The live card begins below.
Wachovia Center is nearly full as the opening bout of the undercard begins. Philly is ready to see some fights. As such, Danillo Villefort probably gets the loudest cheer of his life as he's lucky enough to be the first fighter to enter the arena.
Jesse Lennox vs. Danillo Villefort
Round one: First boo took all of 12 seconds as the fighters circled. Lennox tried a takedown but Villefort grabbed the top of the railing and stayed upright. He then took Lennox down and landed a series of overhand rights. Villefort followed him to the ground by Lennox returned to his feet. Lennox caught a Villefort kick and took him down, but didn't follow him there. Villefort then landed a spinning back kick to the crowd's delight. With about 10 seconds left, Villefort hit another spinning back kick. Lennox got a takedown as the round ended. FanHouse scores the round for Villefort, 10-9.
Round two: Lennox landed a hard left hook a minute in, then connected with a flurry. Lennox starting to get the better of the standup, and hurt Villefort with a hook. Villefort went to his back, hoping to bait Lennox to the ground, but Lennox let him back up. Villefort looks to be tiring. Lennox landed a straight right that put Villefort down, then landed a few more shots. Lennox again let him up. Crowd is eating up the exchanges. FanHouse scores the round for Lennox, 10-9.
Round three: Lennox rocked Villefort early again, and he fell to his back. Again, Lennox didn't want to engage him on the ground and let him stand. Villefort is tough, though, goading him. Lennox hurt him again with a straight right/left hook combo. Villefort circles away. Villefort tries to take him down, and Lennox ends up with the takedown. This time, he stays on the ground in Villefort's guard. Dangerous. Villefort tries an arm bar. Lennox defends for 45 seconds, then just as it seems Villefort is going to get the submission, Lennox spins out and the crowd explodes. On the break, the ref calls timeout to look at Villefort's cut, and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Jesse Lennox via TKO (cut stoppage)
George Roop vs. George Sotiropoulos
Round one: Roop missed a takedown try and because he was off-balance, Sotiropoulos was able to take him down. He quickly worked to side control and then full mount. Roop took little damage and was able to reverse position and work his way out. Sotiropoulos landed a hard left hook, but Roop shook his head as if it didn't hurt him. With two minutes left, Sotiropoulos dragged him down. He again moved to side control, then took his back with 45 sconds left. Sotiropoulos lost his hook and Roop escaped. Good grappling. FanHouse scores the round for Sotiropoulos, 10-9.
Round two: Sotiropoulos took him down and quickly worked to mount. As he postured up for punches, Roop bucked him and regained guard temporarily. Sotiropoulos moved to side control and in a flash secured a kimura for the win.
Winner: George Sotiropoulos via kimura submission.
Matt Riddle vs. Dan Cramer
Round one: Significant size differential to the naked eye, as Riddle is much bigger. Riddle tried a takedown and slipped. Cramer got his back. Cramer tried the takedown and eventually got it, but Riddle got back to his feet immediately. Riddle went for a takedown and Cramer tried a guillotine with one arm in. Riddle worked his way out with 2:30 left to a big pop from the crowd. Riddle works from his back with a few punches as Cramer gets upright. Big right from Cramer on the break. Close round but FanHouse scores it for Riddle 10-9.
Round two: Riddle gets an early takedown but isn't able to do much with the position. After a minute, he takes Cramer's back and scores with a few hammerfists that seem to hurt Cramer. Riddle is controlling the action on the ground but not doing much damage. With 45 seconds left, Riddle tries a rear naked choke, but can't cinch it. FanHouse scores the round for Riddle, 10-9.
Round three: Cramer lands a hard right and Riddle lands a left kick at the same time. Riddle slips down and Cramer gets top position. Riddle tries an arm bar, then slips out and reverses position. He gets side control and thuds some knees into Cramer's ribs. Riddle bloodies Cramer's left eye with an elbow. More hard elbows. With 1:40 left, Riddle gets mount and smashes him with a few punches. Cramer is super-tough but will need a miracle in the last minute. It doesn't come. Cramer mauls him until the closing bell. FanHouse scores the round for Riddle, 10-9, and he should win a decision.
Winner: Matt Riddle by decision
Thales Leites vs. Alessio Sakara
Round one: Leites, not surprisingly, tries the takedown early, but Sakara stuffs it. Leites gets a takedown at 3:00, but trips and Sakara escapes back to his feet. Unlike his last match against Anderson Silva, Leites is pushing most of the action. Crowd booing, but it's not Leites' fault. FanHouse scores the round for Leites 10-9.
Round two: Leites gets the takedown 30 seconds into the round. Leites tries to take his back, Sakara rolls into him and then gets upright. Leites timed a Sakara elbow perfectly, ducked levels and took him down again. Again, Sakara escapes. Sakara lands a punch and Leites falls to his back, but was likely just trying to draw Sakara in. Sakara follows him down for a second, but then gets back to his feet. Leites scores another takedown with a minute left. Leites mounts briefly but Sakara bucks him off. Leites gets mount again. Leites lands a few elbows as time runs out. FanHouse scores the round for Leites 10-9.
Round three: Sakara still defensive despite likely being behind on scorecards. Crowd gets restless as Sakara shurgs off a takedown try. Sakara's strategy seems to be move in, land a punch, get back out, but it's not making for compelling theater. Leites is the one moving action forward. Ref calls time and warns the fighters to engage. That's rare. Leites immediately takes him down, takes his back. Sakara bucks him off again, then lets Leites up. FanHouse scores the round for Leites 10-9 though I can see a case for a 10-10.
Winner: Alessio Sakara via split-decision (one judge scored it 30-27 Leites, two scored in 29-28 Sakara).
Tamdan McCrory vs. John Howard
Round one: McCrory lands eary flurry, goes for guillotine. Howard escapes. Howard's haircut rules; flames cut into his hair. Anyway, McCrory uses an omo plata to get up, then lands a knee in the clinch. McCrory has a huge reach advantage here. He's 6-4, Howard is 5-7. Together they look they can be a buddy-cop movie. McCrory gets the takedown. Howard gets up. McCrory tries a flying triangle. Howard dumps him down. Howard not able to do much with the position, and the ref stands them up with 20 seconds to go. FanHouse scores the round for McCrory 10-9.
Round two: Howard gets an early takedown. Again, not able to do much and he backs out. Back to standup momentarily, until Howard takes him down again. Howard tried the d'arce, had it tight for a second, but McCrory wriggled free. McCrory ended up on top and tries to mount but Howard breaks free. McCrory lands a hard knee from the clinch, but Howard dumps him down again. Howard's having a tough time dealing with McCrory's length, but he's hanging tough. FanHouse scores the round for Howard 10-9.
Round three: Howard with another takedown early. He isn't able to score any offense from inside. The two stand again. McCrory hits a throw takedown but Howard somehow ends up on top. Howard lands his best punch of the fight with a right diving into McCrory's guard. Back to their feet, Howard hits an impressive single leg slam takedown. McCrory's inability to stop the takedown may lose him the match. McCrory reverses with 30 seconds left. FanHouse scores the round for Howard 10-9.
Winner: John Howard by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Shane Nelson vs. Aaron Riley
Round one: Riley landed a hard left early. A few seconds later, another. Nelson went down but it was hard to tell if he tripped or it was a delayed reaction to the punch. Either way, he recovered quickly. the two spent the majority of the round in standup with neither landing particularly much. FanHouse calls the round a 10-10 draw.
Round two: The two southpaws continued to stifle each other, but Riley began landing more frequently and pushing the action. Midway through the round, he used a strong knee to the body, then scores a takedown. Unable to advance position or land, the referee breaks up the action. By virtue of controlling the action and landing the few solid strikes, FanHouse scores the round for Riley 10-9.
Round three: Riley scored a takedown early in the round and worked Nelson over from the top for almost the duration of the round. A fight broke out in section 103 that stole the crowd's attention for at least a minute. How dumb to get booted before Silva-Griffin and Penn-Florian. Anyhow, FanHouse scores the round and fight for Riley.
Winner: Riley by unanimous decision