decision, Mike Easton.
Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie
Mendes closes the gap instantly and drills McKenzie with a couple knees to the gut. McKenzie comes off the cage and whiffs on a head kick. Mendes catches McKenzie coming in and drives a straight right hand into the Alaskan’s midsection. McKenzie collapses to his knees and Mendes finishes him off with some fierce ground-and-pound. Ref Steve Mazzagatti waves this one off after only 31 seconds, giving Chad Mendes the stoppage victory.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia
Maia shoots almost immediately and Kim tries to punish the Brazilian with elbows as he defends the takedown against the fence. Now onto the back goes Maia, who hits the floor and comes back up with Kim, staying glued to his back. Kim tries to spin away and the pair hits the ground awkwardly at the base of the fence. Maia hops into mount and drops a couple punches on the nonresponsive Kim, then stands up and walks away before referee Yamasaki even intervenes. Kim is holding his midsection as he lays on the ground, having apparently injured his ribs in the act of being taken down. The official time of the strange stoppage is 47 seconds of the first round.
Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote
Le catches the first kick from Cote and instantly sweeps the Canadian to the canvas. Cote pops back up and gives chase around the Octagon, pawing over the top with his jab. Le stays out of range, sizing Cote up and throwing the occasional kick to the body. Le is conserving his strikes and his energy, waiting for Cote to get wild and making him pay for mistakes with snappy kicks to the body and counterpunches. A quick right hook from Le makes Cote miss wildly with an overhand. Le flicks his right hand in Cote’s face to get his attention and then drills a left kick into his body. Not much action in the final minute, with Cote still trying to find his range and chase Le down.
Le stands out of range of Cote’s punches again, swiping with right hands and left kicks when the “Predator” gets too close for comfort. A spinning heel kick connects for Le but doesn’t faze, and Cote keeps pressing forward. A good punching combo from Cote is followed by a kick and he ties up. One of Cote’s strikes has cut Le on the outside of his left eye. At the same time, Cote has a red streak running down from his hairline. Cung goes high with a left kick that appears to anger Cote, who pushes in on the sanshou specialist with a flurry of punches. Cote begins pouring it on with a minute left, walking down Le with punches and knees against the fence. Le gets himself out of trouble momentarily by taking the outside position, but Cote walks him off the fence and roughs up the body with uppercuts. Le lands an uppercut of his own as they disengage and blocks a body kick from Cote to finish the frame.
Le takes a kick below the belt early, but he’s quick to recover and they get back to work. Cote slows the action down by pushing Le into the fence. Le removes himself from the position and goes back to kicking at Cote’s legs and head, but the kicks are coming slower now and not finding their marks. More missed kicks from Le, and Cote wades in to clinch behind a pair of right hands. Cote holds Le on the fence, peppering with short punches to the body, but he gets complacent and Le trips him to the ground. Cote stands immediately and tries a single-leg, but Le hops away and stays upright. Cote walks into range and Le socks him with a hard right hand up top, then another. Kick to the breadbasket from Le, countered by a grazing Cote right hand. Le puts his right hand on Cote’s temple and Cote shakes his head out. Le hits another takedown with 40 seconds remaining and works from side control on Cote’s right. Cote regains guard and throws short punches off his back while Le stays flat on top. Cote throws his legs up for a last-ditch sub attempt just before the horn.
Official result: All three judges score the bout 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Cung Le.
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
Griffin leads with leg kicks but gets caught by a one-two combo in the first half minute. More leg kicks from Griffin, who circles around Ortiz for 40 seconds until being taken down along the cage. Ortiz postures up and drops some heavy elbows and punches through Griffin’s guard. Griffin tries to spin out, only to be placed on his back again. A nice sweep from Griffin gets him out of the bad position and he goes back to trading with Ortiz on the feet, sticking the Californian with some crude, wide punches. Ortiz steps inside to land a right and a partial head kick. Griffin replies with a chopping leg kick and a right uppercut in the pocket, then sprawls on a shot. Ortiz’s offense has petered off as the round enters its last minute. He seems content to chase Griffin for now, standing on the end of Forrest’s punches and kicks. Superman punch from Griffin misses but it gets him inside to land a left hand. Ortiz spins Griffin down with a single-leg just before the horn.
Griffin connects with a combination but gets dropped by a straight right hand from Ortiz. The “People’s Champ” gives chase, trying to polish off the dazed Griffin, but Ortiz looks tired already; Forrest recovers enough to grab hold of Ortiz’s wrists and control the fight against the fence. He shoulder-shrugs and throws a knee up the middle, then breaks off and connects with a right hand. Griffin throws a left straight that snaps back Ortiz’s head and Tito returns the favor. Ortiz is cut on the bridge of his nose now as he absorbs more hard leg kicks. Griffin ducks a punch and strings together a combination inside, follows up with a jab. Griffin is still missing a lot of strikes, but he’s also connecting with plenty, racking up leg kicks and wide punches, probably doubling or tripling Ortiz in offensive output. Again, Ortiz goes for a takedown at the end of the... (Continues on next page)