NEWARK, April 27 – Former United States Olympic Silver medalist Sara McMann made her UFC debut Saturday night at the Prudential Center and she delivered as expected, using her wrestling and ground and pound attack to finish off fellow debutant Sheila Gaff of Germany in the first round of their UFC 159 bantamweight prelim bout.
Gaff ran out of her corner at the bell and right into a McMann takedown, surprising no one. After McMann controlled matters on the mat for a long spell, referee Gaspar Oliver restarted the action with two minutes left. It was a brief reprieve though, as McMann took Gaff back to the canvas, locked her up and proceeded to fire away with strikes until Oliver had seen enough, stopping the bout at the 4:06 mark.
“It was an enjoyable experience," said McMann. "The more fights I have, the better I'm going to get. Her strongest threat was on the feet so I took her down. I'm a wrestler. I can take people down whenever I want to. I put myself in the captain's seat where I could do the most damage and I plan to keep doing that."
With the win, McMann improves to 7-0; Gaff falls to 10-5-1.
See McMann's post-fight interview
KHABILOV vs. MEDEIROS
What was shaping up to be an interesting lightweight bout between unbeaten debutant Yancy Medeiros and Russian prospect Rustam Khabilov came to an abbreviated end when Medeiros dislocated his thumb in the first round, halting the fight and giving Khabilov the win via TKO.
After an attempted suplex by Khabilov, Medeiros put his right hand down to break his fall. Upon rising, he showed referee Dan Miragliotta his hand. After inspecting the injury, Miragliotta stopped the bout at the 2:32 mark.
With the win, Khabilov improves to 16-1; Medeiros falls to 9-1.
ST. PREUX vs. VILLANTE
The debut UFC bout for Strikeforce vets Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante came to an unsatisfying conclusion after an accidental foul ended matters in the third round, with OSP earning a majority technical decision.
Scores were 30-28, 30-29, and 29-29 for St. Preux, who improves to 13-5; Villante falls to 10-4.
“I definitely felt comfortable in there and I knew I was winning," said St. Preux. "I didn’t feel like I poked him. I got poked too. Stuff happens but I don’t think they should’ve stopped the fight. I would’ve won the third round because I felt great and I was coming on stronger but still it’s unfortunate it had to end like that."
In a nip and tuck first round between the two light heavyweight prospects, it may have been a mid-round sequence that won the frame for St. Preux, as he wobbled Villante briefly with some wild haymakers before the New Yorker could tie up and clear his head.
Villante was the busier of the two in the second round, pecking and poking at St. Preux with kicks to the leg and punches upstairs while the former Tennessee football player kept looking for the home run punch.
The fight came to an abrupt end in the third round, when Villante took an inadvertent poke to the eye and told referee Kevin Mulhall he couldn’t see. Mulhall immediately called the fight, and though Villante protested the decision as his vision cleared, it stood, sending the bout to the scorecards.
“I couldn’t see," said Villante. "He did poke me in the eye, so I don’t know. He said the fight was over and I didn’t expect that because I was just reacting to his question. I got poked and my eye was closed up so I thought he would stop it, but he didn’t; he just kind of looked at me. I don’t understand how you score thirty seconds of a round and that’s how I lost? We were just getting going and I got poked in the eye. I don’t know what to say.”
See what happened
CARAWAY vs. BEDFORD
Late notice was no problem for bantamweight up and comer Bryan Caraway, as he stepped in for the injured Erik Perez in style, submitting his Ultimate Fighter season 14 teammate Johnny Bedford in the third round.
The first round was a perfect example of two fighters who knew each other’s game well, with Bedford (19-11-1) wanting to keep it standing and Caraway intent on getting the fight to the mat. On the canvas, Caraway worked well and almost locked in a rear naked choke, but it was Bedford’s late surge on the feet that saw him do the most damage.
Caraway (18-7) stepped things up in the second and third, showing more effective striking and his usual dominant ground game, and after working overtime to get the finish, he got it late in the third, sinking in a guillotine choke that produced the tap at 4:44 of the final round.
Check out how Caraway set up his 15th submission win
McKENZIE vs. GARCIA
The Ultimate Fighter season 12 vet Cody McKenzie got back in the win column in featherweight action, winning a clear-cut three round unanimous decision over Leonard Garcia.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for McKenzie, now 14-3; Garcia, who has now dropped five straight, falls to 19-11-1.
Garcia had a rougher than rough first round, as he was taken down almost immediately and then subjected to four-plus minutes of ground strikes and submission attempts by McKenzie. To his credit, he survived the onslaught and made it to the bell, but he had a lot of work to do to get back in the fight.
The second wasn’t any better for Garcia, and even though he wasn’t in danger of being submitted, he gave up the dominant positioning to McKenzie and took plenty of punches on the mat throughout the round.
Staying primarily on the feet for the final five minutes, Garcia was aggressive and finally got on the board offensively, but McKenzie was never in danger, even tagging the Texan on several occasions and scoring a final takedown to emphasize his dominant victory.
McKenzie fight wrap-up
SILER vs. HOLOBAUGH
Featherweights Steven Siler and Kurt Holobaugh got the night off to a rousing start with an entertaining three rounder won by Utah’s Siler via unanimous decision.
If Holobaugh (8-2) was suffering from a case of the first time UFC jitters, he knew the way to shake them off, as he came out swinging at the opening bell. But like a veteran of over 30 fights, Siler (22-10) knew how to deal with the onslaught, and his patient clinch work set up a slam that allowed him to take Holobaugh’s back for nearly half the round. Yet despite bloodying his foe and nearly sinking in a rear naked choke, Siler wasn’t able to submit the game rookie.
In the second, the two traded takedowns and ground attacks with a brief period of standup action sandwiched in, as Holobaugh got himself back into the fight with another spirited effort. And while it looked like the Louisianan was going to parlay that strong second round into another positive frame in the third, an awkward fall during a takedown attempt midway through the final round allowed Siler to get the mount position and then take his foe’s back, allowing him to pile up the points and secure the win via three scores of 29-28.
See the highlights