The UFC brought a strong fight card to the IZOD Center in New Jersey for the third installment of its free series airing on FOX, featuring a lightweight showdown between Nate Diaz and Jim Miller in the main event. Following is a recap of the opening two bouts of the night that occurred before the undercard of the show went live on FUEL TV.
Mike Massenzio (13-7) vs. Karlos Vemola (10-2)
In the opening fight of the evening, Massenzino looked to feed off the energy of the home state New Jersey crowd, while London native Vemola wanted to make sure his long trip to the United States was worth the visit. Massenzino started fast, but Vemola was able to take him to canvas to work his submission game. However, the New Jersey resident battled his way out of the disadvantageous positioning and took the action back to its feet, where he looked very comfortable. After a bit of a stand-up exchange, Massenzino decided to take it to the floor and tried to apply a few submission attempts of his own. Fighting from his back, Vemola then closed off the round with a brilliant cage walk and flip to counter the attack.
In the second frame, Vemola quickly forced the confrontation to the ground and took the back of Massenzino. Wasting no time, he immediately applied a rear naked choke and left his opposition no choice but to tap. The official time of the stoppage was at the 1:07 mark.
“He was a tough opponent. I felt really good during the first round. He was working me hard in the first round, but I weathered the storm and started landing my own shots. This is the lightest (middleweight) I’ve ever been in my life, and I felt great. I’m ready to fight again as soon as I get the call from Dana.”
“I fought well and felt like I was controlling it, but I could feel myself start gassing in the second. I felt fatigued and started losing position, and he got met. I was happy to fight in front of my fans and just wish it hard turned out a little differently.”
Roland Delorme (8-1) vs. Nick Denis (11-3)
This pairing pitted two Canadian bantamweights against one another, and the action was fast and furious as soon as the opening frame got underway. The duo quickly started exchanging blows from the stand-up until Denis hurt Delorme with a left hand and dropped him with a follow-up right. He then worked the fight to the cage and tried to throw knees from the Muay Thai clinch. He eventually got the action to the canvas and acquired the full mount but decided to let his opponent return to his feet. Delorme quickly thanked him with a straight right that hurt him and followed that up by peppering him with a series of right hands and kicks before working him to the floor. Once the action was on the canvas, Delorme applied a rear naked choke and got the tap literally with one second left in the frame.
“I did exactly what I wanted to do in this fight. All I wanted was to perform and do my absolute best. He rocked me pretty good, but I wasn’t giving up. I have to be knocked out to give up. I knew when I locked in the choke that he was either going to go out or tap out. I was just praying for either of those things to happen before the end of the round, and luckily enough for me, he tapped with one second to go.”
“We had some great exchanges throughout the entire round and I landed some good punches, hammer fists, and I got a good judo toss in there too. I felt like I was controlling the round and landing what I needed to land to stay on top. Then things turned for the worse, and he landed a good one on me. He dazed me pretty good, and he got a takedown on me that I don’t even remember coming. He locked that choke on tight, and I was trying to wait out the round. I don’t even remember tapping, but the replay doesn’t lie.”