By Steve Juon
* Tim Means (16-3-1) vs. Bernardo Magalhaes (11-1) (Lightweight Bout)
5:15 PM CT. Looks like we're starting a few minutes early! The video introduction for both fighters is now on the big screen. Magalhaes is coming out to "Back in Black" by AC/DC. Not to be outdone, Means is coming out to "Thunderstruck." One has to wonder if they discussed this beforehand. He steps in the cage at 5:19 and it looks like we're ready for the big introduction from Bruce Buffer. Here we go!
Means is in the blue trunks and Magalhaes the black. The two feel out each other's range for the first 30 seconds, with Means largely controlling the center and pushing forward. Magalhaes corner just shouted "NO CHUTE BOX HERE." Magalhaes shoots forward at 3:10 to go and eats a knee for his trouble, then resets. Means looks to grab the clinch and exchange. Magalhaes changes tactics and throws a kick but eats another knee. 2:15 left in R1. Means is loading up his left hand with bad intentions. He rocks Magalhaes at 1:38 and jumps on top of him. Magalhaes reverses him on the ground at 1:21 and he scrambles back to his feet to the applause of the crowd. Means grabs a clinch and throws some more knees. Magalhaes is developing some bruising and swelling under his right eye. A one-sided round for Means that ends with a head kick.
R2 underway at 5:27 and Means is pressing his advantage. Magalhaes is swinging wildly. Every time he throws a leg kick Means closes the distance. It only takes 90 seconds for Means to make Magalhaes face swell up again. He's keeping his hands down near his waist, perhaps to bait Magalhaes to exchange. Magalhaes shoots for a double, is stuffed, and eats another knee. He tries to transition to a single and Means pulls/hops away. I'm not sure Magalhaes can see out of his right eye any more. Means wants Magalhaes to engage - he just screamed C'MON at him with 1:55 left in the second. Other than a try for a takedown Magalhaes has done little to even attempt to win this round. He's surviving but he's being outclassed. Means pushes him into the fence with 23 seconds left and hits a NASTY body shot that doubles Magalhaes over. He backs off. the ref stands him up, and the round ends.
Means starts R3 throwing jabs. Magalhaes keeps blinking and reaching up to clear his vision to no avail. He's on his bicycle now just trying to survive. Means stuffs another takedown attempt and gets off the fence with 3:53 left. Means could conceivably close this out but probably doesn't want to do anything stupid this late. Magalhaes tries to go to his back and the crowd is having none of it - the ref stands him up at 3:13. He goes for another single leg but Means hops around on one foot. He trips the leg but Means is only down to one knee for about one second. 2:30 remains. Means drops him at 2:10 with another nasty body shot, then backs away. The crowd boos when Magalhaes is slow to get up. Means throws another knee but misses and Magalhaes hugs a leg for dear life. Means blasts him in the head and Magalhaes wilts and covers up. He throws ground and pound, the crowd pops for it, and Magalhaes is VERY slow to get up when Means backs away. At this point Means could actually have a 10-8 in the second or the third if it was scored how it looks from a few feet away. Means gives chase right to the horn.
30-27, 30-26 AND 30-26 FOR TIM 'THE DIRTY BIRD' MEANS. We're going right to the next fight at 5:42 CT!
* Anton Kuivanen (16-4) vs. Justin 'J-Bomb' Salas (9-3) (Lightweight Bout)
Salas is out first to reggae music. The chyron shown on the big screen reminds us he's on a five fight win streak. Kuivanen's got more hip-hop bounce for his entrance, but there's still a Jamaican crooner over the beat. Salas is sporting white trunks, Kuivanen blue. Buffer begins the introductions at 5:47 CT, and our referee in charge of this fight is Mark Powell.
R1 is underway at 5:48. Kuivanen takes the center and Salas tries to shoot with no luck, and they reset. 40 seconds elapsed so far. Kuivanen mixes things up with some leg kicks. He hurts Salas a little with one to the midsection. Salas is having trouble finding his range. He tries a single and can't complete it. He feints a jumping knee. Front kick by Kuivanen. Salas storms ahead for a double at 2:15 and gets it. Kuivanen seems comfortable on his back, not letting Salas pass, even tripping him to the ground until both men get back up with less than 90 seconds in the round. Salas is throwing leg kicks now, but Kuivanen's have more snap when they land. Some judges might want to give Salas the round since he got another takedown right before the horn but to me Kuivanen controlled most of that round on the feet so I give it to him 10-9.
R2 is underway at 5:54. Salas presses Kuivanen into the fence in the first minute but can't do anything with it. Salas is engaging more, but he's not landing a lot of significant strikes. He does land a good jab as we near halfway in the fight. Salas shoots for the single and pushes Kuivanen into the fence, gets him to a knee for a second, and he pops right back up. Salas slips on another attempt but rolls to his feet before Kuivanen can pounce. Salas has managed to give Kuivanen a bloody nose. The longer this fight goes the better Salas looks. He shoots for another takedown with 20 seconds to go. He's unable to complete it but he wins the second round overall.
Our third and final round starts at 6 o'clock local time. Salas quickly snaps off a hard kick to the body. Kuivanen's momentum in R1 seems to have evaporated into the night air. Salas shoots with authority and gets another takedown at 4:25. Kuivanen traps a leg as Salas is trying to pass, but he manages to get out of it and wind up in guard. He stands up, backs off and throws shots down the pipe. Kuivanen tries to keep him at range with his feet but that's not working out so well. They both stand up with half the round gone. Salas acts like he got kicked in the groin but the ref doesn't stop the action so he shakes it off and shoots for another takedown, dirty boxing Kuivanen on the fence. They break with 100 seconds left. It's Salas' fight to lose at this point. Salas gets a LOUD takedown right in front of press row at the 50 second mark. As is his wont he backs out of guard to throw strikes. Kuivanen gets up with 10 seconds left. The horn sounds and I've got it 29-28 Salas.
Buffer announces it as 30-27, 30-27 AND 29-28 FOR THE UNANIMOUS WINNER: JUSTIN 'J-BOMB' SALAS. J-Bomb says in the post-fight interview that Anton is a really tough guy and a star in Europe, so he's glad to get the win. He thanks all of his sponsors and says he fights for the fans and loves the sport. He says he controlled the fight so he had no doubt he got the W, and he plans to improve with every bout from here on. Bruce Buffer announces a 10 minute break so we'll be back at 6:20!
LOEFFLER HAS BEEN SCRATCHED DUE TO INJURY. Credit to @DuaneHeavyMMA who is sitting next to me in press row.
6:25 PM CT. We've only got one Facebook fight left as a result of the scratch, and it's starting right now.
* Vagner Rocha (7-2) vs. Jonathan Brookins (13-4) (Featherweight Bout)
Rocha is out first to the strains of Eminem's "Lose Yourself." He's got on white trunks with Venum trim. Brookins is head bopping to a pop tune on his way down to the cage, dreads flying everywhere. He's got on blue trunks for this bout. Buffer begins the introductions at 6:29. Our referee for this fight is Dan Miragliotta.
Brookins is controlling the action in the first minute, pushing forward and throwing strikes, but his chin could easily be clipped if Rocha countered since he's not keeping it tucked. Rocha tries to body lock Brookins but he just winds up on top throwing HAYMAKERS at the fight is over at 3:28 to go. Rocha is very slow to get up after the fight so it was clearly the right call.
Buffer: 1:32 OF R1 FOR THE WINNER BY KNOCKOUT - JONATHAN BROOKINS. Anik goes to interview him. "Everybody applaud (Rocha), he's the man, and I'm very thankful man. It was unbelievable man. I'm thrilled man. It's back to the drawing board for me though man." Anik asks him to talk us through the replay. "That's the way it goes sometimes man. It could have been either one of us man." Anik wants to know who's next. "That's up to Joe Silva man."