By Thomas Gerbasi
SYDNEY, February 21 – Known for his striking prowess, welterweight vet Chris ‘Lights Out’ Lytle went to Plan B Sunday afternoon at the Acer Arena, submitting Brian Foster with a first round kneebar in UFC 110 preliminary action. Post-fight interview
“People don’t know that I’ve been doing ground longer than standup,” said Lytle, now 38-17-4. “I’ve been trying to keep that a secret.” UFC 110 replay
Lytle looked for the homerun punch early but missed, earning himself a trip to the mat. Lytle rose immediately and got back to business, but Foster (15-5) was clearly the crisper striker of the two. Lytle could not be dismissed though, especially when he landed a looping shot that jarred the Oklahoma native. Moments later, the fight went to the mat and ‘Lights Out’ showed off his underrated ground game immediately, finishing things with a kneebar that produced a tap out at the 1:41 mark.
Bonnar vs. Soszynski
A clash of heads ended the entertaining light heavyweight bout between Krzysztof Soszynski and Stephan Bonnar early, with the final verdict being a third round TKO win for Soszynski after a cut on Bonnar’s forehead was judged to be too severe for him to continue. Soszynski post-fight interview
Soszynski charged right at Bonnar, jarring him into the fence. Bonnar weather the early assault, but Soszynski just kept coming, bloodying ‘The American Psycho’ in the process. At the midway point of the round, Bonnar was able to rebound with a takedown, but the two rose quickly and resumed the standup action, which Soszynski was still in control of until a late right hand by Bonnar just before the bell. Bonnar post-fight interview
Bonnar seemed to have his bearings back in round two, and he finally started to get into a standup rhythm. Soszynski, a swelling growing under his right eye, wasn’t shying away from exchanges though, and he kept his work rate solid as the bout settled into a punishing war of attrition that showed on both fighters’ faces.
The battle continued in round three, with an inadvertent clash of heads cutting Bonnar early on. Soon, the cut on Bonnar’s forehead was deemed too severe, and on the recommendation of the Octagonside physician, referee John Sharp - who incorrectly ruled that the cut was caused by a legal blow - halted the bout at the 1:04 mark.
With the win, Soszynski improves to 20-10-1; Bonnar falls to 14-7.
Dollaway vs. Reljic
Former Ultimate Fighter finalist CB Dollaway continued to show the progression of his fight game as he spoiled Goran Reljic’s middleweight debut and his perfect record, scoring a unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Dollaway, who improves to 11-3; Reljic falls to 8-1. Fight replay
“I came out tonight and showed the real CB Dollaway,” he said. “I’ve been working on my striking a lot. You’ve got to be well-rounded in here.”
After a tentative opening, Reljic started loosening up with kicks to the legs and punches upstairs, forcing Dollaway to look for the takedown. Dollaway was unsuccessful, but after Reljic caught an inadvertent poke in the eye, ‘The Doberman’ was able to land with some hard shots until referee John Sharp halted the action so Reljic could get a look from the doctor. After the bout was cleared to continue, Reljic went back to work, even scoring a takedown. Dollaway got up quickly and got a takedown of his own, but he was unable to do anything with it. Instead, Reljic worked on Dollaway’s arm from the bottom, trying to finish the bout. Dollaway escaped and landed with some ground strikes before standing up and finishing the round by trading kicks with his foe.
The two continued to land thudding kicks on each other in the first minute of the second round, with Dollaway responding to one by catching it and taking Reljic to the mat. Again, Reljic fought effectively off his back, but was unable to finish Dollaway, who rose to his feet. The trading of kicks was an ongoing theme, with Dollaway scoring and then slamming Reljic to the mat. This time, Dollaway’s ground and pound was more effective, but after taking a few hard shots, Reljic was able to make it back to his feet just before the end of the round.
Dollaway stalked confidently in the third, calling for Reljic to engage. The Croatian obliged, only to get taken to the mat. Reljic continued to look for submissions, but Dollaway kept powering out of them. Midway through the round, the two stood, and Reljic chased Dollaway, looking to get back on the scoreboard. A trip to the mat ensued, with Reljic on top in side control this time. Seemingly pinned to the mat, Dollaway found a way out, and he got into Reljic’s guard, where he stayed for much of the closing moments of the bout.
Te Huna vs. Pokrajac
The opener felt more like a main event, and rightfully so, as Australia-based New Zealander James Te Huna gave the local fans what they wanted as he halted Igor Pokrajac in the third round of their light heavyweight bout.
Pokrajac took charge immediately, dropping Te Huna to the mat. The New Zealander recovered quickly and found his way into Pokrajac’s guard, where he was able to fire off his preferred weapon of choice – ground strikes. Two minutes in, referee Steve Percival called for a re-start of the action, and Pokrajac fired off punches in response, keeping Te Huna off balance and forcing him to look for a takedown. Pokrajac responded well with some strikes against the fence, but Te Huna was able to get his takedown with a little over a minute to go. Again, he fired off ground strikes, with each blow drawing a roar from the crowd just before the bell sounded. Fight replay
Te Huna got the bout to the mat again early in round two, and after some ground and pound work, Percival re-started the action. Again, Pokrajac was effective with his strikes from long range, but Te Huna always took control when the two locked up, and he scored another takedown. A third re-start gave Pokrajac another chance to score and he took it, landing with more flush shots. With under 20 seconds left, a right from Pokrajac rocked and dropped Te Huna, but he was able to survive until the round ended.
The standup action was tentative early in the third, but when Te Huna was able to close the gap, he capitalized, slamming Pokrajac to the mat. The Croatian fought his way back to his feet and then the two traded takedowns, with Te Huna’s superior workrate giving him the edge. Eventually, he was able to reel off a series of unanswered punches to the face, and even though Pokrajac gave a thumbs up to Percival, the referee halted the bout at the 3:26 mark, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
With the win, Te Huna improves to 14-4; Pokrajac falls to 21-7.