With two current UFC champions in the corners and UFC Hall of Famers already Octagonside during the first three fights of UFC 167, the UFC’s 20th anniversary event at MGM Grand Garden Arena got off to an appropriately star-studded start.
Jason High vs. Anthony Lapsley
veteran Jason High (19-4 ) welcomed Anthony Lapsley (25-6, 2 NC) to the Octagon by treating
him to three rounds of his suffocating ground game. All three judges
gave the nod to welterweight High with scores of 29-28.
immediately, and High easily took him down and mounted him. After a big
elbow from High, Lapsley bucked, but High took his back and patiently
waited for Lapsley to work to his feet. As soon as Lapsely did, High
took him right back down, let him stand, and suplexed the UFC debutant.
This time when High moved to mount, Lapsley had little left with which
to defend, yet High seemed conservative with his strikes. With 40
seconds left, High dove into a guillotine before mounting Lapsley again.
Lapsley put up more of a fight in round two, but by the
one-minute mark, he was again mounted with High calmly waiting for him
to make a move. High lose his guillotine attempt and landed with "The Recipe" in his guard, and
that’s where the bulk of the round transpired, with Lapsley dropping
some huge elbows and working for an Americana.
Both men got off
hard shots in the third – Lapsley with a big kick, High with a hard
punch – and in the scramble, High landed in a potential Lapsley
triangle. High escaped enough to turn it into another guillotine
attempt, but against the fence, he couldn’t get the leverage. Next
Lapsley had to escape an omoplata, and again the fence allowed him to
avoid the submission. As Lapsley positioned for High’s back on the feet,
High dove for a kneebar. That scramble ended with him in Lapsley’s
guard, which is how the fight ended.
Will Campuzano vs. Sergio Pettis
UFC/WEC vet Will Campuzano (13-5) gave 20-year-old Sergio Pettis (10-0)
a tough fight, but it wasn’t enough to shut down the undefeated
prospect, who won the bantamweight bout by unanimous decision.
shot early, but Pettis held him in a guillotine until he could push
back to his feet. Pettis got taken down again off a kick, with Campuzano
taking his back as they stood, until Pettis could reverse into top
position on the ground and returning to the feet. Pettis stalked for the
rest of the round, alternating straights with lethal leg kicks as his
corner – graced by coach Duke Roufus and his older brother, lightweight
champion Anthony Pettis – called out “He’s hurt!” and urged him to
attack. Pettis ended the round on his back after Campuzano stuffed a
flying knee attempt and got off some good strikes from his top position.
men came out with fast and furious fists for the second, but it was
Pettis’ right hand that landed cleanest and most often. As Campuzano
began to look worse for the wear, Pettis stayed spry, evading punishment
and getting his own takedown, which he turned into a deep D’Arce
attack. Campuzano defended as Pettis took his back and settled into
Pettis’ guard before trying to stand and being himself reversed. Once
they stood, Pettis wasted no time with a right-left, knee and a body
kick. Campuzano was dropped but never stopped coming forward, but if
there was any question that he was exhausted, that answer came at the
end of the second, when he sat down on the canvas in Pettis’ corner.
got things to the ground again in round three, but not before having
one of his takedowns rebuffed by another D’Arce attempt. Pettis was busy
from guard as Campuzano struggled to pass, with both men’s submission
literacy cancelling out the other’s. Pettis finally launched Campuzano
back to his feet, and both men let go for a brief moment with a grab bag
of strikes, knees and kicks. But Campuzano’s final takedown attempt
ended with Pettis on his back and getting his own trip takedown as the
seconds ticked down and the crowd roared.
Judges’ scores were
30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Pettis, currently the youngest fighter on the
UFC roster. The loss snaps the five-fight win streak Campuzano had
amassed since leaving the UFC. “I really was looking to make a statement
out there but Will is a very tough opponent," said Pettis, who admitted
to being nervous coming in. "I think the fight was closer than the
scores indicated but I think I controlled it."
Check out Sergio Pettis' post-fight interview
Cody Donovan vs. Gian Villante
standout Gian Villante got his first UFC win with a solid TKO over an
aggressive, game Cody Donovan in the night’s first bout.
an early clinch where both light heavyweights flung uppercuts, the two
made space and established a standup routine: Donovan coming in with big
strikes, Villante countering (or looking to). Donovan hunted with
overhands, but Villante answered in true former football player fashion
by ignoring the onslaughts and moving forward. Donovan winged with high
kicks while Villante’s leg strikes found their targets, both to the legs
and body. Late in the round, Villante caught a kick and turned it into a
Villante had found his range by the second and his
jab found a home repeatedly. Donovan continued with the overhands, but
Villante’s chin and head movement kept him safe. Early in the second,
Donovan threw a high kick at the same time that Villante launched a
right hand – Donovan dropped to the mat and the ground-and-pound that
followed ended the fight at 1:22.
Long Island’s Villante, who
trains with middleweight champion Chris Weidman, is now 11-4, while
Donovan slips to 8-4. "Coming in on eighteen days’ notice I thought I
could be sluggish in there but I really loosened up in the second and
was able to start connecting," said Villante.
gracious in defeat, saying “That’s exactly the type of fight I wanted to
have tonight. I thought going out there and slugging was the best way
to start out the UFC 20th anniversary.”
Check out Gian Villante's post-fight interview