By Thomas Gerbasi
VANCOUVER, BC, June 12 – The wins keep getting bigger and bigger for rising lightweight star Evan Dunham, who kept his perfect record intact Saturday night at General Motors Place with a three round split decision win over highly-regarded contender Tyson Griffin in UFC 115 prelim action. See post-fight interviews with all the undercard winners at ufc.com; order unaired prelims on www.ufclive.comUFCLive.com for only $1.99 per fight
Griffin vs. Dunham
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Dunham, who improves to 11-0; Griffin falls to 14-3. The two previously trained together at Las Vegas’ Xtreme Couture gym.
After a tentative opening, Dunham looked to take Griffin to the mat, but with an incredible display of balance, the Sacramento native hopped around on one leg, cracking Dunham with a right hand the whole way until his foe let go of his other leg. The exchange got both fighters in gear, and they traded solid punches and kicks, with Dunham holding the edge from long range, where he could use his height and reach advantage. With under two minutes left, Dunham was able to get Griffin to the mat, and he got his hooks in while looking for the rear naked choke. Griffin’s defense was solid, and he still found the room to score with some punches to the face before the round ended.
In the first minute of round two, it was Griffin looking to take the fight to the mat, and he did, pulling guard while trying to sink in a guillotine choke. Dunham easily escaped and began working for a choke of his own before Griffin broke loose and they both stood. A Dunham takedown followed a few moments later, and he was able to take Griffin’s back a second time. Griffin’s defense was solid and he was able to rise to his feet with Dunham still on his back, but he was unable to shake the Oregon native, even after a forward slam to the mat.
Griffin and Dunham began the final round trading punches, much to the delight of the crowd. After a minute of standup, Griffin shot for the takedown but was turned back, and Dunham scored with two kicks before getting his opponent’s back yet again. Griffin’s response was identical to that of the round before, as he stood up and tried to shake Dunham. Dunham wasn’t budging though as he tried to get in the finishing choke. It didn’t happen, but his control throughout earned him the victory, his first since a January submission win over Efrain Escudero and fourth in the UFC.
Danzig vs. Wiman
What was promising to be an interesting lightweight scrap between Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig instead ended prematurely after referee Yves Lavigne mistakenly thought Danzig had been rendered unconscious by a Wiman guillotine choke and halted the bout in the first round.
“Yves Lavigne and all referees have a really tough job,” said a gracious, but disappointed Danzig. “I was feeling the choke, but I wasn’t out and I wasn’t about to tap. I hope we can do this again.”
The bout went to the mat almost immediately, with Danzig controlling matters from the top as Wiman stayed active from the bottom, eventually sinking in a guillotine choke. After a few moments of inactivity, referee Yves Lavigne moved in and lifted Danzig’s arm to see if the Californian was unconscious. He didn’t like what he saw, and he called the fight at the 1:45 mark, but Danzig immediately jumped up, apparently unhurt, drawing looks of belief from both fighters and boos from the crowd.
With the win, Wiman improves to 21-7-1; Danzig falls to 11-6.
Miranda went on the attack immediately, slamming Loiseau to the canvas. Miranda didn’t let up there, working his ground strikes while the crowd tried to rally their man. Midway through the round, he found his way to his feet while sporting a mouse under his left eye. A minute later, Miranda put him back on the mat; this time Loiseau shot up quickly, though he still wasn’t able to mount any offensive attack, forcing a re-start from referee Tony Williamson in the final minute.
Looking to right the ship, Loiseau came out firing kicks in round two and then switched up with a right hand that startled Miranda briefly. The Brazilian recovered and took Loiseau back to the mat, cutting him on the top of the head with subsequent ground strikes. Miranda, in control, opened up with both hands as Loiseau cupped his ears in defense. Finally, after a series of unanswered blows, referee Tony Williamson halted the bout at the 4:07 mark.
With the win, Miranda improves to 12-1; Loiseau falls to 19-10.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 30-28 for Wilks, who improves to 8-3; Sobotta falls to 8-3.
Both fighters had their moments during a fast-paced first round, with Wilks holding the edge thanks to two submission attempts that saw him trying to finish off his foe.
Sobotta returned the favor with his fists in the second round, rocking Wilks briefly before the two locked up against the fence. After breaking loose, Wilks got his own shots in, but a clinch subsequently stalled the action until he was able to take Sobotta down with 90 seconds left. Wilks again looked to be on the verge of ending matters as he tried for a choke, but the Germany product’s defense was solid, and he escaped again, though looking worse for wear by the end of the round.
Turning the tables in the third round, Sobotta took Wilks’ back in a scramble on the mat, sunk his hooks in and tried to finish matters with a rear naked choke. Wilks fought his opponent off though, finding his way into Sobotta’s guard with a little over a minute left, and he finished the bout there with ground strikes that sealed the victory.
After getting a raucous response from the crowd to start the bout, Patrick dominated the first round behind a punishing ground attack that bruised Funch (7-2) up and almost saw the Canadian pull off a late guillotine choke finish.
“The Prince” didn’t let his foe off the hook in the second round though, as he sunk in the guillotine choke again, pulled guard, and got the tap out at the 1:48 mark, lifting his pro record to 12-1.
Pyle vs. Lennox
Veteran Mike Pyle lived up to his nickname “Quicksand” in the welterweight opener, luring Jesse Lennox in and then trapping him in a triangle choke that produced a submission victory with less than 30 seconds left in the third round.
After a slow opening to the bout, a fight broke out in the final minute as Lennox landed with a looping right hand and began throwing haymakers. But a miss by the Iowan almost proved costly as Pyle countered with a right hand that stunned Lennox. Pyle went in for the submission finish, but wasn’t able to get it before the bell sounded.
Pyle went on the offensive to begin round two, nailing Lennox with another flush shot to the face before smoothly taking his foe to the mat. While there, Pyle worked his ground attack while looking for a submission. Again, Lennox’ defense was solid and he was able to get back to his feet briefly before the fight went back to the mat, this time with “The Ox” in control until the end of the round.
Using leg kicks to great effect, Pyle started the final round strong, with Lennox responding with the looping shots that he had success with early. With a minute left, Lennox opened up, rocking Pyle with a left hook, but as the bout went to the mat, Pyle was in his comfort zone and he sunk in a triangle choke. Lennox wouldn’t tap, but within seconds, it was clear that he was out, forcing referee Kevin Dornan to halt the fight at 4:44 of the final round.
With the win, Pyle improves to 19-7-1; Lennox falls to 18-8-1.