By Thomas Gerbasi
OKLAHOMA CITY, September 16 – Middleweight prospect CB Dollaway got back in the win column Wednesday night following his UFC 100 loss to Tom Lawlor in July, but he was pushed to the brink while earning a unanimous three round decision over newcomer Jay Silva, who certainly made a name for himself with a spirited effort and some bone-rattling strikes in the UFC Fight Night preliminary bout at the Cox Convention Center.
Scores for Dollaway, now 10-3, were 29-28 across the board. Silva falls to 5-2.
Silva showed little respect for the striking of his opponent early on, walking in with his hands down as Dollaway kicked at him. As the bout entered the one minute mark, Silva fired back with a series of strikes, and Dollaway quickly responded with a takedown. It looked like it might have been over right there, but Silva battled back to his feet. Dollaway wasn’t discouraged though, opting instead to take Silva down again. After scoring some points on the mat, Dollaway and Silva rose, and after some uneventful standup, Dollaway scored another takedown, this time keeping Silva pinned against the fence until just before the bell.
Dollaway opened round two with a thudding kick to the stomach, but Silva came back with his own strikes, hurting and dropping Dollaway. ‘The Doberman’ quickly recovered though, getting the takedown and pushing Silva against the fence. Silva’s response? A kimura attempt that Dollaway eventually fought out of before getting into the mount position. Silva then gave up his back, and Dollaway went for a rear naked choke, but after some dicey moments, the game Silva fought his way free. Dollaway wasn’t about to be discouraged though, and he kept looking for the finish from the back, but before he could get it, the bell intervened.
Silva dropped his hands again to start the third round, daring Dollaway to hit him. Dollaway obliged with some grazing shots, but when Silva fired back, it forced the Arizona product to look for the takedown. After a brief scramble, Dollaway ended up in the top position, and after a brief stalemate, the crowd screamed for referee Leon Roberts to stand the fight up. The two kept working though, with Silva looking for a kimura, and Dollaway battling his way into the mount position. Silva fought free though and reversed position, eventually standing and letting Dollaway up. A flying knee from Silva followed, with a now bloodied Dollaway immediately looking for and getting the takedown with under a minute to go. And though the bout ended with a stalemate on the ground, the crowd was certainly appreciative of the effort of both men.
It was Greg Jackson 101 in the rubber match between former WEC light heavyweight champions Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell, as Stann used a disciplined stick and move fight plan and stuck to it for 15 minutes en route to a three round unanimous decision win over Cantwell.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Stann, who improves to 7-2; Cantwell falls to 7-3. The two traded TKO wins in the WEC in 2007 and 2008.
Given their explosive history, the pace between Cantwell and Stann was surprisingly tactical early, showing the respect the two had for each other, as well as the evolution of both their games. Stann was especially impressive as he used the Octagon and kept his head moving as he darted in and out on his foe. Cantwell gladly played the role of stalker, but even though he looked to possess the heavier hands, he wasn’t getting reckless as he moved in, and as the round ticked down, he started to find the mark with his left hook.
The nip and tuck action continued in round two, with both fighters trying to mix up their attack in order to find a fight-finishing opening. In the second half of the round, Cantwell began to show his frustration at chasing Stann by dropping his hands and even shouting at one point, but Stann stuck to his stick and move gameplan, even avoiding a late Cantwell takedown attempt.
Cantwell came out with even more purpose in round three, determined to cut off Stann’s routes of escape and force him into a firefight. Stann wouldn’t be rattled though, and he pecked at Cantwell in order to pile up points while Cantwell pursued.
Mike Pyle earned the victory over Chris Wilson in a battle of veteran welterweights, submitting his foe via guillotine choke in the third round.
The action was slow in the early going, with Pyle finally breaking the shutout with a takedown a minute and a half in, but again the fight stalled as the two veterans nullified each other’s offensive attempts.
Pyle drew blood first in the second round as well via takedown, and he controlled Wilson on the ground while tossing in enough strikes to score some points. Wilson, though pinned to the mat, still kept trying to make something happen, briefly catching Pyle’s arm before a stalemate forced referee Dan Miragliotta to stand the fight up. It was while standing that Wilson was able to land with solid body shots before the round came to a close.
Round three began tentatively, with Wilson starting off with some strong strikes. But when he tried to take Pyle down, the submission king locked in a guillotine choke that forced a tap out by Wilson at 2:15 of the final round.
With the win, Pyle improves to 18-6-1. Wilson falls to 13-6 with 1 NC.
Lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Justin Buchholz looked like they were on their way to a memorable war when a cut suffered by Buchholz forced a halt to the action, giving Stephens a TKO win in a bout that certainly gave the fans their money’s worth for the 3:23 it lasted.
“This is exactly what I expected,” said Stephens. “He’s a very tough opponent and he hits a lot harder than I thought.”
Both Stephens (17-5) and Buchholz (9-4) came out throwing bombs, much to the delight of the crowd, but both men survived the early assault, but a series of hard knees soon dropped Buchholz with 3:20 left in the round. It looked like that might be the end, but Buchholz survived, got back to his feet, and tried to get even with his own kicks and punches. Stephens just looked like the stronger of the two though, and another series of hard shots sent Buchholz back to the canvas, opening a huge gash on his forehead in the process. After a brief lull in the action, referee Kevin Nix halted the bout to inspect Buchholz’ cut and decided to end the bout at 3:23 of the round.
UFC newcomer Mike Pierce made the most of his Octagon debut, scoring a steady but unspectacular unanimous decision win over veteran welterweight contender Brock Larson.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Pierce.
Pierce looked for a takedown almost immediately, but Larson held his foe off well until a slam put the Minnesotan on his back a minute in. Larson wasn’t rattled by the change of scenery, and though he got back to his feet, Pierce slammed him a second time, this time bulling Larson into the fence. While there, Pierce attacked with strikes, but Larson was active in looking to lock Pierce’s arm up. After a stalemate, the two stood with a minute left, and now it was Larson trying to push the pace with some hard strikes just before the bell.
Matching Larson’s strength, Pierce used the fence to his advantage again in round two as he pinned the veteran and fired off strikes while standing and on the ground. And though Larson briefly caught Pierce’s arm, he was unable to mount much more in the way of offense as Pierce put another round in the bank.
Looking to turn things around, Larson went on the offensive in the third round, but after his initial charge, Pierce nullified the attack and took Larson to the mat, where he continued to control the action until the bout ended.
Pierce improves to 9-2 with the win; Larson falls to 27-3.
Ryan Jensen got his first UFC victory in four tries in the opener, but a bad call by referee Gary Ritter put a damper on the middleweight veteran’s first round win over Octagon newcomer Steve Steinbeiss.
Steinbeiss, a former pro kickboxer, showed off his striking in the opening stages of the bout, prompting Jensen to search for – and get – a takedown 90 seconds in. Jensen did some solid work from the top position as he fired away at Steinbeiss. In an ensuing scramble, Jensen sunk in a guillotine choke, and though Steinbeiss gave a thumbs up when referee Ritter grabbed his arm to see if he was out or not, the fight was stopped anyway at the 3:56 mark, giving Jensen a TKO win.
“I felt it was real tight,” said Jensen as the crowd booed. “But it’s up to the referee and not me. I’m here to compete and fight.”
With the win, Jensen improves to 15-4; Steinbeiss falls to 4-3.
The lightweight preliminary bout between Sam Stout and Phillipe Nover was canceled when Nover fell ill in the locker room before the bout. Nover is currently doing fine and made it to Octagonside to watch the event, but he was not cleared to compete.