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Any Questions? Florian sends Message to Penn with Sub of Stevenson

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - If there was any doubt who the number one contender to BJ Penn’s lightweight crown was, there is none anymore after Kenny Florian submitted Joe Stevenson in the first round tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It was the type of performance Florian was looking for in the UFC 91 co-feature.
By Thomas Gerbasi

LAS VEGAS, November 15 – If there was any doubt who the number one contender to BJ Penn’s lightweight crown was, there is none anymore after Kenny Florian submitted Joe Stevenson in the first round tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It was the type of performance Florian was looking for in the UFC 91 co-feature.

“This is exactly wanted,” said Florian, winner of six in a row. I wanted to make a statement. I want BJ’s belt.”

Florian used the Octagon well in the opening minute, with good footwork and pinpoint striking keeping Stevenson at bay. ‘Joe Daddy’, tired of chasing his opponent around, rushed him and pinned him to the fence, eventually scoring a takedown that Florian quickly rose from, freeing himself in the process. Stevenson (34-9) continued to stalk, eating a kick to the head for his trouble, and the fight soon went back to the mat. Florian worked his striking game from there, getting into the mount and then taking Stevenson’s back. From there, Florian finished his opponent off, sinking in a rear naked choke that produced a tap out from Stevenson at 4:03 of the first round.

“I’m working hard every single day,” said Florian, now 13-3. “When everyone else is criticizing, I’m training. This is my life.”

Dustin Hazelett showed off his brand new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in style, scoring an entertaining first round submission win over Tamdan McCrory in a battle of welterweight up and comers.

McCrory made a statement early, firing off a barrage of hard shots that drove Hazelett to the fence. Hazelett responded with a kick to the chest that put the off-balance McCrory on the deck, but ‘The Barncat’ quickly rose to his feet. From there, the two circled and picked at each other with bad-intentioned blows, with each shot drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd. With almost three minutes gone, the fight went to the mat, with Hazelett locking up McCrory’s arm tightly. The New Yorker did everything he could to escape, but in the end, Hazelett stayed cool, and when he cranked McCrory’s arm, it was all over via tap out at 3:59.

Hazelett is now 14-4. McCrory falls to 11-2.

Heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga wasted no time in his bout with Octagon newcomer Josh Hendricks, taking his opponent out in just 61 seconds.

Hendricks came out fast in an effort to either take Gonzaga down or get his respect or both, but the former heavyweight title challenger calmly held off his foe’s charges and picked at him with hard punches and knees. The final shot was a huge right hand that exploded on Hendricks’ jaw and sent him immediately to the canvas, with the fight being waved off by referee Steve Mazzagatti at the 1:01 mark.

Gonzaga improves to 10-3 with the victory; Hendricks drops to 18-5 with 1 no contest.

Unbeaten middleweight contender Demian Maia continued to impress in the main card opener, as he took Nate Quarry down and then took him out, winning via submission in the opening round.

Maia went for the takedown almost immediately, as expected, and succeeded, moving quickly to the mount position and then to Quarry’s back. While locking in a body triangle, Maia fired off strikes until Quarry gave up his neck, and eventually he did. From there, it was lights out, as Maia forced the Oregon native to tap out to a rear naked choke at the 2:13 mark.

With the win, Maia improves to 10-0. Quarry falls to 16-3.
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