September 18, 2011
Belcher stops Canadian MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 25
By NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency
TORONTO - It took only 53 seconds for Jake Ellenberger to destroy former welterweight title challenger Jake Shields in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 25 on Saturday.
After defending a couple of takedown attempts, Ellenberger dropped Shields with a huge knee to the jaw. The former NCAA Division II wrestler immediately followed up with a flurry of punches on the mat for the TKO victory.
“I feel unbelievable,” Ellenberger said to Joe Rogan. “Jake Shields is a world champion. I can’t describe how I feel right now. It feels great.”
With the win, Ellenberger now finds himself among the top-ranked fighters in the welterweight division.
As for Shields, the loss couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Less than three weeks ago, his father and manager, Jack Shields, passed away. Despite the loss of someone close, he refused to back out of the fight.
Though Jake Shields complained the fight was stopped too early, replay showed he was so out of it he tried to take down the referee following the punches.
“I’m just frustrated,” Jake Shields said. “I got hit with a good shot. I was still trying to fight. I wish we could have kept fighting, but it is what it is.
“The ref stopped it. There’s nothing I can do.”
Court McGee earned a somewhat uneventful unanimous decision over Dongi Yang in the co-main event.
The first two rounds were close, if dull, but saw McGee come out as the aggressor. Things picked up in the final frame as Yang wobbled him with a big left and went in for the kill. But McGee recovered and began unloading on the South Korean.
With his opponent gassed, McGee almost secured a guillotine choke in the closing seconds, but Yang escaped as time expired.
Erik Koch won a unanimous decision against Jonathan Brookins in a lacklustre affair.
Koch’s superior striking and takedown defence made the difference in the bout. Whenever he had space to operate, he was able to land crisp punches and avoid counter shots. However, much of the bout saw Brookins pressing him against the cage, unable to secure takedowns.
Thankfully, the judges rewarded striking over wall-and-stall.
Earlier in the evening, Koch’s teammate Alan Belcher demolished Jason MacDonald with punches on the ground, forcing the Edmonton, Alta. native to verbally submit in the first round.
After failing to secure a takedown, MacDonald pulled guard in order to get the bout to the mat. However, once there, Belcher unloaded with vicious strikes to secure the impressive victory.
The bout marked Belcher’s first since undergoing two surgeries to repair a detached retina. At one point, it almost looked like the injury would force the middleweight fighter into an early retirement.
Following the fight, Belcher said he has his sight set on a shot at Anderson Silva.
“Man, it feels awesome; I’m so emotional right now,”Belcher said. “I’ve been through so many trials and tribulations over the last 16 months.
“I know I want to do this with my life. I want to pursue that belt. I’m back, baby.”
Vagner Rocha dominated Cody McKenzie on the mat before securing a rear-naked choke for the second-round submission.
McKenzie escaped from a number of precarious positions, but it was only a matter of time before Rocha caught him. After getting caught in yet another choke – and with nowhere to go – he had no choice but to tap.
After two disappointing losses, Evan Dunham returned to the win column, earning an impressive unanimous decision over Shamar Bailey.
Dunham displayed fluid striking, battering The Ultimate Fighter alum with straight-lefts and head kicks for 15 minutes. But the story of the fight was Bailey’s heart. No matter how many hard shots he took, he never stopped moving forward.
Lance Benoist survived a brutal third round to earn a unanimous decision over Matt Riddle in exciting bout.
Benoist clearly won the first 10 minutes, displaying superior striking and dishing out stiff ground-and-pound. However, Riddle busted Benoist’s nose open in the second round with a massive knee, turning the scrap into a bloodbath.
The final stanza was all Riddle, who delivered punishing blows from top position. All three judges scored it 29-28, eliciting a chorus of boos from the clueless fans in attendance.