MINNEAPOLIS, October 5 - Every now and then you see a knockout that makes you go, “Huh?” You know, one of those “right on the button” knockouts where a punch lands and doesn’t look all that powerful but a fighter falls to the canvas out cold. Well, that’s the kind of perfectly-placed punch that lightweight Michael Johnson hit Danny Castillo with in the second round of their UFC on FX prelim bout at Target Center Friday, countering a low kick with a short left to the jaw that put Castillo down and unable to defend three heavy shots that came immediately thereafter.
Adding to the feat: Johnson had been floored by a textbook Castillo right hand in round one and survived a torrent of punches and a head-and-arm choke.
“He caught me with a big shot and hats off to him,” said Johnson, who won his third straight. “(But) he wasted all his energy in that first round trying to finish me. My hands got the best of him and that’s a wrap.
“Whoever wants it, come get it. Joe (Silva) and Dana (White), I’m here and ready for top contenders now. Let’s get it going.”
Castillo had won six of seven heading into the contest.
AARON SIMPSON VS. MIKE PIERCE
For five minutes, it was the most ferocious Aaron Simpson fans have ever seen. For five minutes, perhaps the most impressive Aaron Simpson has ever looked inside the Octagon.
And then suddenly… Simpson was being awakened by the referee.
With one short thump of his right hand, 29 seconds into the second round, Mike Pierce was jumping for joy.
It was a dramatic turning of the tide, considering that Simpson (11-4) had battered and cracked Pierce (15-5) with punches for most of the opening frame. Simpson, whose fights usually go the distance, had uncharacteristically gone for broke and looked formidable in the process.
“He had me rocked pretty good there in the first round but I don’t give up too easy,” Pierce said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a finish and I love more knockouts more than anything.”
Hear what Pierce had to say following his come-from-behind victory
CARLO PRATER VS. MARCUS LEVESSEUR
Some fights make boredom seem like an attractive alternative. Some fights make you pray for mercy in the form of the sound of the final horn.
This was one of ‘em.
No sense boring you – the fan, the reader – with a long-winded recap unless you are trying to fall asleep. Otherwise, let’s just say that Marcus LeVesseur (155-0 as a Division III wrestler) rode his takedowns and some occasional windmill punching (most not landing) to a split decision win over veteran Carlos Prater. Give a little credit to Prater, who went for a few guillotines and a triangle choke, but other than LeVesseur toughing out chokes and popping his head there was nothing to get your blood flowing in this bout.
LeVesseur (22-6) won for the first time in the UFC by scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29.
Prater fell to 30-12-1.
JACOB VOLKMANN VS. SHANE ROLLER
Jacob Volkmann won Friday night and made it look easy. Then, sporting a bodacious orange t-shirt with the words “Volkmann for President,” the Minnesota chiropractor/fighter started talking a little bit crazy and implored his hometown faithful to take action on Election Day.
“First of all … all you guys that don’t want to vote for Obama, and don’t want to vote for Romney, write my name in because I’m going to write my own name in,” the 32-year-old said.
The Volkmann-Roller scrap had been intriguing, on paper at least. Both are former Division I wrestlers, both dangerous with submissions. There was one substantial difference between them: Roller (11-7) has knockout power, Volkmann (15-3) has zero knockouts. But his light hands were irrelevant once the University of Minnesota grad set up a takedown early, took Roller’s back, and then submitted him with a rear naked choke just 2:38 into the contest.
Though his standup looks odd and ugly at times, Volkmann’s high-level takedowns and submission game have helped him win six of his past seven UFC bouts, certifying him as a threat to anyone at 155 pounds.
Hear what "Christmas" had to say in his post-fight interview
DIEGO NUNES VS. BART PALASZEWSKI
As talented as Diego Nunes is, especially standing, one statistic about his game boggles the mind: Entering Friday’s contest, the Brazilian had never finished an opponent inside of the octagon. In EIGHT tries.
Against Bart Palaszewski, however, Nunes fought like a man possessed to shake his reputation of being a volume fighter, a methodical fighter, a decision fighter.
The 29-year-old was rewarded for his ultra-aggression early and often, dropping Palaszewski in all three rounds and clobbering the Poland native with a relentless display of ground and pound. A lesser man would have went out cold, perhaps, but Palaszewski repeatedly ate hard right hands and kept coming – even stunning Nunes with a high kick and punches in the third round. In over 50 pro fights, competing against all comers, only one man (Anthony Njokuani) has ever knocked out the iron-chinned Palaszewski. Nunes cannot say the same, instead settling for another unanimous decision victory by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and a head-scratching 29-28.
Nunes, who had been coming off a decision loss to Dennis Siver, improved to 18-3, 6-3 in the UFC.
PHIL HARRIS VS. DARREN UYENOYAMA
11 months ago, Darren Uyenoyama dominated a legend. On Friday, the San Franciscan outclassed a Brit making his UFC debut.
The Ralph Gracie black belt is now 2-0 in the UFC after an impressive and well-rounded showing that saw him submit Phil Harris at 3:38 of round two via rear naked choke.
The opening stanza was close, as Harris managed two takedowns but got nothing going on top. Instead Uyenoyma (8-3) threatened with a triangle choke and soon returned to his feet, where he seemed totally comfortable mixing it up with the heavy-handed owner of 13 KO’s. In fact it was Uyenoyama who controlled the standup action with an array of jabs, kicks and clinch control. While Harris (21-10) broke out of the gate fast, Uyenoyama seemed to do the opposite, starting slow and gradually turning up the heat minute-by-minute until he eventually took Harris down with a nifty Kimura sweep, and loosened him up with some ground-and-pound, forcing the Brit to give his back in what proved to be the beginning of the end.
Watch Uyenoyama's post-fight interview
Editor’s Note - The lightweight preliminary bout between Jeremy Stephens and Yves Edwards was canceled late Friday night. Stephens was arrested early Friday morning in Minnesota on an outstanding warrant for a 2011 assault in his native Iowa. Despite an effort to secure bail and a release for Stephens, the bout eventually had to be called off. Video: Dana White on Stephens' situation
Johnson and Pierce Score Comeback KOs - UFC on FX 5 Prelim Results
Read on for UFC on FX 5 prelim results...