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Guillard, Blackburn Take Close Decisions on TUF 9 Finale Card

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Up and comer Melvin Guillard showed the maturation of his fight game in his bout with Gleison Tibau at The Palms Saturday afternoon, and he was awarded a three round split decision in the closely-contested lightweight match for his efforts, allowing him to improve his pro record to 41-8-3.
By Thomas Gerbasi

LAS VEGAS, June 20 – Up and comer Melvin Guillard showed the maturation of his fight game in his bout with Gleison Tibau at The Palms Saturday afternoon, and he was awarded a three round split decision in the closely-contested lightweight match for his efforts, allowing him to improve his pro record to 41-8-3.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Guillard in a bout that saw many observers split on the final call as well. [Watch this fight.]

Given Guillard’s punching power, it wasn’t surprising that Tibau (29-6) shot for a takedown in the opening minute, but Guillard fought it off well, and when he did hit the mat, it was only for a moment until he got back to his feet. With two minutes left, Guillard scored with a thudding kick to the midsection, providing Tibau the opening he needed to get the fight to the canvas. Guillard rose quickly again, only to get slammed back down. Guillard broke free and rose again though, drawing a roar from the crowd.

Tibau sought the takedown immediately in round two, with Guillard again showing great defense and a throw to get free. The Brazilian was relentless in his desire to get the fight to the canvas, but Guillard wasn’t having it, and he landed with another solid kick and some stiff jabs to add some offense to his game plan before Tibau got a late round takedown.

Both fighters came out fast in the final round, each landing punches before Tibau scored the takedown. With 45 seconds gone, he got into the mount position and started to work his ground and pound as Guillard tried to force a standup. With less than two minutes left, Guillard finally powered his way up and shot for his own takedown, but Tibau reversed position and brought the fight back to the mat himself just before the final horn.

Brad Blackburn took home his third straight UFC win in welterweight action, earning an unpopular three round split decision over previously unbeaten Edgar Garcia. [Watch this fight.]

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Blackburn, who improves to 15-9-1, with 1 NC; Garcia falls to 7-1.

The action heated up immediately, with Blackburn jarring Garcia with some hard counters, while Garcia answered back with flurries of his own and a slam to the mat. After this initial burst of activity, both fighters settled into a groove, looking to land the finisher. As the round progressed, Garcia’s harder shots were definitely getting the respect of Blackburn, but that didn’t stop ‘Bad Brad’ from trying to make things happen, with a head kick in the final seconds just missing the mark.

In round two, the pace dipped, but Blackburn stayed busy behind a leg kick-centered attack in a close stanza.

Garcia, still stalking, finally started to rock Blackburn midway through the third round with flush shots to the head. Blackburn remained in the pocket and kept Garcia from getting too reckless, but his punches were having little effect on the Arizona resident, who punctuated the fight with a knockdown thanks to a counter left hook in the closing moments of the bout, but it wasn’t enough for him to take the razor-thin decision.

Polish up and comer Tomasz Drwal scored his second straight first round win, halting Iowa’s Mike Ciesnolevicz in the first round of their light heavyweight bout. [Watch this fight.]

The pace was measured in the first round, with Drawl dominating the action behind solid takedowns and ground and pound as he physically kept Ciesnolevicz from getting untracked. With 30 seconds left, a right knee to the head put Cisenolevicz on the mat, and the follow-up barrage brought in referee Herb Dean to halt the contest with 12 seconds left in the opening round.

Drwal improves to 16-2 with the win; Ciesnolevicz falls to 18-4 with 1 NC.

Team UK welterweight Nick Osipczak made short work of Frank Lester, submitting the Team US fighter in the first round.

Lester (3-4) came out aggressively, but Osipczak (4-1) made him pay by catching a kick and sending the San Diegan to the canvas with a right hand to the head. Lester fought his way back to his feet, yet Osipczak wouldn’t allow him to get off the fence. With a little over two minutes left, referee Kim Winslow broke the fighters and after a failed takedown attempt by Lester, Osipczak rocked his foe and then went to the mat, where he finished the American with a rear naked choke at 3:40 of the opening round. [Watch this fight.]

TUF9’s Jason Dent got his first UFC win in the lightweight opener, coming back from a rocky start to submit Cameron Dollar in the first round. [Watch this fight.]

Dollar was the busier of the two early, and he was particularly effective with the right hand, which repeatedly found a home on Dent’s jaw and midsection. Dent had few answers for Dollar on the feet, but as the seconds in the round ticked down, the Ohio veteran made do with what he had, and that was an anaconda choke that he sunk in suddenly and shockingly, forcing Dollar to tap at the 4:46 mark.

With the win, Dent improves to 19-10; Dollar falls to 5-3.
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