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UFC Fight Night 15 Review: Diaz wins split decision

UFC Fight Night 15 came to us all live for the first time from the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska on September 17, 2008. The bottom line is that these Fight Night installments have not only given us a glimpse of up and coming fighters; they have also offered us some flat out awesome bouts.

Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida, anyone?

So as this installment of Fight Night came upon us, the question was obvious. Was there another fight like that one on this card?

Keep reading to find out.

"I'm in my hometown. I'm in my own element," said Houston Alexander before taking on Eric Schafer in the first televised bout of the night. Of course, we've seen many MMA fighters fall in their hometowns before. So would it be a blessing or curse for Alexander? Early on, Alexander did a good job of connecting with powerful knees that were awful close to hitting a downed opponent. After finding himself on top of Schafer on the ground and executing some solid ground and pound along the way, Alexander chose to rise to his feet, warded off some takedown attempts, and won the dirty boxing/ clinch game for a period of time. But after a separation, Schafer took Alexander down and immediately took side control. Alexander found the strength to turn Schafer over, even if he almost got caught in a guillotine for his efforts.

Unfortunately for him, getting out of the choke caused him to get mounted and pounded on with elbows and punches. There was no quit in Alexander, as he continually blocked strike after strike.

But then Schafer grabbed an arm and from that position forced Alexander to tap via an arm triangle at 4:53 of round one.

Next up was a match between Ed Herman and Alan Belcher. "I want to go and show Alan Belcher's back," said Belcher beforehand. Of course, Herman had other plans. "I wanna beat on him; I want to hurt him; I don't really like him."

Not much else to say. So let's get to the fight.

For the majority of the first round, Belcher pounded away in spots at his opponent inside with knees in the clinch, nice kicks from a distance, and smart punches. But just past the halfway mark, Herman hit home with a nice uppercut and later took his opponent down. Though Belcher got up, Herman once again took him down and began looking for the D'Arce choke. But it didn't happen.

Then came the bell. That was a close round. Give it to Belcher, but don't be surprised if a judge or two out there doesn't.

Early in the second, Belcher really began to connect with some hard punches, including a huge right that sent Herman into the Octagon wall. But somehow Herman survived and kept coming forward, beginning to hit home with some of his own punches, even if Belcher was doing more damage still. But then Herman caught one of the Belcher's legs after a kick attempt and used it to take him down and start in with some ground and pound just past the two minute mark. However, about a minute later Belcher got to his feet and outdid his adversary from an upright position for the rest of the round.

This was another close stanza. I gave it to Belcher. Herman may need a stoppage to win.

After some messing around on the feet, Herman finally got another takedown in the third stanza. Up against the fence, Herman started connecting while looking to improve his position, but Belcher managed to get up again. But with less than 40 seconds left Herman took Belcher down again where he successfully mounted him and began pounding away while looking, unsuccessfully, for a submission.

That round was Herman's. The question is, did he take either of the first two close rounds?

Answer: Only on one of the judge's scorecards.

Alan Belcher wins via majority decision.

"When I get on top of him, he's gonna feel the strength and the power? elbows in his face. I'm gonna drag him into deep water and let's see if he can survive," said the always exciting Clay Guida before taking on former TUF Champion Mac Danzig. Then he furthered things by saying, "he's never seen an animal like me."

Maybe si, maybe no. There's only one way to find out.

The bottom line on the first round was Clay Guida's three takedowns, two of which were slams. Though Danzig did a very good job of defending while on his back and outdid his opponent while on his feet, the takedowns and brief moment of solid ground and pound probably netted Guida the stanza.

The second saw Guida once again take Danzig down on several occasions. What's more, he won much of the stand up battle due to the ridiculous pace he set, leaving his adversary on the defensive constantly. Finally, Guida even took Danzig's back for a moment at the tail end of the round.

Clay Guida took the second round for sure, probably leaving Danzig needing a stoppage to win.

The third saw Guida crowd Danzig early. He got hit in there, however, and nearly got caught with an armbar. But then Guida got out, pounded away at Danzig for a few moments, and was once again looking for a leg to take him down with again.

Clay Guida just sets a ridiculous pace.

Guida once again secured another takedown and executed some ground and pound. Though Danzig got back up for a moment, seconds later he was back on the canvas again.

In the end, Danzig got up only to get put on the ground once more before Guida threw a monstrous flurry at him to end things.

A clear victory for Guida. If he isn't one of the top five most exciting MMA fighters in the land, someone's got to tell me what four guys are ahead of him.

Clay Guida wins via unanimous decision.

"Expect when that bell rings that I'm coming hard," said Nate Diaz before taking on Josh Neer in the main event of the night. "I'm gonna win this fight and just keep on winning after that."

Of course, Neer wasn't just some up and comer. This is a guy with serious experience, people.

Early on, Neer caught Diaz with some shots and managed a strong takedown followed by some nice positioning. But later in the stanza, Diaz connected with some strong strikes and came up with a great throw followed by some nice ground and pound of his own. Near the end of the round, Diaz stepped over his adversary's leg and took Neer's back before losing the position. Though this round started off well for Neer, it ended up in Diaz's favor.

The second round saw both fighters trade takedowns and strikes. Still, Neer did more damage than Diaz when he was on top. Further, he connected with some nice up kicks when he was on his back.

Give the second stanza to Diaz as well.

The third and final round saw a determined Nate Diaz take Neer down repeatedly. There he ground and pounded his opponent, took his back at one point, and even mounted him. Though Neer continually got out of trouble, the fact that he was in trouble didn't bode well.

The third round went to Nate Diaz, and so did the fight.

Interestingly, not all of the judges agreed. Still, Diaz wins via majority decision.

In the end, this installment of UFC Fight Night turned in a solid night of fights. The Diaz- Neer fight was more than solid, as was the Danzig- Guida bout. Herman- Belcher was entertaining as well. Unfortunately for Houston Alexander, the hometown dream fight didn't work out but it was fun to watch while it lasted.

Official Results:

Fight of the Night: Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer
Knockout of the Night: Alessio Sakara
Submission of the Night: Wilson Gouveia

1. Dan Miller def. Rob Kimmons via sub (RNC) - R1 (1:27)
2. Mike Massenzio def. Drew McFedries via sub (kimura) - R1 (1:28)
3. Jason Brilz def. Brad Morris via TKO (strikes) - R2 (2:54)
4. Joe Lauzon def. Kyle Bradley via TKO (strikes) - R2 (1:34)
5. Wilson Gouveia def. Ryan Jensen via sub (armbar) - R2 (2:04)
6. Alessio Sakara def. Joe Vedepo via KO (head kick) - R1 (1:27)
7. Eric "Red" Schafer def. Houston Alexander via sub (arm-triangle choke) - R1 (4:53)
8. Alan Belcher def. Ed Herman via split decision
9. Clay Guida def. Mac Danzig via unanimous decision
10. Nate Diaz def. Josh Neer via split decision