Griffin, Miller Make Statements with Big UFN Wins
NASHVILLE, April 1 – Known primarily for their ground games, lightweights Tyson Griffin and Rafael Dos Anjos instead showed off their striking prowess as well at the Sommet Center Wednesday night, and the result was an entertaining three round scrap that saw Griffin survive some dicey moments before emerging victorious via unanimous decision.
Scores for Griffin were 30-27 in a fight that was a lot more competitive than those scores would indicate.
Griffin was sharp with his strikes from the opening bell, and he calmly picked at Dos Anjos, who wasted a lot of energy moving around the Octagon while trying to tag his foe. With 2:50 left in the round, Griffin tagged Dos Anjos and hurt him, following up with a takedown to the mat. Dos Anjos got his bearings back and looked for a submission on Griffin’s leg, but the California native fought his way loose and got back to his feet, much to the delight of the crowd.
Dos Anjos struck first in the second, briefly dropping Griffin with a hard shot to the head, but Griffin got right back into the fray looking for payback. A minute and a half in, Griffin was starting to get frustrated by Dos Anjos’ movement, but he wasn’t doing enough to cut the Octagon off on him, instead he just followed the Brazilian around. When he was able to land, he drew blood from the bridge of Dos Anjos’ nose, but at close range, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt remained dangerous. With under a minute to go, Griffin jarred Dos Anjos with a right hand and the two traded shots as the volume level in the arena rose, and by the end of the round, Griffin looked to be in control of the bout.
The exchanges between the two came more often in the third round, and Griffin was still finding a home for his right hand on Dos Anjos’ head, but the Brazilian refused to give in, and he kept fighting back, even throwing a knee into the mix that kept Griffin honest. With 35 seconds remaining, the fight went back to the mat, but a Dos Anjos kimura attempt was foiled by Griffin, who landed with a series of ground strikes until the closing bell.
With the win, Griffin improves to 13-2; Dos Anjos falls to 11-4.
In pre-fight banter, Cole Miller promised a dominant win over The Ultimate Fighter 8’s Junie Browning, and once the bell rang, the Georgia native delivered, submitting his foe in the first round of their lightweight bout.
After a brief feeling out process, Browning and Miller (15-3) locked up, with the fight going to the mat soon after. A stalemate ensued and the two stood. Miller landed a couple of hard strikes and then went for the kill, locking in a guillotine choke that forced Browning (3-2) to tap out, ending matters at 1:58 of the first round.
“I would really like to fight the winner of the Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno fight at UFC 99 in Germany,” said Miller when asked his future plans.
The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner, Ryan Bader, kept his unbeaten record intact as he used his wrestling attack to cruise to a shutout three round win over Carmelo Marrero.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Bader, who ups his record to 10-0; Marrero falls to 10-3 with 1 NC.
Bader got the bout to the mat early behind a strong takedown, and he immediately went to work on Marrero’s arm. The American Top Team product scramble out of trouble, but then found his arm locked up again by Bader. As Marrero escaped again, he found his way into Bader’s guard and began working his ground strikes. Moments later, Marrero stood and let Bader up, but Bader took the bout right back to the mat, landing in side control. After a scramble, the two stood again before another Bader takedown just before the end of the round.
Marrero sprawled his way out of Bader’s first takedown attempt in round two, but the former All-American wrestler kept the pressure on until he put Marrero on his back. Eventually, Bader worked his way to his opponent’s back and fired away with strikes, but again, Marrero found a way to survive under fire. Marrero wasn’t scoring points though, and Bader kept adding to his lead with a methodical attack.
The third was more of the same, as Bader took Marrero down and worked his ground attack. Bader tried an arm triangle and briefly got into the mount position, but was unable to finish the veteran.