Published Saturday, June 19, 2010 | 3:52 p.m.
Updated Saturday, June 19, 2010 | 8:56 p.m.
An emotional Court McGee accepted a trophy and a six-figure UFC contract at The Pearl at The Palms Saturday after submitting Kris McCray in the second round to become the winner of the eleventh season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’
McGee, a recovered drug addict, broke into tears following the win.
“I want to dedicate this fight to anybody who is struggling today,” McGee said.
The Utah native used a terrific game plan of technical striking and perfectly timed takedowns to dominate McCray.
McGee (11-1) moved into full mount and took McCray’s back twice before ending the fight via rear-naked choke at the 3:41 mark of the second round.
McCray (6-1) spent most of the fight trying to work back to his feet after being repeatedly out-wrestled by McGee in the clinch.
According to McGee, he hadn’t planned on using wrestling to win the fight but the opportunity appeared in the first round and he took advantage of it.
“The game plan was to hit him and move, hit him and move,” McGee said. “But the shot was open, so I took it.”
In the co-main event, Matt Hamill (10-2) bounced back from a rough loss he suffered in his last fight with a solid performance over Keith Jardine (14-9-1).
Known mostly for his wrestling skills, Hamill picked Jardine apart on the feet en route to a majority decision. Despite being a back-and-forth fight, Hamill took control in the later rounds and was helped out when referee Herb Dean deducted a point from Jardine for poking Hamill in the eye during the second round.
It was Jardine’s fifth loss in his last six fights.
Kris McCray (6-1) vs. Court McGee (11-1)
Round One: Both fighters miss on their first attempts at offense before coming together in a clinch in the center of the octagon. They break and again look to land something on their feet. McGee moves into the clinch again and wrestles McCray down. McCray backs up to the fence and uses it to get back to his feet. McGee stays on him and wrestles him back down though. McGee stands in McCrays guard and then comes down hard with a left hand that connects. McCray creates some space and gets back to his feet. Again they work into the clinch after missing on strikes. McGee showing better wrestling than McCray as he takes him down again from the clinch. McCray rolls backwards though, throwing McGee off. He stands up and lets his hands go but McGee is defending well. Left hook lands for McGee, then a right. They clinch again before trading strikes in the round’s final seconds.
Round Two: Both guys are active on their feet but so far no big shots have landed for either of them. They clinch again towards the center of the cage and again McGee is able to wrestle him down and move immediately to mount. McGee looking for an arm triangle here but McCray gets his arm free. McGee in the mount and looking to posture up. McCray turns over and gives up his back but McGee can’t capitalize and McCray breaks free. McCray wanting to stay on his feet but he gets slammed to the mat again. McCray working to get back to his feet but McGee takes his back and looks for the rear naked. He sinks it in and that will end the fight. McGee comes away the Finale winner with a second round submission.
Keith Jardine (14-9-1) vs. Matt Hamill (10-2)
Round One: Hamill throws a looping left hook that Jardine dodges and counters effectively with two hard shots. Both guys pumping jabs out, trying to find their distance. Jardine backing up and ands a good counter right as Hamill chases. Hamill the aggressor right now, hasn’t tried to take the fight to the ground at all. Jardine comes forward and pokes a straight right through Hamill’s defense. Jardine had him backing up hard to the fence but chose not to follow. Hamill still coming forward and he lands a body kick there. Nice straight right by Jardine grazes the temple of Hamill. Two big overhand rights from Jardine just miss as the round comes to an end.
Round Two: Hamill shoots for the first time tonight and Jardine defends it easily. Combination from Jardine ends with a hard body kick to Hamill’s left side. Hamill catches a leg kick and tries to turn it into a takedown but Jardine rips his leg free and stays on his feet. Jab and a straight right land for Hamill. Uppercut now lands for Hamill, but Jardine responds with a straight right. Hamill comes forward hard looking for the Muay Thai clinch, Jardine breaks away from it and Hamill throws a high head kick that lands. Jardine in trouble now as Hamill has him against the fence and unloading on him. Jardine throwing his arms up to clinch and Hamill turns away clutching his right eye. He falls down and referee Herb Dean has to temporarily stop the fight to have Hamill checked out. Hamill is going to be alright and now Dean ends up taking a point away from Jardine. Action resumes and Jardine comes out letting his hands go. Hamill weathers it and starts firing back. He lands a left jab that staggers Jardine for a moment. Hamill sees it as a chance to take him down and he does near the edge of the fence. Jardine works to get back to his feet but he’s still stuck against the fence and Hamill is letting loose on him. Jardine’s face is covered in blood but he makes it to the end of the round.
Round Three: Jardine smiles at Hamill just before third round starts. Hamill lands a left uppercut and then another straight right after Jardine backs away. Hamill shoots low for a takedown and Jardine can’t stay on his feet. He’s on his knees right up against the cage and does end up working back to his feet. Referee is going to halt the fight again, this time so a doctor can check on the cuts to Jardine’s face. Doc says he’s good and Jardine comes out of the break landing a hard right. Hamill responds by going for a takedown, this one Jardine sprawls on and defends successfully. Jardine looks for a leg kick and Hamill counters it with hard jab. With 1:30 left, Dean has to stop the fight again. Looks like Jardine’s mouthpiece fell out. Fight on again and Hamill lands a big knee when Jardine looks for a takedown. Thirty seconds. Jardine wiping blood out of his eyes. Jardine throws an overhand right that nicks Hamill as the fight ends. Judges award the majority decision to Hamill by scores of 29-27, 29-27 and 28-28.
Aaron Simpson (7-1) vs. Chris Leben (20-6)
Round One: Simpson loads up on an overhand right and then goes low for a takedown. He gets the slam but Leben works back to his feet. They go into the clinch with Simpson’s back to the fence. Three minutes to go they break off and Simpson lands a well-placed jab under Leben’s chin. Simpson moves in back to the clinch and starts working towards another takedown. He gets the slam again and knocks Leben with three or four punches as he gets back to his feet. Leben lands a good left hook that staggers Simpson momentarily. Simpson works back into the clinch with 40 seconds to go and it stays there the remainder of the round.
Round Two: Simpson lands a one-two combination as Leben throws a leg kick. Simpson drops Leben’s hands with a feinted takedown attempt and lands a nice left hook. Leven walks straight forward through a few Simpson jabs and starts swinging like a wild man. He connects on a few of the looping hooks with Simpson’s back to the fence and the crowd begins chanting his name. Leben coming forward aggressively, taking a punch to give one. Simpson tries twice to get the fight to the ground but Leben showing good defense and staying on his feet. Right hook lands for Simpson as he’s trapped against the fence again. Leben landing another string of hooks, Simpson falls forward on a takedown but Leben stuffs it. Simpson to his feet but he’s staggering around and falls over on his own and that’s enough for the referee to stop the fight. Leben scores the upset win with a second round TKO.
Dennis Siver (16-7) vs. Spencer Fisher (24-6)
Round One: Siver swings hard and just misses as Fisher looks to land a leg kick. Thirty seconds in, Fisher lands an accidental groin shot and Siver needs a minute. He takes one and then the action is back on. Fisher catches a leg kick and lands a straight left. Again, Siver looks for the big right hand as a leg kick comes in from Fisher. Another leg kick from Fisher comes very close to hitting Siver’s groin. Fisher the more accurate striker so far and he’s opened a cut over Siver’s left eye. Nice body kick lands for Fisher. He looks to add to it but Siver throws a hard counter right that backs him off. Fisher’s corner yelling at him to not stand and exchange with Siver. He’s effective right now bouncing in and out while Siver stays planted and looks for a big shot.
Round Two: Siver very active to start the second round. He’s throwing a lot of kicks at different levels and for now it’s taken Fisher out of the rhythm he found in the last round. Siver with a counter left hook after ducking away from Fisher’s straight left. Fisher throws the straight left again though and this time it gets through Siver’s defense. Siver very much wanting to land that big overhand right. Fisher throws a leg kick, Siver catches it and puts him down with a straight left hand. He doesn’t follow him to the floor and Fisher gets back to his feet. Siver stealing the momentum here again with kicks, landing a string of them there. An echoing body kick lands for Siver and then a front kick right to Fisher’s midsection. Spinning backfist attempt for Fisher is unsuccessful near the end of the round.
Round Three: Head kick lands for Fisher as Siver was in the middle of a punch. Accidental groin kick from Siver and both fighters receive a short break. They come back swinging, both probably feeling like they need to win the round. Siver swinging and missing a lot as Fisher’s activity slows a bit. Counter left hook lands for Siver and he follows it with a string of front kicks. Fisher finds his rhythm again though, setting up a knee beautifully with a series of feints. Siver attacks Fisher until he backs up to the fence but his looping overhand right still won’t connect. Ninety seconds left and Fisher motions Siver to come at him. Very close round right now. More back and forth from both fighters, with Fisher scoring points during an exchange. Siver comes back with more kicks to finish a tough round to call. Siver ends up getting the nod by unanimous decision.
Rich Attonito (8-3) vs. Jamie Yager (2-2)
Round One: Yager looks for an early leg kick that Attonito jumps out of the way of. Yager lets his hands go, throwing four or five punches at a time. Yager lands a nice left hook set up by feinting with his right. Attonito shakes his head to show he wasn’t hurt by it. Attonito shoots and is able to get Yager to the ground but only for a second before he’s up again. Good leg kick lands for Yager. He looks for another one but Attonito anticipates it and lands a nice counter left. Yager throws the leg kick again and this time Attonito catches it and lands a big straight right. Yager backs up to the fence and clinches to regain his composure. Yager comes forward but Attonito slips his punches and lands another counter right.
Round Two: Attonito winds up for a big right hook that misses. Yager bouncing around, coming in and out at Attonito but not landing much early in the round. Both fighters land a bunch in an exchange. Attonito continuing to counter effectively. He rocks Yager with a combination that had him stumbling for a second. Yager jumps in the air with a kick and then throws a punch on his way down, they both miss badly. Yager caught with another counter right hook. Looks like he’s tired now and lost a lot of his technique. The right hook sets him back tracking and Attonito follows and takes him down. Attonito works to his back and looks for the choke but Yager gets out of it. He rolls onto his stomach and Attonito flattens him out and starts landing one hammerfist after another to the side of his head. Referee Steve Mazzagatti steps in and Yager’s night is over. Attonito claims the TKO win at 4:25 of second round.
Mark Holst (8-2) vs. John Gunderson (23-7)
Round One: Gunderson looking for an early takedown but Holst widens his stance and stays on his feet. Gunderson sticks with it though and ends up picking Holst over his head and slamming him down next to the fence. Gunderson working his ground and pound out of Holst’s guard. Holst avoids major damage from the bottom the rest of the round, but can’t even come close to getting back to his feet.
Round Two: Gunderson secures the takedown easier this round, putting Holst on his back in the first 10 seconds of the round. Gunderson moves into side control briefly, but Holst puts him back into his guard. Holst doing well locking up Gunderson’s arms and closing his guard. Very little action as Gunderson can’t seem to get any offense going from top position. With 1:30 to go, referee Josh Rosenthal decides to stand it up. Gunderson throws a leg kick and it’s caught by Holst. Holst uses the opportunity to take Gunderson down but he can’t keep him there and it’s back to the feet. Gunderson goes with the takedown immediately this time, not interested in standing with Holst.
Round Three: Left hook lands for Gunderson to start the round. Holst gets caught again with a series of hooks. He backs up to the cage and Gunderson gets low, picks him up over his head again and throws him down in the middle of the octagon. Holst looking for a kimora from bottom position. Gunderson is lying on top of him, holding his hands together behind Holst’s back preventing the kimora attempt. Finally, Holst gives up on the kimora — only to go after it again. Thirty seconds left and Holst works into an armbar attempt. He tries to straighten is out but Gunderson hangs on to finish the round and win the fight by unanimous decision.
Seth Baczynski (11-6) vs. Brad Tavares (5-1)
Round One: Baczynski ducks under a punch and shoots in for a takedown, but Tavares ends up defending and throwing Baczynski to the ground instead. Baczynski back to his feet though with no harm done. Good left hook lands for Baczynski and then a quick takedown, but Tavares is back up immediately. Baczynski looks for the guillotine now, Tavares breaks it but left his arm exposed. Baczynski locks in an armbar attempt. Tavares slams him twice but Baczynski still on that arm. Finally, Tavares frees his arm and looks to take Baczynski’s back. Eventually he does and starts looking for the rear naked. Baczynski gets out of the position for a moment but Tavares gets his legs in and now has the full body triangle with a minute to go in the round. Baczynski manages to survive the full minute though and we’ll see a second.
Round Two: Baczynski comes forward with a left hook to start the round but Tavares sees it coming and rocks him with a counter. Baczynski stunned a bit and Tavares picks him up and slams him to the mat. Tavares ends up standing over Baczynski and looks to come down with a hard punch. Baczynski doing well defensively from the ground but that won’t help him win the round. With two minutes to go Baczynski reverses the postions, but Tavares shows great technique and reverses it right back. Tavares works into the crucifix momentarily and lands some good shots to Baczynski’s defenseless head. Round ends and Baczynski is bleeding badly from a cut near the side of his head.
Round Three: Baczynski swings for the fences to open round before shooting in. Tavares defends the single leg and gets low for his own takedown attempt. It takes awhile, but Tavares finally wrestles down Baczynski with 3:45 to go. Tavares posturing up in Baczynski’s guard. He may have been too aggressive and forgot about Baczynski’s skills from his back though. Baczynski gets his legs high on his shoulders and looks for the arm triangle. He transitions to the armbar now but Tavares frees his hand and ends up taking Baczynski’s back. It’s the first round all over again, as Tavares gets his hooks in and starts searching for the rear naked. Baczynski able to turn into it and get back to his feet with a minute left. Baczynski works some great ground and pound to finish the fight but it’s not enough to win him the fight. Tavares takes it by unanimous decision.
Josh Bryant (10-2) vs. Kyle Noke (17-4-1)
Round One: Noke starts things off, doubling up the left hook. Two leg kicks land for Noke. Almost nothing from Bryant so far, looking more to counter than be aggressive. Nice body kick by Noke and Bryant looks mad at himself for allowing it. Noke comes forward again, Bryant swings out two counter hooks that back him off. Noke touches Bryant with the jab and then another leg kick. Noke throws a high head kick on the tail end of a combination that lands. Bryant gets in a leg kick of his own and a counter left but looks disappointed as round ends.
Round Two: Bryant much more active here at the start of the second round. Noke eludes much of his strikes though and lands the first big combination of the round. Body kick lands for Noke and he’s really dominating on the feet now. Another big leg kick and Bryant is stuck against the fence just trying to protect himself. Those leg kicks from Noke are killing Bryant, his entire body is swinging around on some of them as he’s still caught up against the fence. Now a big front kick from Noke lands straight to Noke’s midsection and he’s done. Referee steps in at 3:12 of second round, giving Noke the TKO win.
Chris Camozzi (13-3) vs. James Hammortree (5-2)
Round One: Fighters trade leg kicks to get the fight started. Hammortree comes forward with a nice straight right that lands. Camozzi throws two consecutive kicks, Hammortree lets his hands go on the second one and catches him under the chin. Camozzi throws another leg kick that sweeps Hammortree off his feet, he scrambles back up as Camozzi comes forward and they end up in a clinch against the fence. They separate and go back to the middle of the octagon. Camozzi continues throwing a ton of leg kicks. Hammortree shoots and lands the takedown but Camozzi quickly back to his feet.
Round Two: Camozzi opens round with another leg kick. Hammortree is trying to time it up and land a big counter right, he’s been just off on it a few times now. Camozzi looking to land knees off the Muay Thai clinch, pretty nice job defending though from Hammortree. Referee Josh Rosenthal stops action for a second to check on a mouse that’s formed under the left eye of Hammortree. Action resumes and Camozzi looks for a surprise takedown attempt, which Hammortree defends. Hard knee lands for Camozzi off the Muay Thai clinch and then another. Hammortree survies though, lands a counter right hook and then slams Camozzi to the mat with 2:15 left in the round. Hammortree unable to get anything goin on the ground, lets Camozzi back up to his feet. Camozzi gets in a string of knees again before Hammortree works into clinch to finish the round.
Round Three: Hammortree lands two hooks early in the round, Camozzi smiles and taunts at him in response. Camozzi throws a leg kick and Hammortree grimaces, saying it caught him the groin. He takes a small break and the action resumes. Camozzi ducks under a right hand and looks for the takedown. Hammortree defends and throws him off. Hammortree letting his hands go again and catches Camozzi with a flurry. Camozzi works in close and ties him up against the fence to recover. Nice jab lands for Camozzi. Camozzi lands another big knee under the chin of Hammortree as he was moving forward. The two work back up against the fence with 30 seconds left. Hammortree locks in a last-second guillotine attempt but can’t get the finish. Camozzi ends up with the unanimous decision win with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Travis Browne (10-0) vs. James McSweeney (13-6)
Round One: Browne comes out aggressive, he rushes McSweeney and the two clinch against the cage. McSweney breaks and lands a leg kick. McSweeney circling a lot, Browne pretty stationary. Another nice leg kick lands for McSweeney, then a right hook. Browne responds though with a nice body kick and then drops McSweeney with a left hook. Browne follows him to the floor and looking to finish with over two minutes to go in the round. McSweeney clinches up with him from bottom position but eating elbows in the process. Forty seconds left and Browne moves into mount and this one looks over. Referee Kim Winslow steps in to call it as McSweeney resorts to just burying his head in his hands. Browne by TKO at 4:32 of first round.
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].