MONTREAL, March 16 – Patrick Cote’s welterweight debut started out well in the Octagon and ended well on the scorecards, but in between, it appeared Strikeforce veteran Bobby Voelker had done enough to win his UFC debut at the Bell Centre Saturday night, only to lose a close unanimous decision to “The Predator.”
All three judges saw it 29-28 for Cote, now 20-8; Voelker falls to 24-9.
"I thought I won the first two rounds, but it was a good, competitive, close fight," said Cote. "I felt good at the weight for the first time at welterweight, but I got real tired after the second round and he pushed me around in the last round. This was my first time making the weight, this is a learning process for me, and I will work on that with my trainers and try to make sure this doesn’t happen next time. But welterweight is the weight for me now. Next time it will be a little easier and I will be closer to 100% and not tire so fast."
After a rousing reception from his hometown crowd, Cote came out swinging, nailing Voelker with some hard shots in the process as his fans chanted his name. Voelker proceeded to tie Cote up, but the Canadian reversed position against the fence and then landed an elbow that allowed him to break free. Moments later, the two locked up again, with Cote getting a brief trip to the mat before Voelker took him down. Cote worked well from the bottom, trying to hit a submission on the Missouri native. Voelker stayed out of trouble, but wasn’t able to do much with his dominant top position.
Cote kept the pressure on in the standup game in round two, looking faster and sharper than he has in a long time. Midway through the round, Voelker rallied back, and he seemed to be getting his opponent’s attention for the first time in the fight, prompting Cote, who was now bleeding from his forehead, to tie up against the fence. After a brief break to catch his breath, Cote broke loose and flurried again before matching a Voelker takedown with one of his own just before the bell.
With five minutes left, Cote and Voelker met in the middle of the Octagon and swung haymakers at each other, with Voelker getting the best of the action. After locking up, another heated exchange favored the American, who then took Cote down and began firing off ground strikes. Cote tried to catch Voelker in a submission, but to no avail, and even a brief return to the feet was greeted by another series of ground and pound from Voelker until the fight ended.
ELKINS vs. CARVALHO
After four straight decision wins, surging featherweight Darren Elkins got the finish he craved, stopping Ontario’s Antonio Carvalho in the first round.
The TKO was Elkins’ first finish since he defeated Duane Ludwig via injury in March of 2010.
After the two kept the fight standing and had their moments in the early going, Elkins wobbled Carvalho with a right to the head. Carvalho stumbled and Elkins moved in, dropping the Canadian with a left-right seconds later. Carvalho rose, but referee Yves Lavigne had seen enough, halting the bout at the 3:06 mark, a decision that was greeted by boos from the Bell Centre crowd and protests from Carvalho, but the verdict stands.
“He was hurt for sure but after I dropped him he popped back up, and I don’t think the referee put himself in the position to see that," said Elkins. "I feel bad for him, but of course I am going to say that I would have stopped him anyway. He was very cool about it, he told me that I hurt him and he had no complaints. He’s a true martial artist and great guy."
“I don’t blame Darren," said Carvalho. "He isn’t the referee. Listen, he hit me with something because I remember going down. I shouldn’t have been caught with the punch in the first place because some referees are safety-first and you don’t get to do it again. I feel bad he got a big win and was booed. It wasn’t his call to stop it like that."
Elkins, now winner of five in a row, ups his record to 17-2; Carvalho drops to 15-6.
Watch Elkins' post-fight interview
MEIN vs. MILLER
After eluding an early submission attempt, Alberta’s Jordan Mein went on to look spectacular in his UFC debut, handing veteran Dan Miller his first ever TKO loss, stopping him in the first round of their welterweight bout.
After some standup from both fighters to kick off the bout, Miller made the first big move, taking Mein down in the opening minute. On the mat, Miller almost hit paydirt with an armbar attempt, but Mein rolled his way out of trouble and back to his feet. Mein had better luck while standing, scoring a knockdown with a straight left with 90 seconds left. Miller recovered quickly, but Mein had found his range, bloodying and then dropping Miller a second time with a body shot. This time, the New Jersey native would not be able to recover, as Mein’s follow up barrage forced a stop to the contest by referee Marc-Andre Cote at 4:42 of the opening round.
"Fighting in the UFC for the first time was just an awesome experience," said Mein. "I had a lot of pressure on myself in the Octagon for the first time, coming in from Strikeforce. That armbar was a little scary; everyone knows Dan Miller always brings it. I just had to roll and roll until I was out. I’m so happy right now, this is a great feeling."
With the win, Mein improves to 27-8; Miller falls to 14-7 with 1 NC.
Watch Mein's post-fight interview
MAKDESSI vs. CRUICKSHANK
He took a while to get in a rhythm, but once he did, Montreal lightweight prospect John Makdessi delivered another impressive display of striking in winning a three round unanimous decision over Daron Cruickshank.
"That was a tough fight,' said Makdessi. "I felt strong and my cardio was good; I trusted my trainers when they said just breathe and push the pace. I think I can get much better. I want to improve every day, and I know I can get right up there if I keep working hard."
Scores for Makdessi, now 11-2, were 29-28 across the board; the loss drops Ultimate Fighter alum Cruickshank to 12-3.
What was expected to be a standup war instead proved to be a war of nerves in round one, with neither competitor wanting to be the one making a fight-ending mistake. Thankfully as the round progressed, there was more in the way of action and unorthodox techniques from both fighters, but nothing that made much of an impression, save some hard early leg kicks from Cruickshank.
The action heated up in round two, and so did Makdessi, as he transitioned from waiting back and countering to going on the attack, being successful in both areas as Cruickshank appeared frustrated from the shots landed by “The Bull.”
Landing more and more in round three, Makdessi was now in complete control of the bout, even continuing to toss aside takedown attempts from the Detroit native. Cruickshank was still dangerous though, which made Makdessi’s efforts even more impressive, as he kept engaging at close range. An accidental poke in the eye by Cruickshank brought a momentary halt to the action with a little over a minute left, but it wasn’t able to swing momentum back on Cruickshank’s side, as Makdessi scored with punches and kicks to the bell, thrilling his hometown fans.
STORY vs. MULHERN
When faced with jiu-jitsu artists, welterweight Rick Story always seems to take things up a notch, and his bout with Quinn Mulhern was no different, as he delivered a first round TKO win over the Octagon newcomer reminiscent of his 2010 win over Dustin Hazelett.
"That felt great," said Story. "I’ve been working hard to get back to where I was at and it felt great to win like that. I want to get back up and fight a big name next."
Looking to break out of a stretch where he lost three of his last four, Story stalked from the start, dropping Mulhern with a left in the opening minute. From there, the die appeared to be cast, but Mulhern began to time Story’s rushes, landing some hard counters in the process. Story walked through them though, and with a barrage of shots to the head and the body, he dropped Mulhern to the mat. A series of follow-up body punches prompted referee Marc-Andre Cote to stop the fight at the 3:05 mark.
With the win, Story improves to 15-6; Mulhern falls to 18-3.
Watch Story's post-fight interview
DILLASHAW vs. TAMURA
Former Ultimate Fighter finalist TJ Dillashaw made it three straight in a bantamweight bout, impressively finishing Japan’s Issei Tamura in the second round.
Dillashaw (8-1) had little to worry about from Tamura (7-4) in the first round, as the Californian dominated the standup action, as well as the grappling against the fence that took up the majority of the opening stanza.
Confident with the way the first round went, Dillashaw went on the attack in the second, catching and dropping Tamura with a left kick to the head. As Tamura hit the deck, Dillashaw was all over him, landing a series of unanswered punches that brought in referee Yves Lavigne to halt the bout 26 seconds into the frame.
"That was the best KO of my career – so far," said Dillashaw. "From here, I just want to fight anyone who is ranked above me. I want to move up the ladder."
Watch Dillashaw's post-fight interview
ROOP vs. DURAN
George Roop began his second stint in the bantamweight division with a victory, outpointing Reuben Duran unanimously over three rounds in the UFC 158 opener.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Roop, a former lightweight and featherweight who improves to 13-10-1; Duran falls to 8-5-1.
There was no feeling out process in this one, as both combatants came out throwing hard from the opening bell, Roop scoring well with kicks while the hard-hitting Duran landed with punches, raising a knot on the side of his foe’s head. With three minutes left, Duran decided to take matters to the mat, but Roop was doing the more effective work from the bottom, landing a series of elbows that may have allowed him to steal the round.
The fast paced action of the first turned into a war of attrition in the second, with the two trading takedowns but unable to break ahead and get into position for a finish, and the third didn’t change the pattern much with the exception of some close range knees from Roop that appeared to seal the decision for him.
"I got rocked a couple of times in the first round; he definitely won the first round with his strikes," said Roop. "I managed to use my range and keep him away, but there’s no way I won that 30-27. I won the last two rounds, I managed to get back into it, but I’m not that happy with my wrestling. I got work to do in the gym, but I will be back better next time."
Cote Ekes Out Win over Voelker in Welter Debut - UFC 158 Prelim Results
By Thomas Gerbasi March 16, 2013