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TUF 12 Finale Undercard Live Blog: Wilkinson vs. McKenzie, More

LAS VEGAS – This is "The Ultimate Fighter" Finale live blog for the six preliminary card bouts of tonight's event at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas.

The six unaired fights are Aaron Wilkinson vs. Cody McKenzie; Ian Loveland vs. Tyler Toner; Kyle Watson vs. Sako Chivitchian; Nick Pace vs. Will Campuzano; Pablo Garza vs. Fredson Paixao; and David Branch vs. Rich Attonito.

The live blog is below.

David Branch vs. Rich Attonito
Round 1: We touch 'em up and we're underway with the night's first bout. Branch choots, but Attonito ties him up. They trade positions clinched against the fence as Branch tries to work a knee. They break and head back to the middle as Branch circles on the outside. He again looks for a shoot, but is pushed off. They trade the first significant strikes of the bouth 90 seconds in, each landing a jab. Attonito looks to go to the ground, but Branch gets top position and works elbows from half guard. Branch briefly looks for a D'Arce choke, but can't secure it. A quick ground scramble has Branch looking for Attonito's back, but quickly settling back to half guard. Attonito tries to push off to avoid Branch's strikes. Attonito gets back to his feet and Branch looks for a guillotine unsuccessfully. Back down, Branch nearly gets to mount. But Attonito forces things back to the feet with about 25 seconds left and Branch ties him up to end the round. It's a pretty clear 10-9 round for Branch on the MMA Fighting card.

Round 2: Pretty thin crowd so far, but it's a Vegas show, after all. The air horn is clearly louder in a 1,500-seat theater than a stadium. Attonito takes the center as we start Round 2 and he manages to land a few shots in a dirty box session while Branch looks for knees. They clinch again 30 seconds in, and we see little action with both guys trying to trade positions. Attonito has on hook in and lands a few body shots with his back against the cage. Branch continues to look for knees. Attonito drops to his butt and tries to get a guillotine, but Branch pops right back up and clinches around Attonito's waist. Branch again looks for a throw, but it's not happening. They scramble Branch again winds up on top, this time in side control. Not much happening, though Branch does try to work a little ground and pound. MMA Fighting gives the round to Branch 10-9.

Round 3: Last round, and Attonito's corner has to know he's down a couple rounds. He takes the center, and Branch shoots him right in the gut. Attonito looks like he is instantly winded from the shot and Branch uses the momentary takedown to tie Attonito up again, looking for his back. He soon scores another takedown and Attonito is forced back into guard with Branch looking for elbows up top. Branch gets to half guard, and soon takes Attonito's back. He looks for the rear naked choke, but Attonito staves it off for now. Attonito rolls to avoid it and eats a few shots to the face for his efforts. With 90 seconds left, Branch is looking to end it. Attonito tries to shake Branch off, and does eventually. But he can't land a knockout shot on the break and Branch ties things up. That's how we'll end. MMA Fighting has it 10-9 for Branch and the fight for him 30-27.
Result: David Branch def. Rich Attonito via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Pablo Garza vs. Fredson Paixao
This is the first official featherweight fight in UFC history. The first televised 145-pound bout will open the main card on Spike at 9 p.m. Eastern. Should be fun to see the smaller guys in the bigger cage for the first time as UFC fighters.
Round 1: Quick kick from Garza is checked by Paixao. Garza, significantly taller (he's a former hoops player – is looking for a big shot. And BAM. He gets it. He throws a flying left knee that absolutely obliterates Paixao. He's down instantly. The ringside doctors are already calling for the neck collar and stretcher for him. For the record, Gaza landed a couple shots from on top. They're now giving Paixao some oxygen. He's breathing, but he's clearly completely out of it. Very scary situation. Paixao is down on the canvas for close to 10 minutes before he finally is able to get to his feet and is helped out of the cage, then loaded onto a stretcher. "I honestly didn't even see the replay," Garza tells Joe Rogan after Paixao is out of the cage. "I looked up and it was done. Instinct, I guess. I respected his ground game so much. I can't say enough about how good his jiu-jitsu is. The game plan was to move, move, move. I just threw it, and it landed."
Result: Pablo Garza def. Fredson Paixao via knockout, 0:51 Round 1

Nick Pace
vs. Will Campuzano
Round 1: Quick kicks from Pace. Campuzano answers with some of his own and a 1-2. Quick exchange forces Pace to tie things up, and then he secures a takedown against the cage. Pace looking to pass. And for the record, Campuzano's corner refers to him as "William." Very official-sounding. And "William" finally is able to wall-walk his way back up. But Pace gets another takedown and works from the top in half guard. Pace again doing what he wants in the ground game, and he looks to move Campuzano around to take his back. He finally gets up, but Pace keeps him tied up. He lands another big takedown for good measure to end the round, which MMA Fighting gives to him 10-9.

Round 2: Campuzano checks a kick from Pace, then answers with a 1-2. He catches a kick and sticks a jab. Then a left. Campuzano clearly trying to be more active in the striking department to create enough distance to keep Pace from taking him down. And he lands a right, then a knee, then another right. Pace ties him up. Campuzano looks for a standing armbar, but Pace takes him down again. Not much happening from Pace's end, and Campuzano wall-walks back to his feet. But it's more of the same there, with Pace tying things up, then landing the soft takedown and holding tight. Campuzano again gets back up and this time he lands a takedown of his own. He lands a couple nice strikes just before the horn – and with the activity early on, the late little burst and Pace doing very little once he landed his takedowns, MMA Fighting is going to give Round 2 to Campuzano.

Round 3: VERY interesting. Pace looks to touch gloves for the final round, and not only does Campuzano shrug it off, he fires one right into Pace's face and we start trading a few wild bombs. An interesting display, and one can only figure Campuzano had grown tired of being held down much of the fight. Neither fighter stands out in the few exchanges, though, and Pace soon gets a takedown. But with him doing nothing there, Campuzano scrambles and reverses position to get on top. He lands a few strikes from there, then an elbow. Pace covers up in guard as Campuzano throws strikes. Pace pushes him off with his feet, but Campuzano reels back and lands a big left from on top. Pace is working for an omoplata, but Campuzano slips out and lands another shot from up top. He tries to throw more stirkes but he lands right into a triangle attempt. After 30 seconds of maneuvering trying to get out, Campuzano taps. It's not quite a triangle – it's a modified something-or-other, but it worked. Joe Rogan doesn't know what it is. No one at press row knows what it is, including a BJJ black belt. It appears to be something Pace invented, and he and Rogan name it "The Pace Choke." It's a leg over the top, a forearm on the neck, and it worked.
Result: Nick Pace def. Will Campuzano via submission, 4:33 Round 3

Kyle Watson vs. Sako Chivitchian
Here's our first TUF 12 fight of the night, with quarterfinalists squaring off. Watson is Matt Hughes' BJJ coach at the H.I.T. Squad in Granite City, Ill. Chivitchian is a judo ace. This should be an interesting style clash to say the least.
Round 1: Traded jabs with nothing much landing, and then a clinch. Not much happening as they trade positions. Watson loos for knees and lands a couple. They split and Watson lands a kick. Chivitchian ties him up and looks a trip. Chivitchian is getting some moral support from Phil Baroni, who is in the front row cageside. But Watson moves things around and lands a takedown. Back up, Chivitchian, though, lands a few decent strikes, and then an elbow. A nice kick from Watson follows, then a jab, then a shoot, then a takedown. Chivitchian is on his knees, back on teh cage, looking to wall walk when Watson lands three straight short elbows. They break, and Chivitchian lands a couple strikes that back Watson up. With 20 seconds left, Chivitchian ties things up. It's a tough round to score, but based on the striking MMA Fighting will give a very close one to Chivitchian, 10-9.

Round 2: Chivitchian landsa right that has Watson reaching for his eye, but Watson answers with a couple strikes and a kick. Another tie-up from Chivitchian, where Watson looks for a knee. They split again one minute in. Watson moves in, and Chivitchian circles out. They dance a little bit, and after a clinch Chivitchian throws a right right hick that is partially blocked by Watson. Nice left jab from Chivitchian. A close-range scramble has Watson throwing a knee, but it catches low and Chivitchian gets some time to think about how much it hurts to get kneed in the lower abdominal area. We start back up with about 1:20 left in the round, and Watson lands a nice kick to the body. Chivitchian answers with a high kick that misses, and then another clinch. Watson reverses it and lands a right on the way out. But Chivitchian reverses it back, and they take turns looking for position. It's another very tight round to score. MMA Fighting will again give it to Chivitchian, 10-9. But let's just all be thankful we're not judging this fight for real – 'cause it's a doozy.

Round 3: Nice opening combo from Watson. Then a big left kick. Then a couple more punches. Maybe a little urgency on his part. Chivitchian just misses a right. They both look for jabs, and Chivitchian lands a knee. Left jab from Watson. Nice left body kick from Watson, who then tries a half-Superman punch taht does nothing. Chivitchian locks things up again and Watson looks for a takedown that he kinda-sorta lands. Halfway home, it's tight again. Right jab from Watson lands. Left kick from Watson moves Chivitchian back. The crowd begins chanting "Kyle! Kyle!" with 80 seconds left in the fight. It's short, sweet and to the point, and it does off about about eight repeats. Chivitchian makes a little noise with some jabs with 20 seconds left, and then misses a haymaker after the 10-second clap. Once again, it's a tough one. MMA Fighting will give the third to Watson, 10-9, but the fight to Chivitchian 29-28. This has split decision written all over it, though.
Result: Kyle Watson def. Sako Chivitchian via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Ian Loveland vs. Tyler Toner
Round 1: Loveland comes out like a barn owl out of hell. That's his nickname: "The Barn Owl." He lands some big bombs and floors Toner. Toner manages to stave things off enough to stay in the fight and recover, but Loveland continues working strikes from up top. Some hammer fists from Loveland land, and he's controlling things with ease, though he's not landing any seriously big shots from his dominant position with Toner against the cage. Toner's corner with some interesting advice: "Tyler, c'mon. Do something. Anything." 10-8 rounds aren't common, but MMA Fighting will give that score to Loveland. He landed the big shots early to drop Toner, and he stayed on top throughout.

Round 2: Spinning backfist from Loveland early on. Loveland has a giant tattoo of some kind of a fish jumping out of water on his back. Which is odd for a "Barn Owl." We'll call it a largemouth bass until we get further clarification. Much slower pace this round. Toner bleeding from his nose, and Loveland lands a nice right uppercut. High kick from Toner misses. Someone in the crowd yells out "Knock him out, Harry Potter!" And amazingly, Loveland does look remarkably like Harry. And a Barn Owl. With a fish on his back. Dude is well rounded. He then lands a crazy tight spinning left backfist and staggers Toner. Toner wobbles, then falls and Loveland moves to pounce. Josh Rosenthal looks like he wants to stop it initially, but Toner protects himself sufficiently enough to stay in the fight. He looks briefly for a leg triangle, but it's all Loveland from this position. MMA Fighting gives Round 2 to Loveland 10-9.

Round 3: Toner needs to find some offense, and fast. He looks for an uppercut that partially hits. Then a head kick that is mostly blocked. Loveland throws a nice knee when Toner looks to move in. Big left from Loveland when Toner drops his hands down. Then a right. Then a 1-2 to the body. Traded jabs to the chin, but halfway through Toner will need to finish this thing if he wants his hand raised. Loveland looking a little more cautious now. He's picking his shots to throw jabs, but seems to be in defensive mode. Big spinning back fist again from Loveland, but Toner ducks under it. Inside leg kick from Toner. Loveland lands a left with 15 seconds left. But a mostly uneventful third round ends with MMA Fighting giving the round to Loveland 10-9, and the fight to him 30-26.
Result: Ian Loveland def. Tyler Toner via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26)

Aaron Wilkinson vs. Cody McKenzie
This should be fun. Wilkinson and McKenzie were housemates on Season 12 of TUF. Wilkinson walks to "I Feel Good" by James Brown, and as a member of the Wolfslair Academy team with Michael Bisping, he'll be cornered by Wolfslair fighter Rampage Jackson. McKenzie, whose "McKenzie-tine" version of the guillotine choke has put away most of his opponents in his career, walks out to "Stuck in the Middle" by Stealers Wheel. Haven't heard that used before for a walkout, but it's a nice change of pace and seems to suit McKenzie's backwoods Alaskan personality.
Round 1: McKenzie comes forward immediately, but he lands in a Wilkinson choke. He gets out of it, though. and he starts to immediately go to work for that McKenzie-tine. He's got a standing guillotine now, and the crowd starts to chant "Cody!" McKenzie's seated, back near the cage, and he's looking for that choke. He reverses nicely and gets on top. And he rolls it over and he's got it. Is it tight enough? It is. And Wilkinson eventually taps. The crowd gives its biggest roar of the night. Has The McKenzie Era officially started in the UFC? The fans sure seem to love the guy. "I get under the jaw in practice sometimes, and just the right leverage and it feels like I can break his jaw," McKenzie tells Joe Rogan, who is amazed repeatedly that McKenzie keeps getting guillotines on opponents who should know what to look for by now.
Result: Cody McKenzie def. Aaron Wilkinson via submission (guillotine choke), 2:03 Round 1

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