LAS VEGAS, July 7 – He may not have gotten the definitive finish he was looking for, but lightweight contender Melvin Guillard did get the win in UFC 148 prelim action Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, breaking a two fight losing streak by patiently outpointing Fabricio Camoes over three rounds.
All three judges scored it 30-27 in a bout that was much more competitive than those tallies would indicate.
Guillard (47-11-3, 1 NC) was calm, cool, and collected from the opening bell, tagging Camoes when he shot for takedowns and generally controlling the action and where it was happening. Guillard even scored a takedown with less than two minutes left, only to get mounted by Camoes in a scramble. This would usually spell doom for Guillard against a high level black belt, but this time he kept his cool, made it back up and appeared to drop the Brazilian just before the end of the round.
With Guillard again waiting patiently to counter, Camoes (13-7-1) willingly played the role of aggressor, getting the New Orleans native down to the mat with a little over a minute left in the round. A spinning backfist attempt once the two rose cost “Morango” though, as Guillard put him down after the shot and proceeded to end the round with some hard ground strikes to the head.
The final stanza settled into a tactical kickboxing match for the most part, with Guillard calmly picking at Camoes while turning away his takedown attempts. There were some dicey moments from Guillard at the end when Camoes got him to the mat and worked to lock up his leg, but the bell interrupted any sudden finish, sending the fight to the scorecards.
KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV VS GLEISON TIBAU
It was an emotional win for Khabib Nurmagomedov, and rightfully so, as the 155-pound prospect scored the biggest victory of his career with a shutout three round decision over Gleison Tibau that upped his unbeaten record to 18-0 and brought him to tears in the middle of the Octagon.
The stars of the first round were the Brazilian fans chanting for their fighter and their country, throwing in a song as well during the first five minutes. In the cage, it was a stalemate, as Nurmagomedov tried but couldn't succeed in taking his foe down, while Tibau’s offense consisted of a couple flush counterpunches as the Russian came in and threw wide.
Round two was a close one as well, but Nurmagomedov appeared to be getting a little closer to Tibau (34-8) with his punches, marking up the Brazilian’s face despite still getting tagged with counters that kept the veteran Tibau in the fight.
After yet another nip and tuck session between the two lightweights to start round three, Tibau got a takedown just before the midway point, but he was unable to do anything with it as “The Eagle” shot right back to his feet. And in the end it was Nurmagomedov’s aggression and pushing of the fight’s pace that may have swayed the judges to award him the fight via unanimous scores of 30-27.
RIKI FUKUDA VS COSTA PHILIPPOU
Long Island middleweight Costa Philippou used a disciplined striking attack and stellar takedown defense to hand rugged Japanese battler Riki Fukuda a loss via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Philippou, who ups his record to 11-2 with 1 NC; Fukuda falls to 18-6.
With practically no significant strikes landed in the first minute and a half, the crowd got restless, and Fukuda responded with a takedown and some brief fence control before Philippou pushed free. The pace picked up from there, with Philippou tagging Fukuda and leaving him with a mouse under his left eye, but not enough to please the boo birds.
Philippou’s right hand was on target throughout the second round, and coupled with his solid takedown defense, he was digging a deep hole for the game Fukuda, who refused to move backward, paying the price in the process.
Fatigued and looking at the clock from early in the final round, Philippou got a break in an unwelcome fashion when he was inadvertently poked in the left eye by Fukuda. After a look from the Octagonside physician, a fired up Philippou went on the attack, bringing the crowd into it for the first time in the fight. The burst of action and a strong finish was enough for the New Yorker to seal the victory, his fourth straight in the Octagon.
SHANE ROLLER VS JOHN ALESSIO
Lightweight Shane Roller broke a three fight losing streak with a workmanlike three round unanimous decision win over John Alessio.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Roller, now 11-6; Alessio falls to 34-16, remaining winless in five UFC efforts. “I guess no one wants to fight these days,” said a disappointed Alessio as he left the Octagon.
Alessio had a solid first round striking and grappling, as he controlled both areas of the game throughout the first five minutes, nullifying Roller against the fence and rocking him standing just before the bell.
Roller made a complete 180 degree turn in round two though, getting Alessio down to the mat early and keeping him there for the rest of the frame, as he pounded away with both hands, trying to create an opening for a fight-ending submission that ultimately didn’t come.
An Alessio flurry opened up the final round, but Roller shook off any effects of the blows and proceeded to double leg “The Natural” to the canvas. Alessio got back to his feet fairly quickly, but Roller kept the pressure on and took him down again. Roller took his opponent’s back immediately, but Alessio was able to survive, even ripping off some ground strikes from the top position before the fight’s 15 minutes were up.
Hear from Philippou and and Roller following their wins
YOISLANDY IZQUIERDO VS RAFAELLO OLIVEIRA
In the lightweight opener, Brazil’s Rafaello Oliveira took advantage of Yoislandy Izquierdo’s inability to stop his takedowns to sail to a three round unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 29-28 for Oliveria, 15-5, who won his first UFC bout since January of 2010; Izquierdo falls to 6-2.
There was some solid action in the first round, with Izquierdo landing hard left hands on the sturdy-chinned Oliveira both before and after the Brazilian put “Cuba” on his back for an extended stay on the mat.
After eating more hard shots early in the second, Oliveira again sought refuge on the mat, and he had little trouble taking his foe to the canvas, where he passed guard and looked to do damage, even though he was the one left bleeding from a cut on his forehead. Regardless, “Tractor” kept working for Izquierdo’s arm, interrupted only by a brief halt in the action by referee Mario Yamasaki to take a look at his cut.
Oliveira kept to what was working in the final round, using the first opportunity he had to take Izquierdo down and keep him there for the rest of the round. There were brief windows for Oliveira to finish matters via submission or ground strikes, but he wasn’t able to close the show, settling for the decision victory.
Watch Oliveira's post-fight interview