This is the UFC on FUEL live blog for Aaron Simpson vs. Ronny Markes, the main event of tonight's UFC card from the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha.
Simpson (11-2) won all three of his fights in 2011, defeating Mario Miranda, Brad Tavares and Eric Schafer. Markes (12-1) won his UFC debut last August by outpointing Karlos Vemola.
The live blog begins below.
Round 1: Markes staggers Simpson quickly with a left hook, and goes low for his legs. Simpson stops the takedown try as they clinch against the fence. They stalemate and get reset. Markes lands a pair of leg kicks as the two measure each other offensively. Markes lands a long right hand out of a combination. Simpson lands a harder punch, an uppercut and Markes goes down. Simpson swarms with strikes from the top. Markes takes a beating but hangs in. Simpson stands over him and throws strikes, but Markes creates enough space to stop the worst strikes from landing. Simpson lets Markes up, and Markes fires off and they exchange. Simpson gets the better of that as well, and takes the round 10-9.
Round 2: Simpson drills Markes out of the break. Despite a size advantage, Markes seems to be at a disadvantage when it comes to pure power. They clinch but neither can take control of the position. Back to the center, and another clinch ensues. Markes with elbows from there. Markes surprisingly takes Simpson down. Markes with punches from the top. Simpson gets back to his feet but Markes works a few knees from the clinch as the round ends. Markes may have stolen the round with his groundwork, 10-9.
Round 3: Fight could be up for grabs here in the final round. Markes still working the legs with kicks, and Simpson has a nice red welt on his left leg as proof. A grueling clinch against the fence as we near the midway point. Markes moving forward now and initiates another clinch against the fence. Foot stomps and knees to the thigh from Markes for a few seconds until the ref breaks them up. Simpson comes out firing and Markes counters with a knee. Simpson tries a takedown, but it's stuffed. Simpson slipped on a right hand and ended up on the ground. He got up but Markes was on his back and took him down with :25 left. Markes didn't do much with the position but might have snuck out the round again. 10-9 Markes.
Winner: Ronny Markes via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)