Marcus Brimage vs. Maximo Blanco
Blanco lands a chopping leg kick, misses when he goes high on the shorter man. Brimage tests the range and tries to stick a straight punch through the guard of his fellow southpaw, but Blanco wheels away. Brimage catches a kick from Blanco and grazes with a countershot. The American comes inside and throws a combo, catching Blanco off-balance with a left hook. Another left hand scores for Brimage as he rushes Blanco into the fence, then backs out. Blanco ducks the next punch and pulls Brimage to the ground, but Brimage pops right back to his feet. Two minutes to go in the round and the featherweights are still looking hesitant to engage. They trade leg kicks, Blanco getting the better. Brimage comes inside with another combo and touches the Venezuelan again.
Blanco begins to find his range early in the second stanza, scoring with more low kicks and a pair of solid front kicks. They go back to circling and looking for openings, Brimage still rushing forward to throw hands while Blanco keeps his range, flicking out leg kicks and trying to keep out of range. Blanco gets zapped by another left hand, but he quickly responds with a front kick to the face. Brimage lands a left hook and Blanco counters with a right. Brimage slips on a kick but gets right back up and keeps the pressure on Blanco for the final 20 seconds.
Brimage is circling the outside now, keeping Blanco on his toes as he moves around the perimeter while mixing in punching combinations and leg kicks. One kick takes the base out from underneath Blanco, but Brimage doesn’t give chase. Blanco tries to tie up and take down Brimage, but Brimage denies it and stays vertical to rush his man with another combo. Midway through the final frame now and the Atlanta crowd is getting restless. Brimage lands another big left hook; Blanco tries to counter with a high kick which misses, and Brimage comes in behind it with more punches. Down to the final minute now and neither man is fighting with any real urgency, instead exchanging slapping leg kicks as the circle. Blanco tries to clinch up again and this time gets a combination for his troubles. The fight ends without any further significant offense, but both men try to put on a show after the bell with an impromptu backflip competition.
Official result: One judge scores the bout 29-28 for Blanco, while another has it 30-27 for Brimage. The final judge sees it 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Marcus Brimage.
Keith Wisniewski vs. Chris Clements
Clements tries some right-handed haymakers that miss, but he tags Wisniewski with the follow-up left. Wisniewski clinches up and drags Clements to the ground, where he passes to side control on the left and then easily moves to full mount. Clements gives up his back and Wisniewski tries to secure the position, but the Canadian gets his back to the ground again. Wisniewski is bleeding from the corner of his right eye as he works from half-guard, dropping some hard shots. Referee Fernando Yamasaki issues a baffling stand-up order with just under two minutes remaining and Clements goes back to lobbing right-handed bombs. Clements is getting inside on the taller man with punches now, and he drops Wisniewski with a turning kick to the gut. Clements tries to pounce and nearly gets caught in a triangle, but he pops out. They stand back up and Clements grazes with a spinning back fist, then gets clinched into the cage for the final few seconds.
Wisniewski walks down Clements, sticking him with a combination before tripping him to the ground at the base of the fence. Wisniewski tries to take his back again, but Clements uses the cage to work back to his feet. Clements disengages with a spinning back fist which just misses, then tries the same spinning kick which hurt Wisniewski in the first round. Clements throws a hard right hand to Wisniewski’s ribs as Wisniewski continues to back away from the power shots and flashy kicks. Clements puts another kick in Wisniewski’s breadbasket and goes for a takedown of his own. They wind up clinching on the cage with Clements on the outside. Wisniewski turns him around and gets a takedown with just over 90 seconds left. He takes full mount again and Clements gives up his back again. Wisniewski is much more stable on his back this time as he works to cinch up a rear-naked choke. Clements defends well, but Wisniewski has a body triangle and is controlling Clements’ left arm. Clements uses his free right arm...