UFC 137: Diaz Batters Penn; Kongo, Nelson Victorious The MMA Corner Staff October 29, 2011 Events, Recaps UFC 137 took place from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Oct. 29. The card, originally slated to feature a welterweight title bout, was headlined by Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn after champion Georges St-Pierre was forced out with an injury. Diaz pushes Penn toward retirement Former Strikeforce title-holder Nick Diaz used his cardio advantage and a relentless striking attack to get the best of former UFC kingpin B.J. Penn. The two welterweights battled back and forth for the first half of the fight, with Penn scoring repeatedly with big punches, despite the significant reach disadvantage. Penn briefly took Diaz’s back in the opening round, but was unable to finish. Diaz rebounded toward the middle of the second frame, peppering the Hawaiian with a barrage of body shots. Penn never stopped however, absorbing the onslaught. Entering the final frame, both fighters showed visible damage, but continued to press forward. Penn tried to push the action, but Diaz was simply too much. All three judges rewarded Diaz for the performance. He made it known that he wants Georges St-Pierre next. “I don’t think Georges is hurt, I think he’s scared,” Diaz proclaimed. “Hats off to Nick Diaz, he’s the man,” Penn said following the fight. He then declared that this was his last fight. The fight earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Kongo too much for Mitrione French heavyweight Cheick Kongo used his technical striking advantage and a late ground-and-pound assault to hand Matt Mitrione his first loss. The action was slow early in the fight, drawing boos from the crowd. The fighters took their time to find their range and rarely engaged in the opening round. The second saw more action as Mitrione began to let his hands go and Kongo unleashed leg kicks. It was the final round that proved to be the difference in the fight, as Kongo scored multiple takedowns and damaged the left eye of Mitrione by raining down punches. Nelson hands Cro Cop defeat in his final bout Winner of the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Roy Nelson, survived a number of combinations from former Pride superstar Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and finished the Croatian in the third round. The opening frame was largely even, as both fighters scored with strikes. Nelson looked for his heavy right hand, while Filipovic stalked with his left straight. In the middle stanza, Filipovic opened strong, forcing Nelson against the fence and unloading. Nelson survived the barrage, and even ate one of Filipovic’s famed left head kicks during the round. That’s when the tables turned for Nelson. Scoring a takedown, Nelson moved to the crucifix position and dropped left hand after left hand to the Croatian’s face as the round closed. Filipovic’s survival was short-lived. Nelson dropped Filipovic near the cage and followed with a series of blows that forced referee Steve Mazzagatti to intervene and stop the bout. Jorgensen’s wrestling too much for Curran Bantamweight Scott Jorgensen used his superior wrestling skills to defeat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Jeff Curran, who was making his UFC return more than seven years after his last Octagon appearance. Curran was the more aggressive fighter on the feet, but Jorgensen repeatedly slipped punches and took the fight to the mat. Curran remained active on his back, but Jorgensen’s base was too strong. Jorgensen apologized in his post-fight interview for the slow-paced fight, but Curran’s offense on the feet necessitated Jorgensen’s game plan. Hioki successful in Octagon debut in closely contested fight with Roop Japanese superstar Hatsu Hioki used his top-level grappling to win his UFC debut over fellow featherweight George Roop. Roop controlled the striking throughout the fight, but had no answer for Hioki’s superior top game. Hioki scored with takedowns in the first two rounds, and moved to mount in the second round. Roop survived the positions, but could not mount offense from his back. In the final round, Roop continued to press the action on the feet and looked to derail the former Sengoku and Shooto champ’s title aspirations, but it wasn’t enough as two of three judges awarded Hioki the decision. Undercard Summary Lightweight Donald Cerrone continued his tear, dismantling German-based Dennis Siver. Cerrone rocked Siver multiple times with kicks, before finishing him off with a rear-naked choke. The submission earned Cerrone “Submission of the Night.” Former WEC stalwart Bart Palaszewski punished Tyson Griffin for missing the featherweight limit by knocking out the former lightweight. The win earned Palaszewski “Knockout of the Night” honors. Brandon Vera returned to the win column in a light heavyweight bout against Eliot Marshall. Marshall rocked Vera in the final round and broke Vera’s left arm with an armbar, but Vera survived to the final bell. Vera’s work in the first two rounds earned him the win. Ramsey Nijem dominated Danny Downes in his lightweight debut. Downes mounted no offense during the bout as Nijem scored on the feet and with his grappling. Middleweight Francis Carmont had a successful UFC debut by defeating Ultimate Fighter alum Chris Camozzi. Carmont got the better of Camozzi, but was forced to survive a late kimura attempt as the fight came to a close. Clifford Starks handed Dustin Jacoby his first loss in a slow-paced opening bout. Starks used his wrestling to control the fight throughout. FULL RESULTS Nick Diaz def. BJ Penn by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-28). Cheick Kongo def. Matt Mitrione by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-28, 29-28). Roy Nelson def. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic by TKO (punches). 1:30, Round 3 Hatsu Hioki def. George Roop by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Scott Jorgensen def. Jeff Curran by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). Donald Cerrone def. Dennis Siver by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:22 Bart Palaszewski def. Tyson Griffin by KO (punches). Round 1, 2:45 Brandon Vera def. Eliot Marshall by unanimous decision (29-28 x3). Ramsey Nijem def. Danny Downes by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27). Francis Carmont def. Chris Camozzi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27). Clifford Starks def. Dustin Jacoby by unanimous decision (30-27 x3). Photo: Nick Diaz (Rob Tatum/Bleacher Report) Ted Diaz-Penn was an excellent fight! Nick Diaz showcased his great endurance, and boxing skills. Being a fellow Canadian, I always root for GSP, however, I think he’ll have his hands full with Diaz come Superbowl weekend..Unlike the fight against Jake Shields, GSP will have to take this fight to the ground to avoid Diaz’s superior boxing. The question is, will GSP’s strength be enough to avoid Diaz’s crafty ground game?