MONTREAL, December 11 – It wouldn’t be a Stefan Struve fight without some adversity, but as is the young heavyweight’s custom, that adversity is usually followed by triumph, and that was the case once again at the Bell Centre, as Struve stopped Sean McCorkle in UFC 124 main card action Saturday night.
Struve vs. McCorkle
Struve opened the fight with a flush right hand, but instead of fading, McCorkle picked his foe up and slammed him. Next up was a kimura attempt, yet after some maneuvering, Struve was able to break free. McCorkle kept the heat on with some ground strikes, while Struve looked for a submission from the bottom. After a stalemate, Struve quickly turned the tables, reversing position on the Indiana native, and unleashing a string of unanswered ground strikes, bringing in referee Yves Lavigne to stop the fight at 3:55 of the opening round. See post-fight interview
With the win, Struve improves to 25-4; McCorkle falls to 10-1.
Jim Miller vs. Oliveira
Lightweight contender Jim Miller made no secret of his desire to move to the next level after five consecutive UFC wins. Well, he made an example of unbeaten phenom Charles Oliveira, handing the 21-year old his first pro loss via first round submission to make it six in a row. See post-fight interview
“I think a lot of people underestimated me coming into this fight,” said Miller. “Charles is a tough kid with a lot of potential, but I’m one of the best in the world. I wanted to go out and prove a point. I want my shot.”
Oliveira drilled Miller with a series of head kicks to open the bout. The tough kid from Jersey walked through them, with the two finding their way to the mat. Miller escaped a quick guillotine attempt from Oliveira and began firing off ground strikes. Oliveira looked to nail a submission, but Miller wasn’t having it, and with a blazing fast transition, he locked in a kneebar, forcing a tap out at the 1:59 mark.
With the win, Miller improves to 19-2; Oliveira falls to 14-1.
Stevenson vs. Danzig
After losing four of his previous five fights, lightweight Mac Danzig’s career got a much needed boost as he scored a one punch first round knockout of Joe Stevenson in a clash of former Ultimate Fighter winners. See post-fight interview
“I’ve been landing it for years and years and I never knew how to put power into it the right way,” said Danzig. “I just started loosening up and popping it the way it’s supposed to go.”
Danzig’s slicker standup gave him an edge early on, but after a couple overhand rights landed by Stevenson, “Joe Daddy” started to get reckless. Stevenson proceeded to lunge in, and Danzig made him pay, responding with a single left hook that sent him face first to the canvas. Referee Dan Miragliotta immediately jumped in, halting the bout at the 1:54 mark.
“I knew he was going to come in and lead with that left,” said Danzig. “I studied tape of him and I knew he was going to walk right into that. And the whole thing with that is to aim for the jaw. I used to aim for the forehead. Hit the jaw and the guy goes out. I’m here to stay.”
The win ups Danzig’s record to 21-8-1; Stevenson falls to 36-12.
Alves vs. Howard
Welterweight contender Thiago Alves broke a two-fight losing streak in impressive style, using a precision Muay Thai attack to drill out a three round unanimous decision win over John Howard. See post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Alves, who lost back-to-back bouts to Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch.
Alves and Howard met at the center of the Octagon to begin the bout and they delivered the standup action they promised, with Alves holding an immediate and decided edge. Alves then followed up with a takedown, but the two scrambled up quickly, with the warmed up Howard starting to get in some leg kicks while Alves went upstairs with his punches. Midway through the round, Alves unleashed a beautiful Muay Thai combination that included a leg kick, punches, and knees, but Howard took it well as he reset and got back into the pocket. By round’s end, Alves finished up a strong session with a series of thudding leg kicks.
Staying patient, Alves kept peppering his opponent with leg kicks and punches upstairs throughout the early stages of round two, and while Howard tried to stay busy, his strikes had lost their steam. With 2:17 remaining, Alves slammed Howard to the mat and showed off his ground strikes, putting another round in the bank.
Howard entered the third round more aggressively as he tried to turn things around, but Alves remained sharp with his strikes as he walked through any return fire from “Doomsday”, dropping his foe with a straight right for the first time with less than three minutes to go. Howard got up immediately, but the die was cast, and while he kept swinging to the end, this night belonged to the “Pitbull”.
With the win, Alves improves to 23-6; Howard falls to 14-6.