Mike Pierce vs. Kenny Robertson: Round 1
Referee Herb Dean starts the night off in the welterweight division. The fighters exchange jabs to start the contest. Pierce is able to initiate the clinch with Robertson. The Washington native is able to use the position to drag his opponent to the mat. Robertson is game and fights off the takedown as much as he can. He works back to a standing position. Pierce keeps Robertson’s back in the fence but is landing little in the way of damage. Referee Dean agrees and separates the fighters. Robertson fires a right hand but is clinched up against the fence almost immediately. Pierce fires a right hand to the stomach of Robertson. The round ends with a Pierce takedown. 10-9 Pierce.
Round 2: The second frame starts with the fighters opening up in a flurry. A right lands for Pierce but its the left that sends Kenny Robertson to the floor. Pierce capitalizes on the floor and gets the stoppage at 29 seconds into the second round via TKO.
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Ricardo Romero: Round 1
Light heavyweights continue the action from The Mandalay Bay Events Center. Overseeing the tilt is referee Steve Mazzagatti. The two men touch gloves and the action starts early. Romero gets tied up into the clinch and eats a solid Kingsbury knee. The knees don’t stop there as “Kingsbu” lands a few more to the body before landing a left hook that drops Romero. Mazagatti has seen enough and stops the contest just 21 seconds in the first.
Paul Taylor vs. Gabe Ruediger: Round 1
Lightweights are in the Octagon, along with referee Kim Winslow. After a quick touch of the gloves Taylor fires a right hand that lands to the head of “Godzilla.” This initiates a clinch from Ruediger, but it doesn’t last long. Taylor launches a left followed by a right which his complemented by a right low kick. The two men clinch again with Ruediger’s back to the fence. Ruediger tries to make space and get a takedown, but Taylor shrugs him off. In space, Ruediger shoots but comes up empty. Taylor clinches again and puts his opponent’s back into the fence. With little action taking place, Winslow separates the two lightweights. Ruediger rushes in for a takedown but fails again. The round ends with a Taylor left hand. 10-9 Taylor.
Round 2: The middle period opens with Taylor launching punches at Ruediger. The former WEC champion falls to his back to lure the Brit to the mat, but Taylor is wise and backs away. On the feet they clinch again and Ruediger is able to force Taylor’s back into the fence. Taylor is able to move off the cage and launches a fight ending flurry. First it’s a left hand that hurts Ruediger. A right causes more damage, but its a left head kick that causes Ruediger to fall to the mat and turtle. Kim Winslow savesthe fallen Ruediger at 1:42, giving Taylor the TKO win.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson: Round 1
Mario Yamasaki is the referee for this bantamweight bout. Both men bounce tentatively with Yamamoto on the outside. Johnson flicks out a few low kicks and Kid catches him with a short left on the second. Another leg kick yields a right hand counter from Yamamoto, tripping Johnson up and sending him backing up into the cage. Johsnon appears to catch a low kick, but he’s good to continue and the fighters touch gloves.
Yamamoto winds up and misses on a huge uppercut, gets taken down by Johnson, but pops right back up. Johnson comes in and Kid hits him with a right hand, and then repeats a moment later with a left. Johnson gets a takedown in the center of the cage with 90 seconds to go. Kid bucks and rolls, escaping, but gets clipped by a Johnson combo on the way up. Yamamoto lands one back on Johnson and pins him against the fence. They disengage and Johnson plows Yamamoto down with a powerful takedown. The round ends with Johnson landing short punches from half-guard.
Round 2: Yamamoto tries a takedown after some more feeling out, but Johnson sprawls and they stay up. Johnson comes inside with a kick that catches Kid square on the cup and immediately backs off. After a moment, they resume and Johnson scores another takedown. Kid barely touches the ground and scrambles to keep it standing up. He sprawls on the next shot, but eats a few punches from Johnson soon after. Now it’s Johnson circling the outside in the orthodox stance. He goes to the middle and whirls Kid down with a single leg.
Yamamoto once again gets the underhook and quickly works back to his feet. Johnson misses with a three-piece, Kid misses with a counter right, and Johnson floors his opponent. Yamamoto gets up and Johnson does it again. Kid scrambles loose and tags Johnson with a knee, then backs off, thinking it may have been illegal. Johnson says he’s good and that’s where the round ends.
Round 3: Yamamoto slowing down now, still trying to counter the bouncy Johnson. After a minute of circling, Johnson drags Yamamoto down again. Not much happens before Kid gets back up, but Johnson is taking him down at will now. He does again, but can’t get any position on Yamamoto, who gets to his knees, then to his feet. Two minutes left. Johnson clips Kid with a left hook, then another, a kick to the body, and finishes with a takedown at the base of the fence. This time, Kid is slower to get up. He only gets off a few knee and punch attempts before Johnson takes him down again. It ends with Johnson grinding from half-guard and it should be a clean sweep for “Mighty Mouse.”
Official scores: The judges have it 29-28 and 30-27, twice, all in favor of Demetrious Johnson, the winner by unanimous decision.
Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa: Round 1
Referee Herb Dean is in charge of this featherweight affair. Omigawa puts his dukes up and begins changing levels, and Mendes smacks him with an outside leg kick. Mendes ducks inside and misses on a combo; Omigawa zaps him with a short counter left. Another cracking leg kick from Mendes precedes a takedown attempt, but Omigawa gets the underhook and sprawls well.
Mendes lands a crisp right hand, another leg kick, and tries another takedown attempt. Omigawa stays up again and now starts moving forward on Mendes, who’s flicking out his jab. With 90 seconds left, Mendes brings Omigawa down with a double-leg. Omigawa grabs a straight armbar from guard and Mendes looks concerned momentarily, but soon extracts the limb. He backs out and allows Omigawa to his feet. Mendes with another inside leg kick and grazes Omigawa with a left as the round ends.
Round 2: The fighters touch gloves again. Omigawa times an inside leg kick from Mendes and hits him over the top with a right hand. A combo from Mendes floors Omigawa and Mendes gives chase into the judoka’s guard. Omigawa recovers and ties up, but Mendes postures up and gets a few punches through before Omigawa scrambles to his feet. Mendes bounces a few overhand rights off Omigawa, who’s coming slow on his counters and has dropped his hands a bit. Mendes drills a right to the gut of Omigawa and then one to the grill.
Omigawa’s face is bloodied now, but does well to resist the next takedown attempt from Mendes and winds up pinned to the fence. Short elbow lands inside for Omigawa; Mendes gives him one back. Omigawa tries to reap the leg of Mendes, can’t get it and they disengage. Nice right hand from Mendes. He lands a few more leg kicks that have Omigawa jumping out of the way. Mendes shoots a single and gets sprawled on, and Omigawa drives some punches and elbows to his ribs. Mendes leaps in with a knee and has a left high kick blocked. Omigawa lands a solid left with 20 seconds left, but immediately gets plowed down by Mendes.
Round 3: Omigawa comes out sporting a massive gash on his left eyebrow from a Mendes elbow in round two. Nonetheless, he comes forward, landing a kick to the body and a few left hands before sprawling on another Mendes single-leg. Omigawa grabs a guillotine and Mendes rolls forward, extracting his head and moving into the Yoshida Dojo fighter’s half-guard. Omigawa establishes his guard. He’s doing well to tie Mendes up, but Mendes is just pinning him down and muscling him around the mat. Mendes backs out and dives back in with a right hand.
Omigawa shrimps and gets to his feet with just under two minutes left. Omigawa starting to string together punches now, lands a few and eats an overhand right counter. He looks to stuff another shot from Mendes, but Mendes keeps after it and gets it with the second effort. Omigawa looks for an omoplata opportunity in the waning seconds. Mendes senses this and backs out, then dives forward and connects with a few more punches before the final horn.
Official scores: All three judges cageside see the bout for Chad Mendes, with scores of 30-27 across the board.
Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly: Round 1
Referee Steve Mazzagatti is in charge of this lightweight matchup. Kelly throws a one-two instead of touching gloves and Cerrone plows him down with a double-leg. Cerrone gets his head clear of a loose guillotine attempt and moves to side control on Kelly. They work back to the feet and Kelly drills a knee in the clinch. He leaps forward and pops Cerrone with a nice left hand, opening up a cut beneath Cerrone’s right eye.
Cerrone puts a straight left on Kelly’s forehead, which Kelly slaps, telling the “Cowboy” to do it again. Cerrone ducks under a looping right from Kelly and slaps a nice kick to the Brit’s body. Solid overhand right connects for Kelly this time. Cerrone times a short Superman punch from Kelly and brings him down, then moves into half-guard. Kelly has both of Cerrone’s arms tied up, not allowing much. Cerrone gets loose in the last 20 seconds and busts Kelly up with short elbows, opening up a cut on the Englishman’s right eyebrow.
Round 2: The fighters touch gloves to start the second. Kelly flurrying with punching combos and leaping knees as Cerrone goes to work with low kicks. Cerrone connects with a left kick to the body-right hook combo. Left jabs getting through for Cerrone now. He drives forward and puts Kelly on his back, but gets caught in a guillotine. It’s not tight, and the Cowboy pops loose and gets to half-guard, then mount.
Kelly eats a few punches before giving up his back, where Cerrone locks up a tight body triangle with 1:50 still on the clock. Kelly, whose cut has opened back up, defends well at first, but a few punches from the back soften him up. Cerrone whips his left arm around Kelly’s throat and rolls him over, squeezing tight. Kelly taps the mat at the 3:48 mark of the second round.