Live from cageside at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena, Will Cooling reports on all the action from an entertaining UFC on Fuel preliminary card.
Jason Young vs. Robbie Peralta
The mysteriously later start time and smaller venue means that Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena was surprisingly full at the start of the first prelim. Jason Young received a huge reaction although even the American Robbie Peralta was given a nice reception from the partisan crowd. Young started by trying to keep his distance with leg kicks but Peralta stormed forward and starts to let his hands go. He backed Young up with wild shots that miss and then connects with a vicious right hook that knocked Young to the ground. A couple of hard follow-up shots on the ground and it was over after just twenty-three seconds! Peralta looked tremendous here, taking all the frustrations of an injury hit out on the home country favorite.
Robbie Peralta knockouts out Jason Young at 0:23 of the first round
DeMarques Johnson vs. Gunnar Nelson
Hailing from Iceland Gunnar Nelson was the crowd favorite, a status confirmed when he landed a head kick at the very start. Nelson was the aggressor throughout and soon got a takedown. A very enjoyable grappling exchange followed, with Johnson using the cage wall as leverage for an attempted sweep. Nelson fought this, so allowing Johnson to attack for an armbar and then a leglock. Nelson would reassert his positional dominance, with the smallest transition bringing a cheer from what was a very educated crowd. The end came with Nelson moving from front mount to take Johnson’s back and attempt a series of chokes. He finally got a rear naked snuck in and Johnson has to tap. A really fun fight with Nelson demonstrating a superb all round game.
Gunnar Nelson submitted DeMarques Johnson at 3:34 of the first round
Tom Watson vs. Brad Travares
The former BAMMA middleweight champion’s debut in the UFC was typical of the entertaining fights he often has. Like all Kong’s fights it was fought at a tremendous pace and featured plenty of action, with both throwing real leather inside the Octagon. To begin with it almost seemed as if ‘Kongo’ was in danger of being outmuscled as he struggled to get his game going against Brad Travares. The American seemed to have more power and quicker to the point. However Kong is nothing if not resilient and by the end of the first round had started using his knees and feet to good effect; including landing one of each on the groin of his opponent.
Unfortunately for Watson the even performance was undermined in the second by his grappling. Whereas in the first he had showed an impressive ability to scramble back to his feet after being momentarily taken off balance, towards the end of the second the American finally completed a takedown. He then moved in for the submission and with over a minute left on the clock came very close to securing it.
The final round began with more entertaining exchanges on the feet but Watson continued to be taken down. By the midway point both fighters were exhausted and neither could capitalize on opportunities to finish the fight. When the final bell sounded it should have been no surprise to anyone that the heavily hyped home fight would be on the wrong end of the judges’ decision, indeed the surprising thing was that one judge had found two fights he had won. Not that Watson hadn’t looked good but his poor takedown defense in the final two rounds was the difference between the two men.
Brad Travares defeated Tom Watson via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Andy Ogle vs. Akira Corassani
Another fun three-round decision although this time the Englishman can feel aggrieved with this decision as Any Ogle dominated the second half of Rounds 2 and 3. While on the feet it was an even affair with both fighters bring a crisp, technical striking game that made some excellent exchanges as they fought all over the cage. In the first round both men secured flash knockdowns, although neither could capitalize. That would be true of the striking exchanges at the start of the next two rounds with two evenly matched fighters both having their moments of offense. What should have given Ogle the victory was his work on the ground. In the second round he spent more than a minute working towards a standing choke that he very nearly secured on Corassani. In the third he was even more dominant as for most of the second half of the round he was raining down short elbows on the head of a hunched over Corassani. By the end of the fight Ogle and his partisans in the crowd were convinced he had won. They were to be proven wrong with two judges scoring the fight 29-28 to the Swede, cueing loud cries of ‘Bullshit’ from the crowd.
Akira Corassani defeated Any Ogle via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Jimi Manuwa
An excellent fight that gave the home fans only the second British victory of the undercard. After a rocky start after a slip allowed Kingsbury to set up camp in top position for a couple of minutes, Manuwa started to impress on the feet. The heavy handed former BAMMA champion just unloaded on Kingsbury and would almost certainly have finished the fight midway through the first if he hadn’t have been slow to follow up a knockdown. The rest of the first round was a one-sided mauling, with Kingsbury displaying great flair with his shot selection. By the end of the round Kingsbury was on rubber legs after being stalked around the ring by a punishing Manuwa. The second round brought was a carbon copy of the first, pulverizing salvos from Manuwa on the feet interrupted by Kingsbury securing fleeting advantages on the ground with his wrestling. But by the end of the two rounds Kingsbury was a mess, with his right eye badly swollen. Despite the fact that with his wrestling there was a very real chance he may have stolen at least one of the rounds, he had no choice but to accept the doctor’s decision to end the fight. A deserved and impressive victory for Manuwa on his debut but those weaknesses in his wrestling will need to be eliminated if he’s to progress in the UFC.
Jimi Manuwa defeated Kyle Kingsbury by doctor’s stoppage at the end of the second round