Joe Lauzon, Cain Velasquez and Anthony Johnson impressive in victories, Jake Rosholt submitted in first round.
The hits just keep coming! January 2009 was an incredible month for MMA, but February is off to a fast start as well. UFC Fight Night 17 provided fans with a free evening of entertainment on Spike TV.
The main event was between Joe Lauzon and Jeremy Stephens, who took the fight on short notice to fill in for an injured Hermes Franca. Stephens is a feared striker in the Lightweight division, but Lauzon was considered the more well rounded of the two. It went until late in the second round and Lauzon definitely had his hands full, but he won the fight with a spectacular arm bar. Stephens definitely got some good shots in, but Lauzon's ground game was too much to overcome.
Cain Velasquez fought Denis Stojnic in a Heavyweight bout and if I'm being honest, this was the fight I was most interested in. I've had discussions with fighters (Josh Koscheck in particular) and management from the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and everyone involved with the team is extremely excited about Velasquez and the potential the feel he has. He was an All American Wrestler in college, but has picked up striking and jiu jitsu amazingly fast. He overwhelmed Stojnic from the opening bell, blasting him with knees to the head, body and upper legs, leg kicks and all manner of punches. If not for a granite chin, Stojnic would have been knocked out in the first round, but it went into the second. It was basically more of the same, but Velasquez got Stojnic down and battered him with strikes until the referee stopped the fight. It was a T.K.O., but Velasquez was critical of his own performance in the post-fight interview. The most impressive thing to me was the pace of the fight. It was more like watching a Welterweights than Heavyweights, and that's a very good thing. At this point, it would be hard to argue that Velasquez isn't the real deal. Only time will tell, but Brock Lesnar would be wise to start keeping an eye on this guy.
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson scored a nice TKO victory over Luigi Fioravanti. It was set up by an overhand right that dropped the American Top Team fighter. Johnson finished him off with ground-and-pound.
Mac Danzig suffered a very disappointing loss to Josh Neer. It was an exciting fight with multiple momentum shifts. Both fighters used the clinch effectively and attempted submissions. Neer was the first to succeed, submitting Danzig with a brutally tight triangle choke.
Matt Veach defeated Matt Grice by TKO.
Dan Miller submitted Jake Rosholt with a guillotine choke in the first round.