Stevenson fighting out of Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai Academy who won the TUF 2 welterweight crown, has been dominating his opponents since dropping down to his natural 155 lb. weight class, after the UFC reinstalled the lightweight division last year.
On Thursday April 5, 2007 the UFC held a 9th installment of its popular Ultimate Fight Night at The Pearl in the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC Fight Night 9's main card was aired live on SpikeTV to kick off The Ultimate Fighter 5: The Lightweights, which was set to air its first episode immediately afterwards. The main card featured Antoni Hardonk vs. Justin McCully, Kenny Florian vs. Dokonjonosuke Mishima, and the main event between Joe Stevenson vs. Melvin Guillard. The arena was packed and the atmosphere was jumping, as the fight card featured six undercard bouts as well to help kick things off and get the festivities started. Naoyuki Kotani vs. Thiago Tavares The first fight of the night saw two new-comers to the UFC enter the octagon. Naoyuki Kotani is an veteran that has made a name for himself fighting in Japan's ZST organization, while training out of the Rodeo Style association, which is also home to the IFL's Tokyo Sabres coach Ken Yusada. Thiago Tavares is an impressive jiu-jitsu stylist fighting out of Brazil, that has been training with the American Top Team and currenly holds an undefeated MMA record. Round 1: Not much action in the first stanza. There's lots of circling, as each fighter seems tentaive in their UFC debuts. Tavares scores a takedown midway through the round, but Kotani is able to sweep. Tavares fell down throwing a high kick just as the round came to a close. OTM scores the uneventful round 10-9 for Tavares. Round 2: Kotani takes the fight to the ground early in the second round. Tavares locks up a tight guillotine choke, but the Japanese fighter escapes. The referee stands the fighters up to their feet. Tavares scores a takedown of his own and moves to side-control. Tavares then mounts Kotani and the round ends just after Kotani reverses from the mount and gets top position. OTM scores the second round 10-9 for Tavares. Round 3: Very boring fight thus far. Tavares gets the fight to the floor again with an inside trip. Tavares worked some punches to the head and body, but Kotani was able to defend well. The referee stands the fighters up due to lack of action. Kotani hits a takedown of his own, but his opponent quickly sweeps to half-guard. Tavares continues to work with punches from the dominant position until the horn sounds to end the contest. OTM saw the fight 30-27. All the judges agree and award the victory to Thiago Tavares (30-27 x3), which brings the Brazilian's MMA record to a flawless 12-0. Roan Carneiro vs. Rich Clementi The second fight of the night saw Brazilian Top Team fighter Roan "Jucao" Carneiro of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil make his UFC debut against TUF 4 competitor and UFC veteran Rich "No Love" Clementi, who is also a Team Voodoo teammate of UFC veteran Alan Belcher who fights TUF 3 champion Kendall Grove at UFC 69 on Satruday night. Round 1: Carneiro was able to score two takedowns in the first round, but wasn't able to inflict much damage on Clementi. Carneiro moved to side-control on the second takedown and was able to unleash a three-punch combo on the ground. OTM scores the frame 10-9 for Carneiro. Round 2: Carneiro is ahain able to land an early takedown. Carneiro then takes Clementi's back and sinks in a deep rear naked choke, but he only has one hook in. Just when it looks as if Clemnti was about to tap, he turns into the choke and gets back to half-guard. After the referee stood them back up, Carnerio caught Clementi in an Anaconda choke, but again isn't able to finish the submission. Clementi lands a solid flurry of punches before the frame finally comes to a close. OTM sees it 10-9 for Carneiro. Round 3: This was another dominating round for Carneiro. He scored an early takedown and spent the last two minutes of the fight on Clementi's back with both hooks in, looking for the rear naked choke. Clementi held him at bay with good hand control, but he was not able to reverse the bad position. OTM saw the third round 10-9 for Caneiro. All three judges scores agreed, scoring the contest 30-27 for Roan Carneiro. Forrest Petz vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka The third fight of the night marked the return of Kuniyoshi Hironaka, who holds a black-belt in jiu-jitsu, as well as a submission grappling victory over the legendary Jean-Jacques Machado and a Rumble On The Rock win over Renato "Charuto" Verissimo in 2006 was originally slated to be a fellow jiu-jitsu black-belt in the Jeff Joslin of Canada, but due to injury Forrest Petz stepped in to take his place on the card. Forrest "Meat Cleaver" Petz fighting out of Cleveland, Ohio is no stranger to MMA or the UFC himself, currenly 12-3 in MMA and 1-1 in his first two UFC fights. Round 1: Hironaka is able to take Petz down early in the first round. The Japanese fighter moves to side-control before acrobatically jumping across Petz to look for an arm-triangle choke. A wild scramble ensues with Hironaka ending up in half-guard on top. He works punches and elbows before moving to a dominant knee-on-belly position and then to a full mount. Petz bucks Hironaka off before the round closes. OTM scores the round 10-9 in favor of Hironaka. Round 2: Petz gets busy with strikes to open up the second frame. He lands a solid looping right hand that buckles Hironaka's frame. Hironaka scores a takedown, but he isn't able to strike or improve on his position. Petz is landing solid strikes on the ground and after a stand-up, he continues landing more shots on his feet as well. Hironaka is bleeding from the mouth. OTM sees the round 10-9 for Petz. Round 3: The third round is all Hironaka. The Japanese fighter worked off a takedown into side-control, where he trapped Petz's left arm under his legs a la Matt Hughes. Hironaka then bombed away with punches before Petz was able to escape the very bad spot. Hironaka again tied up Petz's arm, but this time he spins for an armbar and almost has it extended just as time runs out. OTM scored the round 10-8 for Hironaka. Hironaka wins a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 x2 and 29-28. Kurt Pellegrino vs. Nate Mohr The fourth fight of the night featured Kurt Pellegrino who is a training partner of the lightweight division's #1 contender Hermes Franca, who was originally slated to fight the undefeated Wander Braga, after their first scheduled bout was cancelled due to Visa issues in October. Unfortuneately, the same Visa issues prevented Braga from fighting Pellegrino again, so Nate Mohr of Cedar Falls, Iowa stepped up to face Pellegrino on short notice. Round 1: Pellegrino scores an early takedown at the start of the fight and worked from the top effectively early in the round. He then quickly sat back with Mohr's leg and secured a submission victory with a tight hold on his ankle, which forced the tap out. Pellegrino wins in the quickest fight of the night via ankle lock at 2:58 of the first round. Keita Nakamura vs. Drew Fickett The fifth fight of the night saw welterweights Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura and Drew "The Master" Fickett square off. Nakamura is a new-comer to the UFC, whom is fighting out of Caol Uno's famed Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tokyo dojo, which is also home to the UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami who fights Mike Swick at UFC 69 on Saturday night. Fickett is a dangerous UFC veteran that holds impressive UFC submission victories over Josh Neer, Josh Koscheck, and Kurt Pellegrino. Round 1: Drew Fickett takes the fight to the canvas early in the opening frame. Fickett lands a brutal right elbow that opens up a cut over Nakamura's left eye. Nakamura works from the bottom and sweeps Fickett. The round ends with Nakamura punching from Fickett's guard. OTM scores the first round 10-9 for Fickett. Round 2: Nakamura is picking Fickett apart on the feet. Fickett is cut under his left eye from a punch. Exchange after exchange, Nakamura is beating Fickett to the punch. The fighters scramble for a takedown from the clinch and Nakamura throws a downward elbow that crushes Fickett. Referee Steve Mazzagatti steps in and takes a point from Nakamura. Fickett takes advantage of a full 5-min. recovery period before scoring a takedown and landing some elbows of his own. OTM scores the round 10-9 for Nakamura, but it stands as 9-9 with the deducted point. Round 3: Fickett came out flying and was able to take the third round with ease. After scoring an early takedown Fickett dove into Nakamura's guard with lunging punches that found their target repeatedly throughout the round. OTM score the round 10-9 for Fickett. The judges score the bout 30-26 and 29-27 x2 for Drew Fickett. Seth Petruzelli vs. Wilson Gouveia The sixth fight of the night pitted American Top Team black-belt Wilson Gouveia against fellow south Florida native Seth Petruzelli. Gouveia who is 1-1 in the UFC was originally slated to fight Hector Ramirez, but due to a Ramirez injury, Petruzelli is stepped up to take his place. Petruzelli is a tough MMA veteran fighting in his second official UFC fight since competing on TUF 2. Round 1: The fighters waste no time at the start of the match, coming out trading punches. Petruzelli is getting the best of the exchanges, but eats several low kicks. Petruzelli lands a right handed "Superman" punch, so Gouveia having already seen enough of Petruzelli's stand-up, takes the fight to the ground with a double-leg takedown. He then scores with punches from Petruzelli's guard for the duration of the round. OTM sees it 10-9 in favor of Gouveia. Round 2: Petruzelli shoots in for a takedown and gets caught with a deep guillotine choke early in the second round. Petruzelli succumed to the choke and tapped out at the 39 second mark of Round 2. The win gave Gouveia an impressive submission victory, which marks his second in a row inside the octagon. Dokonjonosuke Mishima vs. Kenny Florian The seventh fight of the night, which will be the first main event bout and shown on SpikeTV's live television broadcast of UFC Fight Night 9, features a confrontation between two very tough grappling-based lightweight in Kenny "Ken Flo" Florian and Dokonjonosuke Mishima. Kenny is a Boston, Massachusetts native and jiu-jitsu black-belt, who was a finalist on the first season of TUF. His last fight in October was a five round war against Sean Sherk for the vacant UFC Lightweight Title. Kenny lost that decision, but is geared to get back to his winning ways. Mishima is an unorthodox Japanese MMA veteran that brings flare to his fights starting with his charasmatic ring entrances. He holds impressive wins over Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett, Marcus Aurelio, and TUF 5 cast member Robert Emerson. However, in his UFC debut in November, he lost via guillotine choke to Joe Stevenson, so Mishima will be looking to get back in the win column as well. Round 1: Ken Flo comes out displaying a much improved jab. Mishima clinches him and trips Florian down to the mat. Once ON THE MAT Florian moves to a high-guard with an arm trapped. Mishima scrambles to escape and Florian sweeps him beautifully. Mishima briefly tries the rubber guard himself, but Florian backs out unscathed. Mishima figure fours Florian's right leg, but Florian drops some left hands before escaping back up to the feet. Florian roughs Mishima up on the feet, before the round ends. OTM scores the first frame 10-9 for Florian. Round 2: Florian starts Round 2 demonstrating his Muay Thai with a few low kicks and an uppercut. Again, Florian batters Mishima's legs. Mishima slips and Florian follows him back to the canvas. Florian lands some of his patented ginsu elbows from the top of Mishima's half-guard. Florian stands back up and invites Mishima to do the same. Florian lands three crisp snapping left leg low-kicks in a row, before landing a powerful right kick to the body. Mishima looks more and more frustrated. Mishima has enough of Florian's dominant stand-up and gets desperate by pulling guard with an attempted guillotine choke, but the horn sounds to end the round. OTM scores it 10-9 for Florian. Round 3: Mishima shoots and falls, but he quickly recovers and pulls guard. Mishima tries an omoplata, but Florian easily evades. Florian passes to side-control and then to a full mount. Mishima works his way back to guard and sinks a deep kneebar. Florian is close to tapping, but eventually he works out of the dangerous submission hold. Then both fighters trade simultaneous leg submissions. Florian lets go of his leg-lock on Mishima and blasts away with right hands. Mishima rolls over and gives up his back. Florian flattens him out and forces a tap via rear naked choke at 3:57 of the third round. OTM reports seeing Mishima stumble off the stairs as he exited the cage. This marks yet another exciting fight featuring Kenny Florian, which gained him his fourth UFC victory (3 via RNC and 1 via TKO). Justin McCully vs. Antoni Hardonk The eighth fight of the night featured the Dutch kickboxing stud and product of the world-renowned Vos Muay Thai gym Antoni Hardonk and the American MMA veteran from Team Punishment Justin McCully in a heavyweight bout. Hardonk who is fresh off of his devastating UFC debut win over Sherman Pendergarst in November was originally slated to face former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the main event, before Mir suffered an injury during training. McCully who has been fighting since early 1997, including some MMA fights in Hardonk's native Holland stepped up to replace Mir and looks to take advantage of his first shot in the UFC. Round 1: Hardonk started things off with a grazing a head kick in the opening seconds, that got the crowd on their collective feet. McCully then pressed the Dutch fighter up against the cage and tripped Hardonk to take him to the ground where he is more comfortable. McCully lands a solid elbow to the Dutchmen's face. The American postured up and delivered a few more punches. Hardonk attempts an armbar, but it costs him position as McCully then moved to side control. McCully punishes Hardonk for his mistake with more punches and elbows. Hardonk catches a deep, but sloppy armbar. McCully fights it off and escapes, just before the round ends. OTM scores the round 10-9 for McCully. Round 2: McCully starts the second round by tripping Hardonk and took the Dutch fighter back into his element. Hardonk goes for another armbar, but McCully drills him with three punches to the head. Hardonk is bleeding out of his mouth from the punishment. McCully casually sits back in his opponent's closed guard and begins teeing off with punches to the head and body. McCully cruises in the second frame and OTM scores it 10-9 for McCully. Round 3: Hardonk opens up the final stanza with a low-kick and a right hand, but McCully answers with a stiff right hand of his own. McCully is looking fatigued now and Hardonk looks to capitalize by stunnning the American with a knee to the chin and a few blistering punches. McCully takes the fight back to the canvas with a well executed trip. On the ground, McCully passes to side-control, but Hardonk shows nice leg work to get back to his guard. OTM scores the fight 30-27 for Justin McCully. The judges agree with 30-27 x 3 earning McCully the unanimous decision. Joe Stevenson vs. Melvin Guillard The ninth and final fight of the evening was tha main event pitting fellow cast members of TUF two against each other in Joe "Daddy" Stevenson vs. Melvin "Young Assassin" Guillard. Since participating on the show, these two men have taken similar paths. Stevenson fighting out of Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai Academy who won the TUF 2 welterweight crown, has been dominating his opponents since dropping down to his natural 155 lb. weight class, after the UFC reinstalled the lightweight division last year. He TKO'd a world-class fighter in Yves Edwards last July and made short work of Japanese star Dokonjonosuke Mishima by submitting him with a first round guillotine choke in November. Fighting out of Team Punishment, Guillard much like Stevenson has experienced success after dropping down to 155, winning his last two fights over Rick Davis and TUF 5 participant Gabe Ruediger via KO. Their has been a lot of smack talk leading up to this main event fight and the crowd was definitely amped and on their feet. Round 1: Stevenson wasted no time by briefly dropping and perhaps surprising Guillard with a punch. Stevenson then took Guillard into his element with a takedown, but Guillard quickly rushed back to his feet. During the scramble, Stevenson locked up an asphyxiating guillotine choke that forced Guillard to tap out less than a minute into the first frame. The official time of the bout is a brief 27 seconds as Stevenson settled the grudge match in dramatic and dominating fashion.