Cerrone, Mendes Victorious in UFC 126 Prelims


Donald Cerrone. Photo by Tracy Lee/CombatLifestyle.com.

Donald Cerrone overcame a slow start to submit Paul Kelly with a second-round rear naked-choke in his UFC debut. The bout served as the feature preliminary attraction at UFC 126 on Saturday.

Cerrone (14-3) may have been thrown off at the start of the fight, as Kelly (11-4) threw a punch while Cerrone was attempting to touch gloves. Kelly held his own in the first round, giving up a pair of takedown attempts but landing his fair share of punches and kicks.

Much of the same went on in the second, until Cerrone took Kelly down and quickly moved to mount. Kelly gave up his back and Cerrone dealt out some punishment before locking in the choke and forcing a tap.

Meanwhile, Chad Mendes potentially earned himself a shot at the winner of the UFC featherweight title clash between Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick later this year, outclassing the world-ranked Michihiro Omigawa via unanimous decision.

Mendes (10-0) controlled Omigawa (12-9-1) throughout, outlanding him on the feet and landing timely takedowns. Omigawa pushed the pace, but was unable to land anything standing and was relegating to stopping only half of Mendes’ takedown attempts.

During another Facebook gift stream to UFC fans, Demetrious Johnson used blazing speed to spoil Kid Yamamoto’s UFC debut, scoring lightning-quick takedowns at will en route to an unanimous decision win.

Johnson (8-1) employed a gameplan similar to that of UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, peppering Yamamoto (18-4) on the feet with punches and kicks until Yamamoto countered, allowing Johnson to shoot in.

Yamamoto looked to daze Johnson with a knee towards the end of the second round, but immediately stood up and voluntarily allowed his opponent to recover from what may have been an illegal knee.

Paul Taylor likely put an end to Gabe Ruediger’s second stint in the UFC, putting the “TUF 5” alumnus to sleep with a head kick and punches.

Taylor (11-6-1) looked great from the start of the bout, shaking off Ruediger’s takedown attempts and making him pay with crisp punches. Taylor continued to tag Ruediger (17-7) in the second round.

“Godzilla” desperately tried to score a takedown against the fence, but Taylor shook him off and then landed a left high kick that floored Ruediger. Taylor followed up with shots on the ground that turned Ruediger’s lights out.

Kyle Kingsbury needed only 21 seconds to dispatch of Ricardo Romero, using a strong clinch game to put away his opponent with a series of strikes.

Kingsbury (10-2) struck early, burying a knee into Romero’s face. Romero (11-2) was visibly hurt and ate a few more knees to the body before being dropped by a left hook. Kingsbury unleashed a barrage of shots, which prompted referee Steve Mazzagatti to wave off the proceedings.

Mike Pierce used superior grapplig skills to earn an easy second-round stoppage of UFC newcomer Kenny Robertson. Pierce (12-3) dragged Robertson (10-1) to the canvas early on in the fight. Robertson was able to get back to his feet, but spent the remainder of the first round pressed up against the fence.

Pierce landed a right-left combination less than a minute into the second round that sent Robertson reeling. Pierce followed his foe to the canvas and punched away until referee Herb Dean stepped in to halt the action, handing Pierce his third straight win and Robertson his first loss as a pro.

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