Louis Gaudinot fought John Lineker in what was named the 'Fight of the Night' to earn them both $65,000 bonuses.
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 undercard fights, which will aired live on FUEL TV before the show switched over to FOX.
Dennis Bermudez (9-3) vs. Pablo Garza (12-3)
Possessing a stocky build and a wrestling background, Bermudez looked to outmuscle Garza in this contest, doing what he could to get the action on the ground. In the opening round, he unloaded an early overhand right before maneuvering into the clinch and securing a big slam takedown. Still in the clinch, the duo got back to their feet until Bermudez again slammed Garza to the canvas. They both them grappled for position until Bermudez gained top control and began throwing some ground and pound. However, he unexpectedly was on the receiving end of a series of upkicks from Garza that left him a bit dazed and brought the action back to the stand-up. From there, some good strikes were exchanged until Bermudez closed the round with a third slam.
The second round played out somewhat similar to the first frame, with Bermudez dishing another pair of slams and dealing some more ground and pound onto his opposition. While Garza appeared pretty comfortable on his back, he had problems mounting much of an attack onto his opposition. The final round got started with another slam from Bermudez, who was much more cautious regarding upkicks after the opening frame. In the final minute, he showed some more solid ground and pound before rolling into a rear naked choke attempt at the horn.
After the three rounds had concluded, the two fighters awaited the decision of the judges, who all agreed that Bermudez deserved a shutout.
“Garza is a great fighter, but I came to make my mark in UFC and prove I’m not just a flash in the pan from TUF. Wrestling is my go-to, but he kept hitting me from a distance, and I wasn’t able to get inside like I wanted to. But you can’t win a fight backing up, so I kept pushing and pushing and putting him on the defensive. Losing is not acceptable, and if I want a win, I’m going to go out and take it just like I did tonight.”
“I should have tried to stand up with him instead of attacking from the guard. The slams weren’t doing a ton of damage, but that last one took a little out of me. Dennis did everything I expected, I just didn’t execute my game plan like I needed to.”
John Cholish (8-2) vs. Danny Castillo (14-4): FULL RECAP
Louis Gaudinot (6-2) vs. John Lineker (19-6)
This flyweight scrap turned out to be the ‘Fight of the Night’ winner, and fans could see why just seconds into the opening round. As soon the bout got underway, these two went right into a furious exchange, literally standing toe-to-toe and banging it out without letting off the gas at all. The striking was so intense that the two fighters literally had to stop midway through the frame just to dap up each other’s gloves again. The crowd loved every bit of it and expressed its overwhelming gratitude to the duo as well.
In the second round, they immediately picked up right where they left off, and it was an absolute thrill to watch these 125-pounders unload on one another non-stop. Around the two-minute mark, Gaudinot shot on Lineker to score a takedown and began to work his ground and pound. He slid into the side mount where he fired off elbows and body shots before Lineker took the action back to its feet. Amid that process, Gaudinot securely jumped onto his back and applied a guillotine choke, causing his opponent to fall back to the canvas where he firmly locked the choke hold all the way into position. Lineker showed his toughness in not tapping, but the fight was stopped after he went to sleep with just four seconds left in the frame.
“I have nothing but respect for John, he’s shown a lot of class all week. We were here to bang tonight and I think we proved that the flyweights belong and that we can excite the crowd. I heard the crowd go nuts, and I loved it! I didn’t think I had enough time to get the choke in, but I went ahead and went for it anyway. I locked it in tight, and I felt him go out and told the ref that it was over. My family and friends were here tonight, and I knew I had to put on a show for them and definitely think we did. Hell of a way to get my first UFC win!”
“We both threw a lot of strikes, and I feel that it was a great fight for me and the fans. In the end, he was able to get the choke in very tight, and there was nothing I could do.”
John Hathaway (16-1) vs. Pascal Krauss (10-1)
In a combined 26 fights coming into this welterweight pairing, the duo shared a cumulative 25-1 record. When the action got underway, they started with a stand-up exchange until Hathaway caught Krauss with a left knee that dropped him. Hathaway then pounced on his opposition, but Krauss was able to pull guard in an effort to recover from the blow. After maneuvering back to his feet, Krauss then secured a late takedown and tried to move into side control as the opening horn sounded.
In the second frame, Hathaway scored an early takedown, and the two fighters competed for the upper hand in the ground game. After a long grapple on the canvas, the duo returned to their feet to finish out the round.
Just over a minute into the third frame, Hathaway scored a scoop slam, and another ground grapple ensued before they got back to the stand-up. Overall, Hathaway was landing his strikes with much more consistency, and he eventually opened Krauss’ nose with 25 seconds to go on a straight cross that staggered him. Hathaway then followed up with a series of right hands in an effort to put his opponent away, but time eventually expired before he could finish him off.
In the end, Hathaway would have to settle a unanimous decision victory, taking scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
“I’m ecstatic that I got this win! I was able to drop him a few times and he recovered quickly, so I knew I had to capitalize on any opportunity that I got. I’m working all areas of my game, and I felt quicker, stronger and more aggressive in this fight. I’ve been successful in this division so far, and I’m ready to keep pushing forward.”
“I have been out for so long, it felt good just to be back in there. I needed to be more aggressive and stop his takedowns. Mainly, I needed to get off my back. I stayed on my back way too much in this fight. I didn’t expect him to move back so much during the fight. It really threw me off that I had to pursue him the whole time. I definitely want to fight more often so that I don’t have such a long time in between my fights.”
John Dodson (14-5) vs. Tim Elliot (8-3-1)
If Gaudinot vs. Lineker did not solidify how entertaining the flyweight division can be, Dodson and Elliot made sure to put the icing on the cake in what turned out to be another really fun fight. Elliot used an unorthodox style to fire off kicks from some of the most bizarre angles one has ever seen, and the five-foot-three Dodson stood in there and banged with the intensity and heart of a man who was a foot taller. The pace never slowed at any point throughout the bout, and neither did the wild angles that were taken in Elliot delivering his kicks and Dodson countering from those advances.
The best way to tell fight fans about this encounter is to tell them to go back and watch the tape because words can simply not do it justice. Neither competitor backed down at any point during the course of the fight, nor did the action slow from its rapid pace anywhere along the way.
The duo did bang it out for the entire 15 minutes, though, and Dodson secured a tough victory when all three judges saw it 29-28 in his favor.
“This was awesome! I’m happy to get my first UFC victory, and these fans in New Jersey were great. I hurt my hand in the first round, and I had to throw other types to strikes to do damage. I had a tough opponent, and he challenged me the way UFC guys are supposed to. This was a war for both of us, and I’m ready to get back in there and fight again as soon as I can.”
“I took this fight on short notice, and I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I think John is an extremely underrated fighter and will be a top guy very soon. I was surprised by his takedowns, and I think he was surprised by my strikes, and it made for an awesome matchup. I’ve got to come out in the first from now on like I did in the third. If I can go at the end of a fight like that, I know I can go like that in the beginning. And I definitely know I won’t leave it in the hands of the judges anymore.”
Tony Ferguson (14-3) vs. Michael Johnson (12-6)
In the final FUEL TV fight before the show switched over to FOX, The Ultimate Fighter veterans Ferguson and Johnson went to battle. The action started in the stand-up, with both competitors looking to establish kick supremacy. Amid one of his kicks, Ferguson got caught by a Johnson left hand that dropped him that turned out to be the difference in the round.
In the second frame, both were jocking for the upper hand in the standing exchanges, and the strikes became more violent as they hoped to more solidly hit their targets. The hardest punch of the round came late when Johnson knocked Ferguson back on a straight left cross, likely what won the judges over for the points in this frame.
In the final round, Johnson was getting the better of the stand-up while Ferguson really tried to close the gap in range by stalking his opponent. With about 1:15 left in the bout, Johnson again caught his opposition with another big left hand that backed him up a couple of steps, but Ferguson proved to be a quick recoverer and quickly pressed forward after absorbing the blow. It was in the final minute that Johnson really stole the frame, and the judges agreed by giving him flush 30-27s on the score cards.
“Me and my training partners worked real hard on this one. This fight was a little short notice, but there’s no such thing as that anymore. This was a great matchup for me, and I feel like I could have gone 20 rounds of standup with him. The sky’s the limit for me, and my goal this year is to make and stay in the top ten in the lightweight division.”
“That head kick he threw at me in the first round really hurt me. It took away my jab for the rest of the fight and really limited what I can do. After that, I was way too passive and didn’t go after him. There are no excuses for me in this one. He was the better fighter tonight, and he earned it. But my career is young, and I’m not going anywhere.”