Scores were 30-27 twice and 30-26.
After some uneventful grappling early on, Mir began landing well with some knees and kicks. Nelson fired back with punches upstairs that got his foe’s attention before he bulled him into the fence. Mir remained cool, and when he found his opening he drilled “Big Country” repeatedly with knee after knee. The steel-chinned Nelson took each shot well and resumed his attempt to wear Mir out against the fence. With 1:20 left, the two broke and Nelson fired off punches and a kick to the head, none of which did any damage. The same couldn’t be said for the subsequent takedown by Mir, who shook the Octagon as he threw Nelson to the mat. Nelson got back to his feet fairly fast though, again showing his amazing resistance to pain. See post-fight interview with Nelson
Mir continued his varied attack as round two opened, as he landed two hard kicks to the body before he took Nelson down again. This time he used his ground strikes effectively, but Nelson got back to his feet, only to take more close range shots before getting put on his back again. Unbreakable, Nelson fought his way up and free, and with fatigue evident, he still battled on, this time forcing Mir to the fence until referee Josh Rosenthal called for a break with 10 seconds left.
Nelson looked exhausted as he came out of his corner for round three, and Mir, while tired himself, landed some hard kicks before scoring another takedown. There he landed more hard shots at close range as he tried to improve position. Nelson, still game, wouldn’t allow it as he rose to his feet, but another Mir takedown took even more out of his gas tank. With 1:50 left, the two fighters stood, but it only took Mir 30 seconds for yet another takedown, putting the stamp on a big win.
With the win, Mir improves to 15-5; Nelson falls to 16-6.
BROWNE VS. STRUVE
Unbeaten banger Travis Browne kept his “0” intact with a spectacular first round knockout of highly-touted Stefan Struve in a clash of heavyweight prospects. See post-fight interview
The two giants (Struve 6-11 and Browne 6-7) traded thudding kicks to begin the bout, with a subsequent lockup stalling out and forcing a restart from referee Steve Mazzagatti. After breaking, the kicks kept coming, and in the third minute, Browne added in some punches before getting the bout to the mat. Browne (11-0-1) wasn’t able to do much from the top position, and in a scramble he almost got caught in a submission. But when the bout returned to the standing position, he found his range with a straight right Superman punch down the middle that landed flush and sent Struve (25-5) to the canvas. A follow up series of shots forced Mazzagatti’s hand, giving Browne the victory at 4:11 of the opening frame. His award for KO of the Night was no surprise, and he scored $70K for his trouble.
STORY VS. ALVES
Welterweight up and comer Rick Story moved from prospect to contender in his bout with Thiago Alves, as he outworked and survived some hard incoming fire from the former world title challenger to win a close, but unanimous, decision. See post-fight interview
All three judges saw it 29-28 for Story, who ups his record to 13-3; Alves falls to 23-7.
Story got Alves to the canvas fairly easy to start the bout. Alves stood immediately, but with Story staying locked on to him, he ate some knees to the leg as they grappled along the fence. Alves turned the tables with a quick takedown of his own, allowing him to get back to his feet. Story smothered any standup from the “Pitbull,” and they resumed their lock-up against the fence, prompting a restart from referee Kim Winslow. Story banged out some body punches before pushing his foe to the fence again, and after a bit of a stall, he reeled off some two-fisted combos that caught Alves by surprise. Finally after breaking, the two slugged it out for a bit, drawing a roar as the bell sounded.
A good exchange between the two welterweights opened the round before Story took the fight back to the fence. With 90 seconds gone, he put the Brazilian on his back, but Alves shot back up and scored a takedown of his own. Story didn’t stay there long but he did park himself on the fence until Winslow broke the two. After a quick break away from each other, Story put another takedown on the board, with Alves rising and landing a couple of kicks before time expired.
Alves and Story traded blows to kick off round three, each getting his share of shots in. The inevitable tie up against the fence followed, but when the two would separate, Alves was beginning to get the better of the exchanges as Story marched forward and the two finally went to war in the final minute, tagging each other with flush blows until the end of the bout.
STANN VS. SANTIAGO
On Memorial Day weekend, the most important holiday break on his calendar, United States Marine Corps veteran Brian Stann left his armed forces comrades happy as he dominated returning middleweight contender Jorge Santiago before ending the bout via TKO late in the second round. See post-fight interview
The win was Stann’s third at 185 pounds, and he continues to impress with each outing.
“It means so much to win today,” Stann said. “There are people who aren’t here anymore. They are the true heroes. I am here thanks to a lot of luck and I’m grateful to be fighting on the biggest stage on earth.”
Stann pursued Santiago to start the bout - which earned Fight of the Night at the end of the event - but it was a Santiago right that drew first blood as he raised a knot under Stann’s left eye. The “All-American” didn’t miss a beat marching forward, and he began tagging the Brazilian with hard leg kicks. Santiago responded with a kick to the head, but just missed his target. With 1:50 left, Stann dropped Santiago with a left hook and began working on his opponent with ground strikes in an attempt to finish. Santiago was able to withstand the initial assault and eventually get back to his feet, but the damage had been done, and Santiago looked dazed and tired as he made his way back to his corner.
Santiago recovered well between rounds, using a quick jab to close the distance and lock Stann up against the fence to begin the second frame. Stann powered his way loose and resumed tagging the Brazilian with leg kicks. Santiago tried to mix things up with a spinning back fist and flying knee, but Stann walked right through both, leaving “The Sandman” to regroup and start again. With less than a minute remaining, Stann drew oohs from the crowd for a kick to the midsection, but the big boom was coming as a right hand dropped Santiago to the canvas. A follow-up assault of rights was next, with referee Herb Dean halting the bout at the 4:29 mark.
With the win, Stann ups his record to 11-3; Santiago falls to 23-9.
Watch the full event here: http://www.ufc.tv/ufc/event/rampage-vs-hamill/509