MONTREAL, November 17 – It wasn’t the way Quebec’s Patrick Cote wanted to get his first UFC win since 2008, but he’ll take it, as a bizarre finish to what was shaping up to be an exciting middleweight scrap saw Alessio Sakara disqualified for illegal blows to the back of the head in the first round of their UFC 154 preliminary bout at Bell Centre Saturday night.
“I was expecting a war and that’s what he gave me,” said Cote. “But there are rules for a reason.”
“It was not intentional at all,” said a contrite Sakara. “I’m sorry.”
After a brief feeling out process, it didn’t take long for a fight to break out, and initially, it looked like Cote would get the better of his foe as he broke loose from a clinch with a series of hard hooks. As the two moved to the cage though, it was Sakara breaking into the lead with a hard shot to the head that jarred Cote. The two began to trade blows again, but then Cote got drilled and hit the deck. He tried to get back to his feet, but Sakara began to hammerfist the Canadian. Unfortunately, several blows were to the back of Cote’s head, eventually putting him down and out. Referee Dan Miragliotta intervened at the 1:26 mark, disqualifying Sakara for his transgressions.
With the win, Cote improves to 19-8; Sakara falls to 19-10 with 1 NC.
GRIGGS vs. DIABATE
Light heavyweight veteran Cyrille Diabate showed off his striking and his ground game in preliminary action against Chad Griggs, submitting the Strikeforce veteran midway through the first round.
Griggs attempted to catch Diabate napping as the bout commenced, but the Frenchman was ready for him, landing with a knee and then halting a wild rush with a left that dropped the American. Griggs was able to shake the cobwebs loose, but Diabate kept on him, bloodying Griggs with a knee as the two stood against the cage. Griggs kept trying to break loose, but Diabate remained cool, and in the process locked in a rear naked choke that produced a tap 2:24 into the fight.
With the win, Diabate improves to 20-8-3; Griggs falls to 11-3.
Watch Diabate's post-fight interview
STOUT vs. MAKDESSI
Lightweight prospect John Makdessi made a major statement in his three rounder with fellow Canadian Sam Stout, delivering his biggest UFC win to date via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Makdessi, who improved to 10-2; Stout falls to 19-8-1.
Stout went swinging for the cheap seats from the start, showing little respect for Makdessi’s striking prowess. But the Montrealer dodged the wild attacks while taking the time to set up his own offense, and little by little, it was the relaxed Makdessi landing the crisper and more accurate strikes, reddening Stout’s face in the process.
Continuing to press the action in round two, Stout began to have some success with his jab as well as with a quick takedown. Makdessi, who shot right up immediately after hitting the deck, went back to picking Stout apart with quick counterstrikes, though you had to wonder if he was getting credit for his cool, calm, and collected style as opposed to the more frenetic one favored by Ontario’s Stout.
Makdessi put on a sharpshooting clinic in the third round, mixing things up to where Stout didn’t know where the punches or kicks were coming from. To his credit, Stout kept moving forward in an attempt to make something happen, but he was unable to do so against “The Bull,” who was more the matador in this one, and impressively so.
DAMM vs. CARVALHO
Jiu-Jitsu black belts Rodrigo Damm and Antonio Carvalho avoided the mat in their three round featherweight bout, with Ontario’s Carvalho winning the kickboxing battle via split decision.
The fighters almost exclusively traded leg kicks in the opening round, with Damm appearing to hold a slight edge, though both were marked up by the attacks.
After two minutes of the same action in round two, a wild scramble did draw some cheers, but neither fighter was able to use it to take control of the fight, and moments later, it was back to the tactical standup chess game, which didn’t particularly please the booing crowd. By the final minute, Damm was mixing in more punches, primarily a quick jab, but it was Carvalho (15-5) getting the last word with a hard right hand at the end of the round.
Damm (10-6) upped his work rate in the third while remaining on his feet, though it wasn’t enough to win over the judges, as Carvalho was awarded the decision by scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29.
RIDDLE vs. MAGUIRE
Matt Riddle didn’t have to endure any “Deep Waters” in his welterweight bout with John Maguire, winning a clear-cut three round unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28
Riddle’s standup was sharp early, as he potshotted Maguire with punches to the face and kicks to the leg, all the while avoiding the Cambridge, England native’s attempts to catch those kicks and get the takedown, even nailing his foe with a back kick at one point while his other leg was occupied.
Maguire (18-5), seemingly unbothered by the slow start, got in gear in the second frame, showing off some crisp standup of his own before Riddle got him to the mat and began landing with ground strikes both standing and from the top position. With under two minutes left, referee Yves Lavigne stood the prone Maguire up, and the bout strayed to the fence and then back to the canvas, with Riddle showing good defense to stay out of trouble there before rising to his feet and getting the crowd into it with a late flurry of strikes.
Riddle (7-3, 1 NC) controlled all but the last 10 seconds of the bout, both striking and grappling wise, with Maguire showing little sense of urgency until a submission attempt just before the bell that was too little too late.
Watch Matt Riddle's post-fight interview
MENJIVAR vs. GASHIMOV
Hometown favorite Ivan Menjivar showed off every veteran trick in the book against Octagon newcomer Azamat Gashimov in their UFC 154 preliminary bout, turning what would be some rough moments for any other fighter into a first round submission win.
With the crowd already delivering deafening roars for the Montreal bantamweight, Menjivar (25-9) got taken down early by the hard-charging Gashimov (10-2), but after weathering an aggressive attack, he sought and got a tight armbar. There was no escape for Gashimov, who tapped out at the 2:44 mark.
Hear what Menjivar had to say about the sick submission
ELKINS vs. SILER
Darren Elkins made it four in a row at featherweight in the opener, snapping the three fight winning streak of The Ultimate Fighter’s Steven Siler via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
After some crisp standup exchanges to begin the bout, Elkins got the fight where he wanted to go as he pushed Siler to the fence and then took him to the mat. There, in his world, the former wrestler controlled his foe while delivering enough strikes to keep Siler guessing. The Utah product got to his feet with 1:20 left in the round, but only briefly, as Elkins scored another takedown and then attempted a guillotine choke. After a few moments on the wrong end of that choke, Siler escaped, making it to the bell to fight another round.
Elkins got right back to business in round two, taking Siler down and this time sinking in a rear naked choke. It looked like game over before Siler found a way once again to survive. The tenacious Indiana native wouldn’t let up, bloodying his opponent’s nose as he looked for another opening for the choke, but Siler’s resolve kept him in the fight for another round.
There was more of the same in the final round, with Siler game but unable to avoid Elkins’ takedowns and ground attack, thus wrapping up another win for “The Damage,” who now improves to 16-2; Siler falls to 21-10.
Watch Elkins' post-fight interview