In our previous article we previewed the main card bouts that comprised UFC Fight Night 25 which was held on September 17th, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The UFC was graciously able to provide us with a media pass for the event, and this is a backstage view and in depth analysis of the results of UFC Fight Night 25.
The first view of the fighters in UFC Fight Night 25 was at the open workouts which were held at the New Orleans Athletic Club in the French Quarter. The fighters came in one after another and displayed some of their athletic ability and game plan two days prior to the actual event. All of the fighters performed exceptional shadow boxing, pad work and ground game.
The following day, the UFC held the weigh-in’s for the event on the riverfront followed by a free concert by the band Chevelle. The event began with an interactive question and answer session featuring UFC commentator Mike Goldberg and UFC heavy weight fighter Matt Mitrione. Matt and Mike answered a variety of questions concerning opinions on the outcome of this bout, outcomes of future fight cards, and additionally provided information on their careers and personal experiences. The fighters lined up behind the stage and waited their turn to step onto the scale. All fighters were able to make weight, and Ultimate Fighter alum Clay Harvison even did so with a quite large New Orleans style hat. Alan Belcher initially did not make weight, disrobed on the stage and made weight with the coverage of a towel. The highlight of the event was the stare downs. Given that this card was literally stacked with the next batch of elite contenders, all vying for the top place in their respective weight classes, there was an incredible amount of tension and competition.
UFC Fight Night 25 was held in the Morial Convention Center which was outfitted with stadium seating. The event featured eight undercard bouts which streamed live via Facebook and then four main card bouts that were broadcasted live and free on Spike TV.
The undercard was packed with extremely talented fighters that show cased amazing athleticism and talent.
- Justin Edwards defeated Jorge Edwards by a unanimous decision.
- Robert Peralta defeated Mike Lullo by a unanimous decision.
- TJ Waldburger defeated Mike Stumpft via arm bar in 3:52 of the first round (earning Waldburger a ‘submission of night’ bonus).
- Seth Baczynski defeated Clay Harvinson via rear naked choke in 1:12 of the second round.
- Ken Stone defeated Donny Walker via rear naked choke in 2:40 of the first round.
- A bloodied Lance Benoist defeated Matthew Riddle by a controversial unanimous decision that garnered boos from the crowd.
- Evan Dunham defeated Shamar Bailey by a unanimous decision. This bout was an all out war that saw each fighter receiving and dealing out a tremendous amount of punishment.
- Vagner Rocha defeated Cody McKenzie via rear naked choke in 3:49 of the second round.
As aforementioned, the main card of the UFC Fight Night 25 began at 8pm, was aired live by Spike and featured four fights with some of the top contenders in their respective divisions.
Alan Belcher v. Jason MacDonald- This bout marked a return from injuries for both fighters: Belcher coming back two surgeries and a sixteen month lay off to repair a detached retina in his left eye. MacDonald coming off a win but received a brutal leg injury in the process. The fight began with a very fast exchange and MacDonald attempting a takedown. Belcher responded by pushing MacDonald up against the cage and controlling him in a Muay Thai clench. MacDonald reversed the position and dragged the fight to the ground by pulling guard. From guard Belcher was able to deliver a series of punishing blows that included well timed elbows, and a diverse series of ground and pound strikes.
“I couldn’t have dreamt it to be any better. I’ve been out for so long, so it’s great to fight here in New Orleans so close to home. It feels good to be back. It took a lot of mental training. If your mind isn’t ready to come back your body isn’t. I started four or five months ago and started to get into the groove. I told myself it was all or nothing. He pulled me down. Being on top on the ground is probably one of my best places.” – Alan Belcher
Alan Belcher defeated Jason MacDonald via TKO referee stoppage in 3:48 of the first round.
Jonathan Brookins v. Erik Koch– Ultimate Fighter Season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins made his featherweight debut in this fight. WEC veteran Erik Koch came into this fight from a two fight knockout streak. This fight showed each fighter able to neutralize each other both on the ground and standing. All three rounds were scored for Koch (30-27, 29-28, 30-27). In the first round Brookins maintained attempting to keep Koch up against the cage but was unable to produce any real damage and was reversed upon by Koch multiple times. The brutal straining of the first round had visibly affected the fighters by the second round, but they maintained their pursuit of extremely aggressive striking and exchanges. The second round focused more on traditional stand up and failed ground game. The third round brought some boo’s due to both fighters unable to really cause any visible damage. Koch was able to neutralize Brookins’ takedowns and grappling, as well as displaying superior striking and position.
“The fans know I like to go out there and put on knockout submissions and go for it. Jonathan is a tough opponent. I’m an emotional fighter. This is my life. I train four times a day. I get up at 9 a.m. and sometimes don’t get done until midnight. This fight was for me, a pat on the back to get rid of some of those demons.”- Erik Koch
“That’s what happens when you set off on a journey of self discovery and you spend a lot of time by yourself, you fight not that great. It was a learning lesson. I’m thankful for all the people that are still behind me and still supporting me and training me. I’ll be back strong. That was a real learning lesson.”- Jonathan Brookins
Erik Koch defeated Jonathan Brookins in a unanimous decision.
Court McGee v. Dongi Yang- Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court McGee has come back from his injuries and returned to display his unique fighting style that brought him to the UFC. Dongi Yang is a Korean fighter who came into the UFC with an impressive knockout in his debut. The first two rounds were dictated by the fighters exchanging crisp and strikes but in single strikes or small combinations. There was a marked level of timidity with each fighter sliding in to strike and quickly retreating back. In the third round the pace was stepped up Yang throwing a large right and pinning McGee against the cage. McGee answered by continuing to pick apart Yang and visibly inflicting damage to Yang’s face. In the last minute of the third round McGee took Yang down and responded with a flurry that helped secure the fight.
“I felt good, not satisfied. I hurt him late in the first round. I definitely could have pushed and committed more when I hurt him. I found myself waiting to counter what he was doing. He was definitely prepared and very tough.” – Court McGee
Court McGee defeated Dongi Yang by unanimous decision.
Jake Shields v. Jake Ellenberger- Jake Shields is a five time world champion coming off a seven year win streak with a career loss to Georges St-Pierre and also the personal loss of his father. Jake Ellenberger is a fierce contender who has clawed his way up the competition with his knockout artistry and powerful fighting style. At the beginning of the round Shields came out pushing the action with some jabs. Both fighters began to lightly exchange as Shields closed the distance and wrapped up Ellenberger. Ellenberger responded by throwing Shields down and continuing to strike. Shields attempted an another two takedowns which were stopped by Ellenberger. Just as some space was created, Ellenberger delivered two punishing hooks to Shields and immediately locked in a Thai clench. Ellenberger threw a body knee followed by a head knee, which floored Shields, and resulted in a referee stoppage in which Shields was still attempting to takedown the referee as he stopped the fight.
“It’s definitely one of my biggest wins. I’m surprised at how quick it went but I’ve been training very hard for this fight the past few weeks. It’s hard to believe. My coaches are always there for me, and they tell me all the time that the sky is the limit. I’m going to continue to work hard.” – Jake Ellenberger
Jake Ellenberger defeated Jake Shields via TKO referee stoppage at :53 seconds into the first round.
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