Jason MacDonald. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Despite his best efforts to hang with the touted grappling skills of Demian Maia, Canadian veteran Jason MacDonald eventually succumbed to the Brazilian, tapping out to a rear naked choke late in the third round of what was arguably UFC 87’s most technical undercard bout Saturday night.
With dozens of grappling championships under his belt, Maia was expected to make quick work of MacDonald if he opted to hit the ground with him. However MacDonald surprised many, continually escaping various attempts throughout the first two rounds, even putting Maia in his own predicaments at certain points.
It only took Maia a minute or so to lock in an extremely deep triangle but MacDonald was able to keep his composure and fight his way out of the hold. Multiple rear naked choke attempts followed but MacDonald persevered, even catching Maia in a guillotine before the end of the first round.
Maia’s dominance reigned however in the second as he quickly took MacDonald down and mounted him. Maia pounded away with questionable punching but MacDonald weaved back and forth on the ground, avoiding a good amount of punishment before ending up on top himself before the round’s end. MacDonald (20-10) reverted back to the guillotine at the start of the third but it was Maia (8-0) that escaped, mounted, and pounded MacDonald before sinking in a fight-ending rear naked choke at the 2:28 mark of round three.
“He’s a tough guy and a very hard man to tap,” Maia said after the bout. Maia was also awarded a $60,000 bonus by the UFC after the bout, earning the promotion’s traditional “Submission of the Night” award.
Also earning a extra paycheck for the night’s best knockout was Rob Emerson who needed only 12 seconds to knockout fellow “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Manny Gamburyan.
After the usual touch of gloves, Gamburyan (8-3) charged at Emerson (8-6, 1 NC) with wild punches, allowing Emerson to counter with a straight right that dropped Gamburyan. Emerson pounced on Gamburyan and hit him with a left hook that temporarily turned his lights out. Referee Yves Lavigne immediately stopped the fight and informed Gamburyan of the bad news as he awoke from his devastating defeat just seconds later.
Cheick Kongo positioned himself to jump back into contenders mix in the UFC’s heavyweight division with a brutal win over newcomer Dan Evensen. After trying out his new-found wrestling skills and getting caught into a guillotine, Kongo (12-4-1) dropped Evensen (10-3) with a counter straight right hand. He followed up with a mix of hammer fists, elbows, and punches before referee Lavigne halted the festivities.
Back from finishing school and attempting to land a spot on a VH1 reality show, Tamdan McCrory (9-1) looked as if he hadn’t missed a beat en route to an easy unanimous decision win over the eccentric Luke Cummo (6-6). Also winning by way of unanimous decision was newcomer Jon Jones (6-0), who used impressive striking skills to hand IFL veteran Andre Gusmao (5-1) his first professional loss.
The opening fights of the evening saw Team Quest product Chris Wilson (1-4, 1 NC) pick up his first UFC win with a hard-fought decision over SpiritMC welterweight champion Steve Bruno (11-4) while always-smiling “Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Ben Saunders (6-0-2) scored a second-round submission of last-minute replacement opponent Ryan Thomas (9-2).
Notes: Along with Maia (Submission of the Night) and Emerson (Knockout of the Night), Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch earned “Fight of the Night” honors for their five-round welterweight title war in the show’s main event. Each fighter earned $60,000 respectively….The official announced attendance at the Target Center in Minneapolis was 15,082….Instead of breaking down the replay of his finish against Dan Evensen, Cheick Kongo opted to walk away from Joe Rogan during his post-fight interview….A slew of celebrities were shown on the pay-per-view broadcast. Included were: Jesse Ventura, Adrian Peterson, Laura Prepon, UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin, and Jared Allen among others.
Next entry: St. Pierre Defeats Fitch; Penn Rematch Looms
Previous entry: UFC 87: Seek and Destroy Live Results