NEW ORLEANS, September 17 - It was almost a no win situation for Jake Ellenberger, fighting longtime welterweight star Jake Shields in the UFC Fight Night main event Saturday after Shields’ decision to fight on after his father Jack passed away on August 29th. But with Shields’ decision to carry on with business, it meant that Ellenberger had to do the same, and in just 53 seconds, the Omaha power puncher ended an emotional night at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with a first round TKO of Shields that put him squarely in the title picture. See post-fight interview
“I can’t explain how I feel right now,” said Ellenberger, who handed Shields his first knockout loss in over a decade. The finish earned him $55,000 for Knockout of the Night.
After shooting out some jabs to start the fight, Shields began looking for the takedown, but he came up short twice. After the two locked up again, Ellenberger scored with a flush right knee to the head. Shields hit the deck, and for a second it looked like he was reaching for Ellenberger’s ankle, but “The Juggernaut” wasn’t fooled. He knew Shields was hurt and he finished matters with a series of unanswered strikes, forcing referee Kevin Mulhall to stop the fight at the 53 second mark of the opening round.
As the bout was stopped, Shields, unaware of what was going on, actually grabbed Mulhall’s leg, thinking the fight was still on. But it was over, and Ellenberger had the biggest win of his career while Shields will have to regroup.
“I’m just frustrated,” said Shields, who was coming off a five round decision loss to Georges St-Pierre in a UFC 129 championship bout. “He caught me. I thought I still had some fight left, but the ref thought it was time to stop it.”
Ellenberger ups his record to 26-5 with the win; Shields falls to 26-6.
McGEE vs. YANG
The Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court McGee used a ferocious late assault to put an exclamation mark on a grueling three round unanimous decision win over South Korea’s Dongi Yang. See post-fight interview
The judges saw it 30-27, 30-28 and 29-28.
The action was tense in the early going, with each fighter throwing single shots in an effort to open up some more consistent opportunities. Two minutes in, McGee briefly jarred Yang with a right hand, and though Yang’s return fire bruised McGee up under the left eye, “The Crusher” finished the round as the busier of the two.
Yang and McGee reversed roles in round two, with Yang landing the more solid punches over the course of the frame. For a twist, McGee attempted to grapple with Yang, presumably in search of a takedown, by “The Ox” wasn’t having it, and he eluded the mat.
The crowd began getting restless in round three, yet while there wasn’t a sustained slugfest going on, the action was still intriguing, and with 3:15 left, a left hook rocked McGee. McGee survived the follow-up by Yang, whose bloody nose was worsening, and with fatigue now an issue, both fighters began to make a final charge. For McGee, that meant getting his first takedown with a little over a minute remaining, and the crowd roared at this new development. And though Yang got back up quickly, a second takedown followed, with McGee pounding away with strikes before a final guillotine choke attempt.
With the win, McGee improves to 13-1; Yang falls to 10-2.
KOCH vs. BROOKINS
It wasn’t the way featherweight up and comer Erik Koch wanted to get his fourth consecutive victory, but he’ll take it, as he oupointed The Ultimate Fighter season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins in a bout marred by long periods of Brookins pinning his opponent to the fence in search of a takedown. See post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Koch, who ups his record to 13-1; Brookins falls to 13-4.
When not pinned and smothered against the fence by Brookins, Koch had some solid moments while striking from long range, but it was the takedown seeking Floridian who dictated where the bout was taking place for much of the opening five minutes.
After more of the same for the first half of round two, Brookins finally got Koch to the canvas for a moment, only to have “New Breed” immediately get back to his feet. Unfortunately for the Wisconsin product, Brookins was not letting him go. Koch soon reversed position and got loose, and his striking remained sharp until he got pushed to the fence again. With a minute left, Brookins got the takedown, with Koch getting back to his feet fairly quickly.
There was little change to the pattern in round three, other than Koch getting a little more time to work his strikes. But when Brookins closed ranks and pushed Koch to the fence again, the crowd began getting restless and they let their feelings known after the disappointing conclusion to the bout.
BELCHER vs. MacDONALD
After more than 16 months out of the Octagon due to two surgeries for a detached retina, middleweight contender Alan Belcher made a triumphant return to active duty with an emphatic first round finish of veteran Jason MacDonald. See post-fight interview
“I’m so emotional right now,” said Belcher. “The past 16 months have been up and down. I know tonight that this is what I want to do. I want to pursue that belt. I’m back baby.”
MacDonald was after the takedown from the opening bell, but when he finally got the bout to the mat, it was with Belcher in the top position. For a submission artist like MacDonald, that wasn’t necessarily the worst news in the world, but given Belcher’s punching power, it soon turned into that, as ground strikes stunned the Canadian. Finally, after a steady barrage of unanswered blows, MacDonald verbally submitted, with referee Dan Miragliotta calling a stop to the bout at the 3:48 mark.
With the win, Belcher improves to 16-5; MacDonald falls to 26-15.
UFN 25 Main Card Results - Ellenberger Halts Shields in 53 Seconds
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