Team GSP's Jonathan Brookins (11-2) vs. Team Koscheck's Sako Chivitchian (5-0)
UFC president Dana White does the intros, and referee Herb Dean is the third man in the cage.
The fighters patiently paw jabs until Sako strikes first with a lunging shot. He tries again, but Jonathan easily avoids it. Jonathan tries to force the fight to the mat but is pushed into the cage and tagged with some short punches and knees. However, he quickly reveres the position and then tosses Sako to the mat. As Sako tries to get back to his feet, he gives up his back, and Jonathan pounces. Sako gets back to his feet and tries to roll out of the hold as Jonathan can secure just one hook. Jonathan looks to his corner for instruction while his opponent lies on top of him once they hit the mat, and he finally secures his other hook and methodically works for the rear-naked choke. Sako initially defends, but Jonathan slides an arm under his opponent's neck and forces the tap-out moments later.
It's another quick and impressive win for Jonathan. And it came exactly in the manner Team Koscheck hoped to avoid.
"I'm amazed how quickly he tapped him out," Dana says of Jonathan. "This guy is the real deal."
Team Koscheck's Nam Phan (16-7) vs. Team GSP's Cody McKenzie (10-0)
Josh Rosenthal has officiating duties, and we're underway. Cody quickly crosses the cage to throw body kicks and follows with punches and a takedown attempt. Nam fends it off against the cage. He hits a knee but hops back up, but Cody smothers him and throws short knees and punches to the body while pressing him against the fence. Cody again looks for the takedown and briefly wrestles his opponent to the mat, but Nam again pops back up. Cody keeps him pinned against the cage and throws more knees and punches before putting his opponent on his back. Cody works from inside full guard and throws punches to the head and body. Nam deflects most of it, but Cody soon pushes him into the cage, where Nam has less room to work. Nam, though, scrambles and gets back to his feet and safely retreats to the center of the cage to reset. Cody again swarms with punches and a takedown attempt and pushes his opponent against the cage. Josh yells for Nam to get off the cage. Nam tries, but Cody overpowers him and puts him back against the fence. Cody is relentless with the takedown attempts and clings to him. Nam, though, stays upright as he eats some additional short punches. Nam fights off another takedown attempt and finally circles off the cage. The fighters restart in the center of the cage, and Nam finally lands some punches form distance. Cody looks tired and eats some head shots. He then shoots, but Nam collapses on top of him and delivers punches and then stands over Cody when he rolls to his back. He ultimately, though, calls for a standup. Cody fires off kicks to create distance and lands a couple nice low shots before the round ends with Nam fending off a takedown. Nam survived well, but MMAjunkie.com scores it 10-9 for Cody due to his aggression.
The fighters receive instructions between rounds. Cody is told to lean on his opponent to wear him down while Nam is told to work his combinations.
As the round starts, the fighters trade punches and kicks, and Cody's reach is paying dividends. Nam, though, hangs tough and becomes the aggressor. He can't get close enough to land much, though. The fighters trade sloppy strikes until Cody shoots and presses his opponent against the cage. Nam breaks off but eats a body kick in the process. Nam works a nice combo to the body, retreats, and then looks to engage again. Cody lands a nice body kick, shoots, but is fended off by the quicker and better-conditioned Nam. Cody moves in and partially eats an overhand punch. The fighters again trade sporadic shots, but Nam is more accurate and snaps Cody's head back with a stiff left. Cody continues pressing forward but gets tagged a few times more. Nam then lands a right-left combo to the body that drops Cody, and before Nam can move in, the ref waves off the fight and awards him the TKO win.
Josh is the loudest to cheer and jumps over and into the cage as Team Koscheck rejoices. The celebration is a bit over the top, but it's clearly a win they needed.
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