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'Napao' is Back; Miller submits Gurgel in UFC 86 Prelims

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga impressively broke a two fight losing streak against Justin McCully, submitting his foe less than two minutes into their UFC 86 preliminary bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
By Thomas Gerbasi

LAS VEGAS, July 5 – Heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga impressively broke a two fight losing streak against Justin McCully, submitting his foe less than two minutes into their UFC 86 preliminary bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

“I worked hard for this fight,” said Gonzaga, who improved to 9-3 after losses to Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum. “Thank God I got the submission.”

Gonzaga was sharp from the opening bell, sending McCully (8-4-2) to the canvas with a kick to his back leg. Once on the mat, ‘Napao’ was not to be denied. He quickly transitioned into the mount position, and though McCully gamely fought out of it, Gonzaga got right back to business, ending matters at 1:57 of the first with a kimura.

Jorge Gurgel was apparently on his way to his most impressive UFC victory against up and comer Cole Miller in their lightweight bout, but with 40 seconds left in the bout, Miller locked in a triangle choke, and 28 ticks of the clock later, Gurgel was forced to tap out, giving ‘Magrino’ his biggest win to date at the 4:48 mark of the final round.

“Not bad for a purple belt,” said Miller, who submitted Gurgel, a black belt. At the time of the stoppage, Gurgel led 20-18 on two judges’ scorecards, with the third having the bout even at 19-19.

The fight got off to a strong start, with both fighters trading and having their moments throughout. Gurgel (15-4) held the edge though, as he scored with thudding leg kicks and punches upstairs, one of which almost put Miller (14-3) on the canvas with 1:30 left in the frame.

The pattern continued for the first two minutes of round two, with Miller changing the landscape of the fight by taking Gurgel down with three minutes left. While there, Miller worked his ground and pound and tried for a guillotine until Gurgel reversed position and the two stood back up. Late in the frame Gurgel even returned the earlier favor by taking Miller down just before the bell.

The third saw Gurgel looking for the finish, and as he bruised up his foe’s face and scored a couple of solid takedowns, he seemed to be one break away from getting his first stoppage win in the UFC. But it was Miller who got the break, taking advantage of a Gurgel miscue to finish the bout off in emphatic fashion.  What this bout FREE on UFC.com, early Sunday morning.

A focused Melvin Guillard is a dangerous prospect for the rest of the 155-pound division. That was never more evident than in tonight’s bout against Dennis Siver, a 36 second blitz that saw Guillard notch his 40th pro win and get back on track after consecutive UFC losses to Rich Clementi and Joe Stevenson.

“I had to grow up,” said Guillard, now 40-8-3. “I had a couple of setbacks but I’ve been training hard and I’m back.”

Guillard scored two knockdowns with his right hand, the second one forcing referee Herb Dean to halt the bout.

“Speed kills,” said Guillard. “It’s all or nothing. He hits hard but I hit harder.”

With the loss, Siver falls to 11-6.

Despite a rocky first round, Alaska native Justin Buchholz showed that in MMA, capitalizing on one mistake can erase any negatives as he submitted Corey Hill in the second round of their lightweight opener.

Hill (2-1) dominated the first round, using his reach well as he peppered Buchholz (9-2) with shots repeatedly, both standing and on the mat. Buchholz was game though, and he started to find his range with his overhand rights and kicks in the second, jarring his foe before pulling guard and taking the fight to the mat. Hill recovered quickly, moving into side control. But out of nowhere, Buchholz turned the tables, got Hill’s back and sunk in a rear naked choke that produced a tap out at the 3:57 mark.

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