UFC 131 Undercard Live Blog: Soszynksi vs. Massenzio, Ring vs. Head, More

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – This is the UFC 131 live blog for all five preliminary bouts in support of tonight's UFC pay-per-view at the Rogers Arena.

The undercard bouts are Michihiro Omigawa vs. Darren Elkins, Joey Beltran vs. Aaron Rosa, Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young, Nick Ring vs. James Head and Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Mike Massenzio.

The live blog is below.



Michihiro Omigawa vs. Darren Elkins

Round 1: A very calm Omigawa walks to the center of the cage with his hands down low. They feel each other out with punches from far out. Omigawa has the better head movement early, but Elkins is outworking him with punch combos. Good lead left hook from Omigawa jacks Elkins' jaw. Elkins comes back moments later with a hard right hand that backs Omigawa up. Elkins clips Omigawa behind the ear and makes his legs go shaky for a second. Omigawa leaps in and Elkins takes him down, but is forced to relinquish top position when Omigawa looks for a heel hook. Very active first round by both men. Omigawa looks to be loading up for one big punch, and Elkins corner implores him to get off before the Japanese fighter can throw. Elkins is landing more punches, but a lot of them look like arm punches. He gets after Omigawa in the final twenty seconds and has him reeling a bit before the horn. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Elkins.

Round 2:
Omigawa starts the second much more aggressively, chasing Elkins across the cage with punches. Elkins corner assures him that Omigawa can't keep it up the whole round. Almost on cue, Omigawa's pace slows. Elkins tags Omigawa, but it's Elkins who seems to be cut around his right eye. Elkins backs Omigawa against the fence and throws a combo, but Omigawa slips most of the punches and fires back one of his own that connects. Omigawa throws a left hook and Elkins beats him with a right hand counter. Good right hand by Omigawa. Elkins unloads a flurry in response, with Omigawa avoiding most of the blows. Omigawa ducks under a punch and lands a nice right. Elkins dives for an awkward takedown, but it's not even close. Omigawa is the fresher, less damaged fighter at the end of two. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Omigawa.

Round 3:
They touch it up to start the final frame and the crowd cheers their efforts so far. Omigawa wastes little time getting a takedown. Elkins thinks about a guillotine, but it isn't there. Omigawa goes to work with some nice elbows in Elkins' guard. Elkins thinks about a triangle/armbar combo, but Omigawa escapes and looks to pass. In the process, Elkins scrambles and tries to take top position before they eventually work back to their feet. Elkins' face is a bloody mess now. Omigawa is still bobbing and weaving well, while Elkins might have tired a bit. Neither man is terribly active in the final thirty seconds, but the crowd cheers them anyway. Good first fight. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Omigawa.

Darren Elkins def. Michihiro Omigawa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).

The crowd is...not pleased.

Joey Beltran vs.
Aaron Rosa

Round 1:
These are two tough heavyweights, but let's just say they won't be featured in the 'Men of the UFC' calendar with these physiques. They trade punches early and Beltran moves in for the clinch against the fence. Rosa tries to get away and eats a left hand from Beltran before ending up right back in the same place. Rosa fires off some knees, but Beltran is keeping the pressure on. Beltran backs up to throw, and they both unload at once in true Rock-em Sock-em robots style. Much like Don Frye-Takayama, it just keeps going. They both connected with a few, but neither man seems particularly fazed. Beltran starts working the leg kicks, then ends up back in the clinch. Rosa has spent a troubling amount of time in this round with his back on the fence. The big men are hammering away at each other in close. Ten second warning, and it's Rock-em Sock-em time again. The referee almost got himself clipped trying to get in there at the horn. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Beltran.

Round 2:
Rosa comes out throwing hard to start the round, perhaps sensing that he let Beltran dictate too much of the action in round one. Beltran backs him up and uses the low kick to distract him before opening up with a big punch combo that pops Rosa's head back. After extricating themselves from the clinch, Rosa hammers Beltran with a nice right hand. Beltran looks to be loading up for a right, but Rosa stops him with a knee in the Thai clinch. Beltran presses forward, and it's not exactly the most technical display of striking, but they are getting after it. Beltran grabs a Thai clinch of his own and launches a knee straight into Rosa's groin. As Rosa is crumpling up in agony, Beltran adds another to the head. We'll pause while Rosa recovers and Beltran thinks about what he's done. Rosa doesn't take the full five minutes to recover (who ever does?), and on the restart he comes after Beltran like an angry bull. Rosa's putting it on Beltran, but then he lands a knee to the pills of his own. The ref stops them and Rosa seems to think Beltran is crying wolf. Replay confirms otherwise. The ref gives them both a talking to about this nonsense before starting them up again. They end the round in the clinch, with Beltran landing a right hand after the horn. The ref follows him to his corner with a warning. This is on the verge of getting nasty. MMA Fighting scores it 10-10.

Round 3:
They go right back to brawling to start the third, and Rosa tries a reaching takedown attempt that's more hope than technique. Beltran ties him up in the clinch and lands some hard knees from a front headlock position. Rosa goes to a knee and Beltran hammers him with lefts. The ref is taking a hard look at it, and Rosa gets up eating leather all the way. The crowd applauds his resolve, but Beltran puts him on his back and smashes him with hammer fists from the top. Rosa is just covering up now, and the ref stops it. Both men look exhausted. Beltran gets up, then collapses to his knees as his corner barks their congratulations.

Joey Beltran def. Aaron Rosa via TKO (punches) at 1:26 of round three.

Dustin Poirier vs.
Jason Young

Round 1:
They feel each other out for a second or two, then decide they've had enough of that and go right to banging on each other with leg kicks and crisp, straight punches. After that initial furious exchange, they slow things down in the clinch. Young overcommits on a punch and misses, giving Poirer the opportunity to get a few good shots in. They get into a contest of 'whatever you can do, I can do better.' Young throws a leg kick, and Poirer comes back with one. Young tries a jumping knee, and so does Poirer. Nice right hand by Poirer backs Young up. Leg kick by Poirer, and Young falls down off a head kick attempt. Young appears to be cut somewhere around his left eye. One more spirited exchange ends the round. Close one. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Poirer.

Round 2:
It's back to dueling leg kicks to start the second, followed by a jumping high kick from Young that's blocked. A leg kick from Poirer finds its way into Young's groin. McCarthy warns him during a brief stoppage. Poirer backs Young against the fence, but Young keeps him at bay with sharp leg kicks. Young comes forward with a combination, then slips in a nice uppercut when Poirer goes to cover up. Young lands a leg kick that gets up in the groin area, but they reach a gentleman's agreement to not make a big deal out of it. Jumping knee attempt by Young, by Poirer defends and then unloads. Another fast-paced exchange in the final thirty seconds, and Young gets the worst of it. Poirer tries to steal the round with a takedown in the final seconds, but it might not be enough. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Young.

Round 3:
Poirer paws with the right hand jab, and Young tries to come over the top of it with a right of his own. Good right from Poirer, but his attempt to get a Thai clinch fails, so he tries to transition into a double-leg. Young defends well, but Poirer keeps at it and pins him against the fence. The crowd uses this lull in the action to get a 'Go, Canucks, Go' chant going. It's been a popular refrain around these parts lately. Poirer continues digging for the takedown, and finally gets it off a leg trip, though he doesn't land in a great position to do much with it. Young keeps driving elbows into his ribs and back as he tries to wall-walk up the fence. Young gets back to his feet just in time for Poirer to sit him back down, but that takedown is also short-lived. Nice little suplex by Poirer gets Young on his back and away from the fence, but time is up. This is going to be interesting. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Poirer.

Dustin Poirer def. Jason Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Nick Ring vs.
James Head

Round 1:
Ring uses leg and body kicks to keep Head at a distance early. Head keeps trying to get inside, but when he does Ring grabs the Thai clinch and slams a few knees home. Takedown by Ring and he quickly moves to side control. Ring goes to north-south, then Head spins to recover open guard and soon works back to his feet. Ring leans in with a left and Head nails him with a right hand that wobbles him. Ring goes down and Head follows up, but Ring recovers quickly. Ring back up, but he doesn't look like he's all there. Head senses this too and goes to work with right hands and knees. Ring stems the tide with a good body kick, but he's still shaky. Takedown by Ring in the final minute, and he ends the round on top. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Head.

Round 2:
Ring tosses out a couple kicks then reaches for a takedown that he gets, despite Head's best attempt to roll him in transition. Ring thinks about targeting Head's arm from side control, but gives it up and moves to north-south. Head gets half-guard and Ring stands up out of it to try some punches from the top. Head scrambles up and Ring gets right back after him, securing another takedown moments later. Ring postures up and lands some nice punches and elbows. Head is hurt and bloodied. He rolls and turtles up, then gets up with Ring on his back, sans hooks. Head flips Ring over his head, but loses the top position in the ensuing scramble. Head's face is a mess and referee Herb Dean lets the doctor have a look. Everything's fine there, so Head is put back on bottom and the action resumes. Ring wastes no time looking to cut him up some more with those elbows. Ring beats up on Head's body from side control and north-south in the final seconds. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Ring.

Round 3:
Ring goes right back on the attack, with the sliced-up Head circling away. Another takedown by Ring. Head has had no defense for that at all tonight. Ring postures up and throws, then stands up out of the guard and targets the body. Head rolls and turtles up before going back to half-guard. He seems focused more on survival than victory right now. Ring gets to side control and then north-south, keeping the pressure on with those elbows. Head rolls and looks for a leg, but Ring is just a little too strong and little more athletic. Ring gets to the back and slips in a rear naked choke. With as bloody as Head is, it slides in easily. Head has no defense, and is forced to tap.

Nick Ring def. James Head via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:33 of round 3.

Krzysztof Soszynski vs.
Mike Massenzio

Round 1:
Sozynski goes right on the attack and Massenzio unsurprisingly tries for a takedown. Soszynski avoids it, but finds himself in the clinch against the fence moments later, right where he likely doesn't want to be. Massenzio ducks under a Soszynski punch and gets the double-leg, but Soszynski is up quickly. Soszynski is doing more feinting than punching right now, perhaps a little too wary of the takedown. Soszynski backs Massenzio against the cage and throws, but Massenzio ducks under again. Soszynski stuffs him, making sure that size advantage comes in handy against a guy who weighed in at only 203. Soszynski lands a nice right uppercut, then a body kick moments later, but Massenzio times it well and puts him down. Again though, Massenzio just can't keep the bigger man down. Good left hand by Soszynski stuns Massenzio in the final thirty seconds. Massenzio shoots, but Soszynski sprawls out well before the round ends. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Soszynski.

Round 2:
No surprise, Massenzio is right back to looking for the takedown early in the round. His rate of success with them isn't bad so far, but even when he gets Soszynski down he can't keep him there for more than a few seconds. Soszynski stops this one and does a little work on Massenzio's body, but Massenzio seems content to get wrist control and stall for now. Massenzio looks to be cut above his right eye. The takedown attempts are coming like clockwork, but Soszynski stops two in a row without much trouble. Another takedown attempt from Massenzio and Soszynski tries a nifty little stepover to get out of trouble, but Massenzio keeps him pinned against the fence. Yet another Massenzio takedown attempt is stuffed, and Soszynski stings him with a nice 1-2 in the final ten seconds. The round ends with -- you guessed it -- a failed takedown attempt by Massenzio. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Soszynski.

Round 3: Massenzio's takedown campaign continues in the third, but Soszynski is getting better at stuffing them. He briefly takes Massenzio's back, then gets top position in Massenzio's guard. Massenzio rolls to his knees and controls one wrist, content to let Soszynski elbow away at his ribs. Soszynski goes to work with some knees to the body, and that gets the crowd back into it. Massenzio is motionless as his corner implores him to "dig deep" and "get your a-- up." Carrying the bigger man's weight -- plus all the energy expended shooting for one takedown after another -- seems to have left him spent. Soszynski tries for a choke and gives up his position, allowing Massenzio to get to his feet. They disengage in the final minute, and that's time enough for three more failed takedown attempts from Massenzio. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Soszynski.

Krzysztof Soszynski def. Mike Massenzio via unanimous decision. (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Soszynski apologizes for his performance in the post-fight interview, explaining that he'd trained for a jiu-jitsu specialist and not a wrestler.



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