Teenage Wasteland is blasting at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA, which means only one thing for fight fans: "We. Are. Liiive!" Amir Sadollah is here to make a statement agianst Brad Blackburn, Tom Lawlor is ready to creep us out and Gray Maynard wants to make his official bid for a title shot against a Nate Diaz who is primed to shut that down. It all happens live on Spike at 9pm/8c and I'll be breaking down the action right here from ringside. Spoilers are included so click at your own risk but if you are following along with the telecast, hit refresh after every round and keep a lookout for me stealing sips from Arianny's energy drink.
Amir Sadollah vs. Brad Blackburn
Bad Brad is in the house, ladies and gentlemen. A superstar in his own skin, there could be no better choice than MJ’s Bad for Blackburn to walk out to. Sadollah kind of goes in a different direction and breaks out the techno mix for his trip to the Octagon. Sadollah is looking slick with our gratuitous sponsorship of Entourage on his shorts. From the beginning, Entourage premieres on Spike January 12 along with Blue Mountain State, but catch a sneak peek of BMS right after the fight tonight. Check out this clip we just got in from the show.
Sadollah gets deafening cheers from the hometown crowd, but it’s Bad Brad who scores first. Fists are flying right now. Blackburn has one-punch knockout power and this could be over very quickly if Amir gets too excited. A counter right from Brad lands on the chin. Sadollah tags Blackburn and has him stunned. A wobbling Blackburn is doing all he can to stay awake and Amir locks up a takedown. Brad is right back up. Bell.
Much quieter so far in the second round. Amir is starting to land leg kicks with some consistency. Sadollah slips and falls to the mat, right on his Entourage logo, but he gets right back up. Sadollah scores with a combo and then a straight right finds its way onto Blackburn’s face. To close out the round, Sadollah lands a head kick that does little damage. The bell rings and they touch gloves.
Sadollah catches him again with a counter left and stuns Bad Brad. Brad’s legs give out and Sadollah is right on him. Blackburn’s senses come back quickly and he pulls a solid guard. Sadollah passes. Blackburn regains guard but Amir backs away and fires a shot from downtown that has to hurt. Blackburn has taken a beating so far but he’s still right in it and could turn this around at any time. As the 10-second mark sounds, Amir backs out again and unloads everything he has left but Blackburn stays alive.
Sadollah gets a well-deserved unanimous decision.
Amir just looked very impressive against a seasoned veteran. He has come a long way since The Ultimate Fighter and after that fight I am psyched to see what he does next. I can’t hear what he’s saying to Joe Rogan over the screaming fans, but I’m sure it’s something weird and funny.
Tom Lawlor vs. Aaron Simpson
Lawlor gets in with a combo and lands an uppercut that didn’t look fun. Simpson gets an uppercut of his own. Simpson goes down but I think it was just a slip. He gets back up. Simpson catches another one; it didn’t looks very bad but he’s staggering. Lawlor is all over it. He lands a hard right. Simpson is showing a lot of heart right now but if he doesn’t start showing some defense he’s in for a short night and a major headache tomorrow.
Simpson is looking a little better here, landing a few and moving better. Simpson goes for a takedown. Lawlor would rather have a guillotine but Simpson wins and gets the takedown. Lawlor gets back up. This time it’s Lawlor who gets a takedown but Simpson pops right back up. Lawlor has him pinned against the cage. He’s not doing much with it. Simpson gets free. A little exchange opens up in the middle of the cage and Simpson pushes Lawlor to the fence. Lawlor sinks in a guillotine but there’s only a few seconds left and the bell rings.
Looking for the quick out, Simpson fires off bombs but there is no easy way out and there is certainly no shortcut home. Lawlor slams him to the mat, he gets up gets slammed again and gets back up. Lawlor tries to get fancy with a setup for an armbar from the feet but he misses and Simpson ends up on top and takes Lawlor’s back. Lawlor gets out, they both look exhausted. In the final seconds they both go for it, but this one is going to be left up to the judges.
Aaron Simpson gets the spilt decision. It’s an interesting call and the fans hate it. Joe Rogan points out that it’s not Simpson’s fault the decision might be wrong and he just fought his heart out. It changes a few of the boo’s to cheers, but not really.
Efrain Escudero vs. Evan Dunham
Efrain makes a point to show off some head movement early but then works to a clinch and starts angling for the takedown. He gives up on that and meets Dunham in the middle of the cage. Efrain lands a nice uppercut. He stuns Dunham with a mean flying knee and he’s goes in for the kill. He lands another blow that sends Dunham to his back but the ref hasn’t called it. Efrain is on him and Dunham looks for an armbar but he doesn’t get. Efrain locks in the rare Peruvian necktie but, not surprisingly, gives it up. They’re back to the feet and Dunham lands a shot if his own that puts Efrain on his back. The bell rings to end the round.
A few good exchanges open up but no one seems to be doing too much damage. Dunham looks for the flying knee, it landed but not as badly as Efrain’s and he’s fine. An uppercut smacks into Dunham’s face that gets some “Ohh’s” and then someone in the crowd just yelled Manswers! Dunham gets a takedown and is working inside Efrain’s guard. Dunham creates some space and lands a few nice ones. He gets Efrain’s back. Efrain holds off the choke until the bell.
Dunham goes in for the takedown and Efrain sinks in a guillotine but Dunham fights it off. Dunham reverses, gets to a dominant position and takes his back again. He starts to slip on the figure four body lock and switches to an armbar. He doesn’t quit have it, but he cranks it anyway. He adjusts enough to get the angle on Efrain’s arm, he fights it for a while but taps and Dunham wins by submission.
Efrain is escorted out of the cage, holding his arm. He might have broken it.
Gray Maynard vs. Nate Diaz
Bruce Buffer steps into the cage to do his thing and gets the crowd fired up for tonight’s main event.
Maynard is looking pretty angry, but he might want to raise his hands a little higher. Diaz’s long arms have a way of finding people’s faces with very little warning. Gray is already bleeding over his right eye. Some looping tries from both fighters mostly miss. Gray lands an uppercut from inside. Nate eats a pretty solid straight right to the face. Nate comes back with a long combo, Maynard shakes it off and Diaz goads him on, doing the I’m-Nate-Diaz-I’m-a-tough-guy-from-Stockton thing.
Gray goes inside with a body shot. Nate fires right, Gray counters. Nate catches a solid one on the chin but he doesn’t seem too bothered. He tags Maynard with a few stingers. Maynard finds a hole for another uppercut. Diaz falls to his back, I didn’t really see but I think it was just a slip. He gets right back and Maynard has a left waiting for him. Some more goading from Diaz elicits some harsh language from Gray inside the cage. C’mon, man, this is a family network.
Nate scores nicely but he seems more concerned with talking about it than actually finishing the fight so Maynard recovers. The crowd is booing a lot, though I’m not really sure why. Maybe they’re pissed that the broadcast is running long and the sneak peek of Blue Mountain State immediately following the fight has to be pushed back a few minutes. Maynard and Diaz eat up a lot of time with short, ineffective exchanges. Nate goes for a takedown to try and make something happen before the end of the bout but Maynard stuff it and they’re back to the feet to let the time run out and throw it to the judges.
Gray Maynard gets the split decision. After a very close fight, this was a tough one to call. I probably would have given it to Nate Diaz but there’s been no major injustice. The performance was entertaining but it might not get him the title shot he’s looking for. We’ll see.
That’s it, for me. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the fights. Don’t forget to stay tuned to Spike for the sneak peek of Blue Mountain State.