Ricci is heavy on top and bangs him up with some short elbows. Ricci is in full mount but reversed on top with Fletcher rolling underneath, maybe trying for a toe hold. Ricci extracts his leg and spins to take Fletcher’s back as they stand back up. Fletcher scrapes him off with the help of the fence and pushes Ricci against the fence with an underhook before being reversed. Fletcher is sporting damage underneath his right eye as they work around the outside and split up midway through the round. Fletcher gets back to throwing his slow low kicks while Ricci pressures from the center. Body kick lands for Fletcher, answered by a right-hand counter from Ricci. A left high kick lands for Ricci and Fletcher gives him a hard leg kick in return. Ricci goes down the middle with a straight left, gets backed off by a pair of Fletcher body kicks. Fletcher is getting busier with his combos by the end of the frame but they just don’t look to have much behind them.
Fletcher, whose right eye looks almost swollen shut now, gets inside on a single-leg. Ricci defends by hopping over to the fence. Level change for Fletcher yields nothing and they wind up clinching on the cage with Fletcher on the outside. Ricci turns it around and they stall out until Ricci breaks off with a standing elbow. Three minutes left in the bout and they’re back to the familiar pattern, Ricci throwing straight punches and Fletcher firing off slapping kicks from the outside. Fletcher gets off a right cross, tries a superman punch and gets picked off by a Ricci counter. Ricci backs Fletcher into the fence and lands a one-two before letting him go. They tie up with 90 seconds left and Ricci drags Fletcher to the ground, though Fletcher tries to grab hold of the cage and prevent the takedown. Ricci postures up in Fletcher’s half-guard and drops left hands while the Freakshow tries to buck and roll. Ricci takes his back in a scramble and starts working for the RNC with 40 seconds left. Fletcher fends off the choke, so Ricci tries for an armbar. It allows Fletcher to roll free and finish the fight on top, landing a couple elbows before the horn.
Official result: All three judges score the bout 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Mike Ricci.
Nick Ring vs. Chris Camozzi
Ring opens up with inside and outside leg kicks, and Camozzi steps forward with a glancing left hook. Now, Camozzi wades in behind his jab and misses with the follow-up right. Camozzi lands a hard kick to Ring’s lead leg as the southpaws continue to feel out the range. Lead uppercut from Camozzi misses. With his hands at his waist, Ring walks him toward the fence. The Canadian is having trouble getting inside with Camozzi swinging hooks. Camozzi strikes with a kick to the body and connects with a right hook. Ring keeps crouching low and throwing flicking punches to the body, but he’s not landing clean. Camozzi connects with a wide right hook that has an off-balance Ring looking for his footing. Ring ducks a right hook and slips out to land one of his own. A right hook from Ring is countered by a left from Camozzi as the last few seconds tick down in a close first round.
The middleweights trade hard leg kicks to start the middle stanza. Camozzi catches a front kick but can’t capitalize, and Ring comes back to pop him with a right hand. Ring connects with a short left and just gets out of the way of a Camozzi knee. Camozzi decks Ring with a hard left and comes sailing in behind it with a knee that misses. Guillotine try for Camozzi doesn’t go anywhere and they break off. Halfway through the fight now and Camozzi looks to be breathing hard while Ring still has some pep in his step. Camozzi doubles up on a jab, eats a right hand in return. Ring is playing matador, stepping out of the way of Camozzi’s slow punches and constantly changing angles. Camozzi grabs hold of Ring’s head and taps him with a knee. Camozzi’s nose is leaking blood as he comes forward and catches Ring off balance with a punch. Ring stays up and steps backward, out of the way of a series of Camozzi’s punches.
Jabs are exchanged early in the final round but it’s Ring mixing in leg kicks to keep the tired Camozzi at bay. Camozzi rushes in with a left hand, then clinches up and works to secure a rear waistlock. Ring scoots over to the fence and puts his left side to the cage. Camozzi gets off a couple knees before Ring slips out and resets in the center of the cage. Ring lands a right hook and Camozzi waves him on. Two minutes left and both men are pulling up short with their jabs now. Ring flicks out a few leg kicks inside, eats a left hand from Camozzi up top. Camozzi sticks a couple jabs on the backward-moving Ring, who shoots a bad single-leg and nearly gets his head trapped. Camozzi snaps back Ring’s head with a jab. It’s Camozzi coming forward at the final horn, leaping at Ring with a knee.
Official result: The judges score the bout 29-28 Camozzi, 29-28 Ring, and 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Chris Camozzi.
Nate Marquardt vs. Jake Ellenberger
Marquardt lands an inside leg kick as Ellenberger stalks out from the center of the cage, changing levels. Ellenberger spins the former Strikeforce champ around with a leg kick of his own. Marquardt falls on his next leg kick, hops back up. Marquardt catches Ellenberger coming in and rushes him with a nice right hand. Ellenberger answers right back with a hard hook. “The Juggernaut” just misses with an uppercut as Marquardt fakes a single-leg shot. Marquardt with another inside leg kick as he steps out of the way of Ellenberger’s right hand. Another pair of hard leg kicks land for Marquardt, who is sporting a small cut underneath his eye. Ellenberger decks Marquardt with a blazing left-right combo and Marquardt drops to his knees. Marquardt is diving on a shot while Ellenberger stands over him,... (Continues on next page)