Teixeira submits Saint Preux to snap losing skid

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Sunday, August 9, 2015

A hometown fight for UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux didn't go as planned Saturday, when former title contender Glover Teixeira put him to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the third round.

Teixeira (23-4), 35, snapped a two-fight skid, submitting Saint Preux at the 3:10 mark of the third round for his sixth UFC win. The 205-pound contest headlined UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

A former linebacker at the University of Tennessee, Saint Preux (18-7), 32, received a warm welcome from the crowd but struggled to defend his Brazilian opponent's takedowns. Teixeira, who fought Jon Jones for the UFC title in April 2014, took Saint Preux down repeatedly throughout the fight, advancing to full mount on several occasions and hurting him with ground and pound.

In the final sequence, Saint Preux surrendered his back to avoid taking unanswered elbows to the face. Teixeira locked in the rear-naked choke, but Saint Preux refused to tap and eventually lost consciousness. Referee John McCarthy stepped in immediately.

"I'm sorry I didn't come out with the win," Saint Preux said. "I'm not the type of person to lay down, but I think I did a pretty good job. Even though he had [the choke] sunk in deep, I told myself, 'He's going to have to put me to sleep.' "

Saint Preux nearly gave the hometown crowd the result it was looking for early. He dropped Teixeira in the first round with a left kick to the liver. Teixeira scrambled for a single-leg takedown after eating the shot and managed to tie Saint Preux up long enough to recover. Moments after scrambling back to his feet, Teixeira caught a body kick aimed at the same spot, which he turned into his first of many takedowns.

Teixeira wasted no time planting Saint Preux on his back in the second round. He worked some halfway effective ground and pound the majority of the frame, which never appeared to hurt Saint Preux but definitely sapped his gas tank. Saint Preux was able to work back to his feet before the round ended, but Teixeira stayed mostly glued to him, throwing knees to Saint Preux's legs as he held on to him from the back.

"I'm back, man," said Teixeira, who in his previous two fights had lost by unanimous decision to Jones and Phil Davis. "My last performances were bad, and I told myself, if you're going to keep fighting like this, you have to stop. I restarted and thanks to my boxing coach, my conditioning coach, I was in good condition. Saint Preux is tough. He hurt me with the liver shot and I had to take him down."

According to Fightmetric, Teixeira converted 6-of-10 total takedown attempts and out-landed Saint Preux in total strikes 96-to-35.

Saint Preux appeared exhausted to start the third. He shot in on a weak double leg, which Teixeira easily defended and reversed into a takedown of his own. He moved almost immediately into mount, which set up the finish when Saint Preux turned to give his back.

The loss snaps a two-fight winning streak for Saint Preux. Wrestling defense has proved to be the biggest hole in his game. He has suffered just three losses in nearly six years, but has been badly outwrestled in each of them. Teixeira secured his first victory since September 2013.

Dariush claims disputed decision

UFC lightweight Michael Johnsonshould have extended his winning streak to five with a decision over Beneil Dariush, but highly questionable scorecards resulted in a loss instead.

Johnson (16-9), 29, suffered his first defeat since April 2013, and it came with plenty of controversy. He faded a little in the final round, but appeared to clearly win the first two.

Judges Richard Bertrand and Doug Crosby disagreed though, scoring the 155-pound fight for Dariush (12-1), 29-28. Judge Sal D'Amato scored it 29-28 for Johnson. ESPN.com saw the fight for Johnson as well, 29-28.

Even Dariush, who improved to 6-1 in the UFC with the victory, looked surprised as the result was read.

"I understand why the crowd is booing," Dariush said. "It was a close fight. He hit me with hard shots. It's perfectly understandable [to boo]. I felt I was landing jabs, and I knew it could go either way. Maybe the difference was the kicks. If they had raised his hand, I would have understood."

Johnson shut down the offensive grappling of Dariush, stuffing all seven takedown attempts, according to cageside stats. None of Dariush's attempts to get it to the ground even came close. Johnson anticipated the shots well and sprawled easily on each one. After a relatively slow start in the opening round, Johnson, a southpaw, started to find range with his left hand, even dropping Dariush at one point with a counter punch.

The second frame was more of the same. Johnson's hand speed, footwork and takedown defense gave Dariush fits. Dariush fired back at times with the jab and landed a hard kick to the body, but Johnson's straight left dictated the fight.

Based out of Kings MMA in southern California, Dariush abandoned the takedown late, which worked to his benefit. Johnson became slightly predictable with the left hand, and Dariush started to capitalize by mixing the jab with inside and outside leg kicks. It appeared to be too little, too late -- until scores were read for Dariush.

"I really thought I would be able to get a takedown," Dariush said. "I realized in the third round I wasn't having too much success, so I focused on what was working -- my jab. I kept a good pace with it."

Johnson, a former runner-up on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series and a Blackzilian team member, dropped to 8-5 in the Octagon. ESPN.com ranked him the No. 9 lightweight in the world coming into the bout.

"He didn't put his hands on me," Johnson said. "He backed up the whole time."

Brunson scores early stoppage of Alvey

Derek Brunson hurt Sam Alvey with a left uppercut early on and refused to let him off the hook, eventually earning a TKO finish at 2:19 of the first round in their middleweight bout.

From the opening bell, Brunson (14-3) put Alvey up against the fence and teed off with the left hand. He scored several early ones to the body and then a crushing uppercut through Alvey's guard that put him on unstable legs.

Alvey (26-7), who came into the fight on a streak of three first-round knockouts, held up relatively well against Brunson's onslaught, but could not find a way to get his back off the cage. He circled away from Brunson's left hand, forcing Brunson to chase him across the Octagon, which Brunson did in reckless fashion. Eventually, Alvey toppled over from the punches and was turtling up as referee Mario Yamasaki called off the fight.

"It's tough to gauge a guy like Sam Alvey," said Brunson, 31. "Everybody on Twitter was saying, 'Sam is going to knock you out.' I'm not a guy to talk trash. I believe in hard work and getting it done.

"I didn't stop the fight. If it isn't stopped, you might as well keep punching. The fighter's safety is first here. He was covering up, I caught him with some good punches. The ref tells you to defend yourself -- if you don't, you don't."

Brunson, who fights out of Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, declined to provide a name when asked who he'd like to fight next. He has won five of his last six, including his last two via knockout.

Rosholt wrestles his way to decision win

Heavyweight Jared Rosholt ground out a unanimous decision against Timothy Johnson, improving his UFC mark to 6-1.

Rosholt (13-2) found himself gassed and nearly knocked out in the final round, but he did enough over the course of the first 10 minutes to get a win on the scorecards. All three judges scored it in his favor, 29-28.

"It felt all right out there tonight, same thing as always," Rosholt said. "I need to get back in the gym and continue getting better every day. I dominated him on the ground, and the takedowns were pretty much mine."

A former NCAA collegiate wrestler at Oklahoma State University, Rosholt overpowered Johnson (9-2) in the clinch and scored several key takedowns to secure the victory. He didn't do much in the way of offense once he got into top position, but Johnson, a former Division II collegiate wrestler, struggled to work back to his feet and forfeited rounds as a result.

The heavyweight bout was comically slow at times, and both men were heavily fatigued by the second round. Rosholt's path to victory was through the clinch. He tended to absorb heavy shots from Johnson, a southpaw, when the fight was at a distance.

In the third round, Rosholt essentially fell to one knee during a takedown attempt, which opened a window for Johnson to land a big left hand. Rosholt backed up from the shot and tried to circle away, but he ended up taking several more big shots. In perhaps a tactical error, Johnson elected to trip him to the floor in the final 10 seconds of the round, which all but removed his chances of knocking Rosholt out for a comeback win.

Immediate cageside stats actually showed Johnson outlanding Rosholt in total strikes, 86-53, but Rosholt accumulated 8:34 of control time.

"In that last minute he really came at me with a flurry, and the only thing going through my mind was, 'Duck!' " Rosholt said. "I look forward to a vacation and some time off."

Fighting out of Team Takedown in Arlington, Texas, Rosholt has only one loss in the UFC, a first-round knockout to Alexey Oleinik in November. Five of his six UFC wins have come via decision.

"I thought I was really close to being finished in the third," Johnson said. "I brought everything I had in that last little flurry. He stumbled up on the cage on his own, and he had a short little uppercut, so I just threw caution to the wind and gave it everything I had."

Nunes submits McMann in Round 1

UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is in need of fresh challenges. Amanda Nunes looked like she might be one of those on Saturday.

Nunes (11-4) cruised to a first-round submission win against former title challenger and U.S. Olympian Sara McMann. She dropped McMann with a right hand early in the fight, before producing a tap via rear-naked choke at 2:53.

Fighting out of American Top Team, Nunes is one of the more unheralded prospects of the division, but with a 4-1 UFC record she is suddenly knocking on the door of another high-profile matchup.

"Everybody thinks I'm weak on the ground, but it's my background," Nunes said. "Jiu-jitsu and judo, I've trained my whole life. In some fights, I can't put my game plan the way I want, but it is my background. I like striking, but I come with the grappling."

Nunes came with a little bit of it all in the quick finish. She got McMann's attention with two early left hooks and defended a key takedown attempt by McMann, a world-class wrestler. McMann (8-3), who was coming off a loss to Miesha Tate, threw a lazy right leg kick in the center of the Octagon, and Nunes pounced, nailing her with a straight right to the chin. McMann eventually fell to her knees from the shot.

After McMann went down, Nunes jumped on her back and started landing hard, unanswered punches to the side of the head. Dazed, McMann rolled over with Nunes strapped on her back, leaving her neck exposed in the process to a rear-naked choke. It is the second submission of Nunes' career and 11th overall finish.

Borg takes decision from Herrera

Flyweight standout Ray Borg scored a lopsided unanimous decision against Geane Herrera, despite suffering a nasty cut in the final round.

Borg (9-1), 22, dominated Herrera, but had to be checked out by a doctor in the third round, after a Herrera elbow gashed him near his left eye. He was cleared to continue and eventually won via unanimous scores of 30-27.

The win improved Borg's UFC record to 3-1. His lone loss came via split decision to Dustin Ortiz in his promotional debut in April 2014.

"There's one thing I'd like to say --Demetrious Johnson," Borg said, referring to the UFC flyweight champion and ESPN.com's No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter, "I'm not calling you out and you may not know who I am, but I've overcome a lot of obstacles in my life, and I'm willing to overcome many more. I'll fight whoever they want me to, beat whoever they want me to. I don't care if it takes three fights, eight fights, if I lose one in the process -- I'm coming for that belt, and nothing is going to stop me."

Despite a previously undefeated record, Herrera (8-1) certainly wasn't prepared to stop Borg's rise through the division. Borg recorded takedowns in the opening seconds of each round, after which he racked up control time in top position and nearly secured several submissions.

The closest he came to finishing the fight was in the second round, when he moved to full mount and applied a guillotine. Herrera's mouthpiece bulged out of his mouth as he tried to escape the position. In the final 30 seconds of the fight, Borg took Herrera's back, flattened him out and went for a rear-naked choke.

The only blemish on Borg's performance occurred the day before the fight; he came in above the 126-pound weight limit. It was the first time Borg has missed weight as a UFC flyweight.

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