By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, December 5 – In comic books, Doomsday was the only character to defeat Superman. At The Pearl at The Palms Saturday, welterweight prospect John “Doomsday” Howard repeated that victory, roaring back from a 2-0 hole in rounds to stop returning veteran Dennis “Superman” Hallman with just five seconds left in the third and final round of their preliminary bout on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale card.
Hallman controlled the first round on the mat, nullifying any offense from Howard, and while he wasn’t able to finish the bout in the opening stanza, a guillotine choke seemed to be doing the trick in the second before Howard found another escape route. Hallman kept piling up the points though as he took Howard’s back and tried to finish matters with a rear naked choke for much of the round.
Finally in the third round, Howard showed signs of life as he got in the mount position and fired away with strikes. After weathering the attack, Hallman reversed position and got into his opponent’s guard. After a brief stall, referee Josh Rosenthal re-started the action, and with seconds remaining, Howard attacked, dropping Hallman (64-13-2, 1 NC) hard to the mat with a left hook. A follow-up left finished things off at the 2:55 mark, bringing Howard to 3-0 in the UFC and 13-4 overall.
James McSweeney earned his first UFC victory, halting TUF10 teammate Darrill Schoonover in the third round of their heavyweight bout.
McSweeney took control from the outset, scoring with big knees and punches, as well as locking in a guillotine choke. But the resilient Schoonover broke loose from the submission attempt and went to work, almost sinking in an arm triangle. McSweeney wasn’t in trouble for long though, and he started to look for the finisher again. Yet like a horror movie villain, Schoonover roared back just before the bell, and the crowd erupted.
Opting to keep things on the mat in round two, McSweeney kept Schoonover in a bad spot for much of the frame, easily earning the frame.
There was more of the same in round three, and following a steady barrage of shots which started with a left knee to the head, McSweeeney finally sent Schoonover to the mat for the last time, bringing in referee Josh Rosenthal to halt the bout at 3:20 of the third round.
With the win, McSweeney improves to 13-5; Schoonover falls to 10-1.
In the night’s first clash of TUF10 heavyweights, Jon Madsen scored a three round split decision over Justin Wren.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29 for Madsen.
Madsen and Wren came out throwing punches, with Wren getting the worst of it as his face was bloodied. After the initial barrage, the pace dipped to a quieter level, with both fighters looking to pick their shots more judiciously. With two minutes left, Wren dropped his hands and taunted Madsen, trying to get him to engage. Madsen bit for a brief flurry, but then went back to using his movement to control the action as Wren stalked. And while the crowd roared as Wren showboated, it was Madsen landing the cleaner shots.
The second round was devoid of action as the two heavyweights circled each other until the last 30 seconds, when a quick flurry by Wren may have been enough for him to steal the frame.
The same theory looked to be true in the third, as Wren’s aggressiveness and the occasional landed haymaker kept him in the fight, but Madsen’s quick counters impressed the judges enough to get him the victory.
With the win, Madesn improves to 4-0; Wren falls to 10-2.
Light heavyweight Brian Stann handed Octagon newcomer Rodney Wallace his first pro loss, pounding out a workmanlike three round unanimous decision victory.
Scores for Stann were 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
The first round was a competitive one, with Wallace controlling the wrestling and ground portion of the frame behind his takedowns and a crowd-pleasing suplex, and Stann doing strong work with his strikes.
Wallace decided to keep the pattern going from his end early in round two with another takedown, but the real action on the mat came from Stann, who fired off strikes from inside his opponent’s guard. Wallace kept his cool, hunting for a submission from the bottom, and he almost locked Stann’s leg up before the bell intervened.
Stann opened up the third with a flush leg kick, with Wallace responding by taking his foe to the mat. Wallace quickly took Stann’s back, but with teammate Joe Stevenson rooting him on, Stann escaped and got back to his feet. Wallace stayed close, pushing Stann into the fence, but Stann’s defense was tight, and he followed up with some knees and another crushing leg kick before Wallace was able to close the gap. At close range this time though, it was Stann in control, as he finished strong to the bell.
With the win, Stann improves to 8-2; Wallace falls to 9-1.
In the opener, lightweight up and comer Mark Bocek spoiled the UFC debut of Joe Brammer, submitting the Iowan in the first round.
Brammer’s standup looked solid in the early going as he kept the fight from the mat, but once Bocek got the takedown, it was just a matter of time until the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt sunk in the hooks and secured a rear naked choke that produced a tap out by Brammer (7-1-1) at 3:36 of the opening frame.
That’s three in a row for me,” said Bocek, 8-2. “Now I’m looking for a name, a tough test.”