Round 2. McGee aggressively opens up from the start of the round, throwing a lot more than his opponent. Neer does land a nice hook in an exchange. McGee catches Neer off balance and knocks him down with a punch moments later. Neer is fine and gets back up but begins eating even more shots. Neer finally is able to turn things around somewhat by pressing forward with jabs. He knocks McGee’s head back and lands a quality uppercut. Neer’s improvement is coming as he puts pressure on McGee and prevents McGee from fighting at comfortable range. McGee responds by landing a series of punches to the head and body. McGee looks for a takedown but it is blocked. Neer lands a nice knee to the body and the round comes to a close. 10-9 Neer.
Round 3. McGee lands a couple jabs to start the round. He lands a nice straight right punch up the middle on Neer. McGee presses Neer against the cage and looks for a takedown. Neer defends it nicely. They separate and McGee finally gets a takedown. However, Neer stands back up next to the cage halfway through the final stanza. McGee looks to take Neer back down. He grabs a deep double leg and gets Neer down. McGee lands punches from top position while trying to avoid Neer’s attempts to set up a submission. As Neer attempts to stand up, McGee takes his back but can’t get both hooks in. Neer rolls out but McGee gets top position and lands punches to conclude the fight. 10-9 McGee, 29-27 McGee.
Winner: Court McGee, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
Josh Koscheck has been one of the UFC’s most controversial and well-known figures since his tenure on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter. He is coming off a loss to Johny Hendricks and needs impressive wins to keep his career going strong at the age of 35. Robbie Lawler was a phenom early in his career, one of the top prospects in the UFC at the age of 20. He left the UFC and spent many years fighting outside the organization before making his return in this fight. However, he has lost five of his last eight fights and is widely considered on the downside of his career.
Round 1. Koscheck takes Lawler down. Lawler stands back up but Koscheck grabs a leg and takes Lawler back down. Koscheck isn’t able to accomplish anything on the ground and immediately Lawler works his way back up. Koscheck tries for another takedown but eats a big punch. Lawler follows with a series of additional punches and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, TKO, round 1.
Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson
Schaub is an excellent athlete who was on an NFL practice squad before getting into fighting. His Achilles’ heel in his MMA career has been his chin, as all his losses have come via clean knockout. That plays into Johnson’s hands, as he is a knockout puncher with 15 of his 17 wins coming via KO. He also is an inspirational story, surviving a random shooting at a family reunion to continue fighting.
Round 1. Schaub immediately looks for a takedown. He gets Johnson down and looks for a choke but Johnson is able to get out of danger. Johnson gets back up and he gets Schaub to the ground. Johnson lands a few punches from top position but Schaub is able to gain top control and work from Johnson’s half guard. Johnson gets back up again but Schaub takes him to the mat in quick order. 10-9 Schaub.
Round 2. They clinch and exchange punches from close distance. Johnson lands some heavy punches to the body. Schaub takes Johnson down. He isn’t particularly active on the ground, either in terms of looking for a submission or landing punches. The referee responds by standing the fight back up. Schaub lands a hard overhand and looks to take Johnson back down. Schaub lands a nice uppercut and gets the takedown. Schaub tries to pass guard but doesn’t come close. The crowd boos Schaub’s stall oriented attack. 10-9 Schaub.
Round 3. They each swing wildly early. Johnson lands a nice uppercut but Schaub takes him back down. Schaub lands light punches and tries to pass to no avail. Finally halfway through the round Schaub passes into mount. He then loses that position in quick order. Schaub keeps landing unnotable punches from top position for the remainder of the round. Bad fight. 10-9 Schaub, 30-27 Schaub.
Winner: Brendan Schaub, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen
Michael Chiesa was one of the most memorable figures in recent years of the Ultimate Fighter, dealing with the death of his father during the taping of the show and going on to win the season. He sports an 8-0 MMA record. Kuivanen is a Finnish fighter who fought most of his career in Europe before making his UFC debut in February 2012. He is 1-1 in the UFC.
Round 1. Chiesa lands a nice pair of straight punches early. Neither fighter is particularly aggressive as they feel each other out. Kuivanen throws more but neither man is able to land much. Kuivanen lands a nice punch from close distance and pushes Chiesa against the cage. They eventually separate. Kuivanen lands a nice hook and Chiesa responds by making funny faces. Kuivanen pushes forward with punches but Chiesa mostly defends. Kuivanen throws a knee that lands to a degree but Chiesa takes him down in the process. Kuivanen quickly gets back up. 10-9 Kuivanen.
Round 2. Chiesa grabs a single leg and looks to take the fight to the ground. He can’t get Kuivanen down but he turns and takes Kuivanen’s back on the feet. Chiesa pulls Kuivanen to the ground and locks in a body triangle. That puts him in good position to apply a rear naked choke and he locks it in. Kuivanen is forced to submit. This was a nice comeback win for Chiesa.
Winner: Michael Chiesa, submission, round 2.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice
Bermudez was the featherweight runner-up on the fourteenth season of the Ultimate Fighter. He has won his last two bouts. Grice is coming off a win over Leonard Garcia but sports a 2-4 UFC record. Both men rely heavily on their wrestling backgrounds.
Round 1. Bermudez goes for a takedown early but Grice defends. In a scramble, Bermudez ends up in mount and begins throwing down big punches. Grice finally gets out of mount and stands up but Bermudez begins looking for a guillotine choke. They separate and Grice lands a nice elbow and some punches from close distance. Bermudez pushes forward with punches of his own that send Grice back across much of the Octagon. Grice catches Bermudez with a heavy hook and then drops Bermudez with another moments later. Bermudez is in big trouble. Grice lands a hard knee to the head. Grice lands some additional heavy punches as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Grice.
Round 2. The fighters exchange low kicks early. Grice lands a few nice jabs and Bermudez dives in with a wild takedown attempt. Grice blocks that and looks for a takedown of his own against the cage. He takes Bermudez down halfway through the round. As Bermudez stands up, Grice looks to take Bermudez’s back. He is unsuccessful in the effort. Grice is cut high on his forehead. Grice looks for a takedown but can’t get it. Bermudez defends a takedown very nicely and lands a knee in the break. Bermudez looks for a choke as the round closes but Grice rolls out of trouble. Close round. Two very difficult rounds to judge. 10-9 Grice.
Round 3. Bermudez drops Grice with a big punch early in the round and Grice is in huge trouble. The fight is very close to being stopped as Bermudez opens up with punches on the ground. Bermudez follows with elbows. Grice begins to regain his senses and stands up. Bermudez throws wild, heavy uppercuts and has Grice in big trouble. Grice throws back wildly. This is a crazy spectacle. Grice is almost too proud for his own good as he wildly answers back rather than covering up and looking to protect himself. Grice clinches against the cage but Bermudez keeps landing shots. Bermudez is so much more accurate with his punches and keeps connecting from an array of angles. Grice can barely stand and needs the cage to hold himself up. Grice fires back with a huge overhand right that sends Bermudez back. Grice begins to land the better shots as the fight comes to a close. That was a borderline 10-7 round. 10-8 Bermudez, 28-28 draw.
Winner: Dennis Bermudez, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
That was a surefire fight of the year contender, one of the most memorable bouts in recent years.