorecards Maia wins 29-28. All three judges agree.
Demian Maia defeated Kendall Grove via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Light Heavyweight Match
Stephan Bonnar (205) vs. Igor Pokrajac (205)
Pokrajac rushes in early, but Bonnar is able to slip out of the way and tie Pokrajac up. Bonnar pushes Pokrajac against the cage, and gets the takedown. He also sneaks in a punch at the same time. Bonnar quickly moves to side control and as Pokrajac tries to jockey for position he gives up his back. Pokrajac is able to escape back to his feet, establishing dominant position in the clinch against the cage. They disengage but end up pressed against the stage again. Bonnar drops down for a gullointine choke which he applies tightly and comes very close to getting the submission with. Pokrajac manages to escape, but Bonnar is still in a dominant position on top. Bonnar is working the body with elbows to prepare to move to the mount. Pokrajac rolls onto his front, but Bonnar works him over with knees to the mid-section. Pokrajac gets to his feet as the round ends. Really good start for Bonnar. 10-9.
They end up on against the cage early on, and Bonnar unloads several Muay Thai knees to the body of Pokrajac. Bonnar gets a takedown, and moves to side control. He quickly establishes a modified crucifix position, trapping Pokrajac as he unloads repeated unanswered punches to his head. Pokrajac again gives up his back but is able to escape back to his feet. Referee Steve Mazzagatti warns Podrajac against throwing illegal knees to the head of Bonnar whilst on the ground. Pokrajac again tries to push the action standing, but Bonnar is able to tie up and rain down Muay Thai knees. The two trade elbows against the cage as Bonnar goes for a takedown. They slug it out towards the end, Pokrajac connects cleanly with a punch that visibly effects Bonnar. Bonnar responds by looking for a takedown. He pushes Pokrajac up against the cage and lands a nice uppercut as the round ends. 20-18 to Bonnar.
Pokrajac has had a point deducted for illegal knees to the head whilst on the ground. Bonnar quickly gets the takedown and starts working over Pokrajac with excellent ground and pound whilst in half guard. Bonnar moves to side control, Pokrajac again turtles up, Bonnar takes the back but again gets bucked off. Pokrajac is briefly on top but Bonnar quickly sweeps and renews the assault. Bonnar is trying to finish the fight with only seconds left. Bonnar is raining down punches, but they are landing on the back of the had so Mazzagetti deducts a point from Bonnar at the very end of the fight. It shouldn’t marr what was a really good performance from a revitalised Bonnar, who on my scorecard is the deserved winner on a score of 29-26. All three judges agree.
Stephen Bonnar defeated Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)
TUF 12 Lightweight Tournament Final Match
Jonathan Brookins (154) vs. Michael Johnson (156)
Johnson starts positively on the feet, connecting with a solid punch that visibly effects Brookins. Brookins responds by shooting for a single-leg takedown but Johnson is able to keep his balance and successfully defend it. Johnson drops Brookins with a big left hand and mauls Brookins on the ground with big ground and pound. Brookins gets back to his feet but gets caught with a big knee to the head and follows it up with a nice uppercut. Johnson ragdolls him to the ground but Brookins is able to eventually get back to his feet. Johnson is far more confident on the feet, even daring to throw a kick. Brookins tries to capitalise with a takedown but Johnson can sprawl. The round ends with Johnson clearly in the ascendancy. 10-9 Johnson.
Brookins gets an early takedown, dominating Johnson from top position with short punches and above all some nasty elbows. Johnson’s ground defense is lacking, with a loose guard and little ability to get back to his feet. Brookins pushes Johnson up against the cage and tries to push the advantage with more ground and pound, but this gives Johnson the space to get back to his feet. Brookins grabs a single-leg and after a length struggle, slams Johnson back down to the canvass. As the round ends Brookins works for a kimura but the bell saves Johnson. Remarkable fight, could easily be 18-18 if there wasn’t such a phobia against giving 10-8 rounds.
Johnson lands clean with several big punches straight at the start of the round, Brookins responds by successfully getting a takedown. Johnson is exhausted, breathing heavy. He is however near the cage that keeps open the possibility of him being able to quickly getting backing to his feet. Brookins however is maintaining the pressure on Johnson. Brookins moves to mount, with Johnson pushed up against the cage. He tries to flatten out Johnson but Johnson takes the opportunity to sweep Brookins. Brookins manages to disengage but Johnson hunts him down with big punches. Brookins responds with another takedown and dominants on the ground. In half-guard Brookins lands several big elbows. Johnson trying to improve position but Brookins has complete control as the time expires. 29-28 to Brookins in an entertaining fight that caps off a good night off action. The judges agree giving Brookins the nod on scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27.
Jonathan Brookins defeated Michael Johnson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Tags: Demian Maia, Igor Pokrajac, Johny Hendricks, Jonathan Brookins, Kendall Grove, Leonard Garcia, Michael Johnson, Mixed Martial Arts, Nam Phan, Rick Story, stephan bonnar, The Ultimate Fighter 12