The UFC is back on FOX for exciting night of fights in Chicago. In the main event of the evening former champions, Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson, square off in a critical Lightweight bout. Before the former UFC and StrikeForce champions do battle, the preliminary card will set the tone for the night.
Former TUF Live contestants, Daron Cruickshank and Mike Rio, will look to bounce back from respective losses when they face off tonight. Rio is 1-2 in the UFC, losing his last two by submission. He desperately needs a win tonight in order to keep his spot on the roster. Cruickshank is 3-2 in the UFC and is coming off a submission loss to Adriano Martins. Cruickshank will look to utilize his impressive striking arsenal to get the victory over Rio.
Also featured on the prelims card is the debut of the former RFA Welterweight champion, Mike Rhodes. He takes on fellow UFC newcomer, George Sullivan, in a battle of hyped prospects.
Ramiro Hernandez vs. Hugo Viana
The first round began with Hugo Viana’s big overhand right landing. Both men exchanged in the middle of the Octagon. Hernandez was very tentative as Viana was throwing haymakers. Viana was landing power shots at will. The entire round was Viana landing, but unable to close the lights out on Hernandez. The second round was more of the same with Viana winging power shots as Hernandez defends. Hernandez had almost no offensive output in the fight thus far. Hernandez landed a counter left hook with just over two minutes to go. Hernandez attempted a flying knee, but missed. Hernandez sustained a nasty cut over his right eye from Viana’s big haymakers. The round ends with a solid combination from Viana. The third round began with more urgency from Hernandez. He landed a nice uppercut, but Viana answered with a big overhand right. Hernandez really pushed the pace in this round, but Viana was able to circle away. Hernandez landed a hard combination to end the fight, but it was too little too late.
Official Decision: Hugo Viana defeats Ramiro Hernandez by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Daron Cruickshank vs. Mike Rio
The first round started very slow. Both men were unwilling to engage before Cruickshank landed a powerful overhand right. Cruickshank continued to land on Rio, while Rio threw nothing in return. With two minutes to go, Rio opened up with strikes of his own. Rio landed a nice uppercut that staggered Cruickshank momentarily. Big overhand right came moments later for Cruickshank. Cruickshank landed a beautiful combination that ended with a high kick, dropping Rio. Incredibly, Rio was able to survive and make it to the end of the round. Cruickshank stuffed the early takedown from Rio in the second round. Cruickshank was mixing up his striking very well, throwing all sorts of kicks. Cruickshank landed a incredible jumping spinning back kick midway through the round. Cruickshank got a takedown, but Rio attacked with a heel hook. The submission was very deep, but Cruickshank was able to to squirm free. When they got to their feet, Cruickshank landed a wheel kick flush on Rio’s face, stunning him. Cruickshank followed it up with a bevvy of strikes that dropped Rio, forcing the ref to call an end to the fight. Incredible display from Daron Cruickshank.
Official Decision: Daron Cruickshank defeats Mike Rio by TKO Round 2 (4:56)
Here is a GIF of the finish:
George Sullivan vs Mike Rhodes
The first round began with a feeling out process for both men. After some striking, Rhodes got a big slam, but Sullivan was able to get right back to his feet. Rhodes was utilizing kicks while switching stances to confuse Sullivan. With a minute to go, Sullivan got a big slam, but Rhodes attacked with a kimura. Sullivan was able to secure full mount while his arm was caught in the kimura, but the round ended. The second round started with powerful leg kicks from Rhodes. Sullivan was throwing everything with power, while Rhodes was attempting to pick him apart from the outside. Rhodes landed a nice overhand right followed by two big knees that stunned Sullivan. Both men began to open it up on the feet a bit more with Rhodes gaining a slight advantage. Rhodes got Sullivan to the mat, but only for a moment. The round ended with Sullivan attempting to get Rhodes down, but could not. The third round was more of the same in a very close fight. Sullivan was throwing with power, while Rhodes looked to utilize a more reserved approach. Big overhand right landed for Sullivan a few times, but Rhodes chin was holding up. Rhodes got Sullivan’s back standing once again, but could not secure a takedown. With the fight coming to an end, both Sullivan and Rhodes were able to secure takedowns, but neither man could capitalize. This was certainly not the best fight we have ever seen inside the Octagon.
Official Decision: George Sullivan defeats Mike Rhodes by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Walt Harris vs. Nikita Krylov
The first round began with strong kicks to the body by Krylov as both men fired off shots in the center of the Octagon. 20 seconds in, Krylov dropped Harris with a big head kick and finished him off with ground and pound. Impressive performance from Krylov after his dismal debut against Soa Palelei.
Official Decision: Nikita Krylov defeats Walt Harris by TKO Round 1 (0:25)
Here is a GIF of the finish: