STOCKHOLM, April 14 - After losing his first two UFC fights, British featherweight Jason Young was under a lot of pressure going into his UFC on FUEL TV prelim bout against Eric Wisely at Ericsson Globe Arena Saturday. Not only would he likely lose his UFC contract if he was defeated, he would also have failed to demonstrate in the UFC the talent that got him signed in the first place.
A lot on the line, but Young did not fold under the pressure. Rather, it seems to have refocused him and made him determined not to fail. His game was extremely tight and methodical, picking Wisely apart and restraining himself at moments when he could maybe have started letting go more, but risked creating openings for Wisely in the process.
Wisely was also under pressure coming into the fight, having lost his previous bout, but he was soon seemingly out of ideas. Over the course of three rounds, Young had his way with takedowns, kicks and hard right hands to steadily rack up the points. Wisely started very strong in the third round after a ticking off from his corner team, but Young was quickly able to slow him and then get back into controlling the distance game.
Knowing the fight was in the bag, Young let rip with some big shots for the last minute or so, but Wisely held on. Young won a unanimous decision via scores of 30-28 and 29-28 twice, but he will be equally happy with the fact that he demonstrated considerable skill and composure in what was a crucial fight for his career. Watch "Shotgun's" post-fight interview
THORESEN vs. YOUSEF
This fight had a local derby element to it as Besam Yousef hails from Sweden while Simeon Thoresen is from neighbouring Norway. On paper, Thoresen was going to cruise to a win over his fellow UFC debutant, as he is an experienced international competitor while Yousef is a relatively novice pro with a 6-0 record from fighting in Sweden.
But whether it was innate aggression or the fact he was fighting in Stockholm, Yousef came out of the gates hard. He looked to stamp his authority on the match early with hard left and right hands which forced the clinically calm Thoresen to wake up several notches from his usually ice-cold demeanour.
Thoresen paced and prodded, his experience meaning that Yousef’s attempts to draw him into a phone-booth war were rebuffed. When he finally saw his opening he stepped in and took a single-leg, placing Yousef on his back ready to be worked on. Except Yousef wasn’t ready to be worked on and incredibly, he outstruck Thoresen while holding him in full guard.
Yousef’s performance roused the crowd into making some serious noise, but the second round brought them back to earth. Thoresen maintained his policy of picking Yousef off from a distance, although there was a brief clinch which saw the Swede land some great elbow shots. Breaking from that clinch, Thoresen dropped the pursuing Yousef and was on him instantly with a D’arce choke effort.
That wasn’t successful, but it was a sign of things to come; Thoresen has a deserved reputation as one of the better grapplers on the Euro MMA circuit. No sooner had the D’arce been shrugged off than he was into a guillotine. He used that to turn Yousef over, then took his opponent’s back and sank in a rear naked choke to get the tap at 2:36 of round two. Hear what Thoresen had to say after his big win.
MADADI vs. IZQUIERDO
A Swedish wrestling champion against a Cuban karate champion - this fight was never going to go the distance. The arena erupted when Reza Madadi made his entrance, the entire crowd standing and clapping along with the local anthem which he used as his entrance music.
When he got Yoislandy Izquierdo to the floor before the one minute mark, it looked like it was going to be a short night for the Cuban. But he had other ideas - his first response on escaping back to his feet was to force Madadi backwards with a flurry of straight punches, then launch a flying knee that narrowly missed.
Things turned in Izquierdo’s favour for a while - his darting style and precision kicking game will inevitably draw comparison with fellow karate master Lyoto Machida. He did not seem concerned at the prospect of Madadi catching his leg, almost daring him to try as he threw head kicks and push kicks with venom.
Madadi was wary and that allowed Izquierdo to let his hands go, which created some tense moments for the Madadi fans as he was covering up against the cage for what felt like a long time, before dropping for a single-leg that put Izquierdo on his back and returned control of the round to him.
Izquierdo was aggressive at the start of the second but Madadi was ready for him. He put Izquierdo on his back with a double-leg, landing in side-control, and then went round to North-South looking for the choke. Izquierdo rolled to his knees looking to escape, and here he was able to single-leg Madadi and put the Swede on his back for the first time in the fight.
But just as Izquierdo got his hopes up, disaster - Madadi rolled him over and sank in a guillotine choke that was so tight Izquierdo had to tap almost as soon as it was in place, finishing the botu at the 1:28 mark of round two. An impressive debut from both men and both will probably get a call for their next UFC fights in the near future. Watch Madadi's post-fight interview
CARMONT vs. CEDENBLAD
Hulking middleweight Francis Carmont looks to be a different weight class to his Swedish opponent. With more experience as well, plus his own UFC debut under his belt, it was a tall order for “Jycken” Cedenblad.
Carmont opened the scoring with a double-leg, which made it look like Cedenblad was in for a short night. But then the Swede’s jiu-jitsu pedigree came into play - when Carmont stood in his guard, Cedenblad looked for the tripod sweep then used the leg-hook to get to his knees and hit a takedown of his own.
The rest of the round was high drama - Cedenblad took Carmont’s back and looked for the rear-naked choke while the Frenchman had to fight like crazy to prevent being tapped. A technical jiu-jitsu battle ensued and had the crowd enthralled before Carmont was able to get out and serve up some revenge by taking Cedenblad’s back and looking for a choke of his own. Cedenblad escaped as the round ended, but his good fortune didn’t carry over into the next one, as Carmont came out with a fire underneath him.
He put Cedenblad on his back fast and then hammered him with right hands as Cedenblad looked for an armbar. Cedenblad turned turtle to escape the damage and then Carmont took his back. A brief battle ensued, as Cedenblad tried to escape, but the only route out put him under full mount. Carmont battered him until he turned over again and that allowed the French middleweight to get a rear-naked choke locked up. The Swedish crowd went very, very quiet as Cedenblad tapped 1:42 into the second stanza. Hear Carmont's thoughts on the exciting win
DIABATE vs. DeBLASS
Cyrille Diabate was originally set to fight a kickboxing stylist in Jorgen Kruth, but injury meant that DeBlass got his UFC call-up to step in on 11 days' notice. A jiu-jitsu player, DeBlass wanted the fight on the floor and got it there quickly. Diabate is not noted for his own jiu-jitsu skills and so DeBlass was having the best of it on the ground, but was strangely passive.
Instead of looking for a finish aggressively he was playing a stalemating, holding game which allowed Diabate both to avoid damage and to get his stamina together. That was DeBlass’ undoing because in the second and third rounds, Diabate was able to reverse him on the floor and this time there was no lack of aggression - DeBlass ate some serious shots from Diabate as his own energy ebbed away. He was exhausted by the end of the fight and was barely holding Diabete off. DeBlass lost a majority via scores of 29-28 twice and 28-28, and he will go back to New Jersey with a list of things to work on for his next outing. Watch Diabate's post-fight interview
ABEDI vs. HEAD
Papy Abedi gets the hometown cheer and duly opens the scoring with a right hand and a solid knee to the body from the clinch. Surprisingly, it is Abedi that goes looking for the takedown - possibly to negate the height difference - which he gets by running the pipe on a single leg against the cage. But James Head does a good job of keeping Abedi’s posture broken down so the Swede can’t get any decent offense off.
Abedi passing to half guard allows Head to get back to his feet and suddenly he is in the driving seat, forcing Abedi across the cage with hard straight shots followed by a solid knee to the midriff and then a really nice overhand-elbow that stuns Abedi. Three hard right hands follow as Head goes for the kill.
Abedi backpedaled frantically and offered nothing as Head closed the distance again, hit him and takes him down. The fight looks completely gone from Abedi; Head mounts him and lets his hands go, forcing Abedi to turn and look for escape. That allows Head to take his back and sink the rear-naked choke in; Abedi taps quickly at 4:33 of the opening round.
UFC on FUEL TV 2 Prelim Report - Shotgun Stays Alive with Win Over Wisely
Click below for the UFC on FUEL TV 2 prelim report...