Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Joe Lauzon wins main event over Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night Live in Tampa

TAMPA — Gasparilla had the parade and beads. The Florida State Fair offered gut-busting food. But for fight fans, South Florida's campus was the place to be Saturday night.

Ultimate Fighting Championship, the primary organization in mixed martial arts, showcased its first card in Tampa before an announced crowd of 7,596 at the Sun Dome and millions more throughout the United States and Canada live on TV's Spike network.

Fans lined up early for UFC Fight Night Live, and they had the Dome buzzing by the third preliminary fight.

"We're very happy with the turnout, very happy," UFC president Dana White said. "Usually for these Fight Night cards, we get anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people, so this is great."

The cards generally feature up-and-coming fighters and offer the organization a glimpse into potential pay-per-view sites.

The night's final bout had two of the youngest fighters in a main event in UFC history: 24-year-old Joe Lauzon and 22-year-old Jeremy Stephens.

They traded punches and reversals in the first round. In the second, Stephens opened a cut along Lauzon's hairline. Lauzon was able to gain mount about four minutes in before sinking in an arm bar. The pair scrambled momentarily, but Lauzon (17-4) held on, and Stephens (16-4) tapped out at 4:43.

Lauzon's move was named submission of the night.

Anthony Johnson (7-2-0) opened the undercard in style, unleashing a barrage of punches and kicks on St. Petersburg native Luigi Fioravanti (13-5-0) before the referee stopped the fight on a TKO at 4:39 of the first round.

In the fight of the night, Josh Neer (25-7-1) then submitted Ultimate Fighter Season 6 champion Mac Danzig (19-6-1) by triangle choke at 3:36 of the second round.

"I came to this fight ready to die," Neer said. "I wasn't going to leave without getting the win."

For the first time in his young career, heavyweight Cain Velasquez (5-0) didn't knock out his opponent in the opening round. But the two-time NCAA wrestling All-American at Arizona State did end it with strikes at 2:34 of the second round, spoiling the UFC debut of Denis Stojnic (12-2) and earning KO of the night honors, to round out the undercard.

In preliminary action, welterweight Matt Riddle kicked off the night with a unanimous decision against Steve Bruno (13-5-0), running his record to 2-0-0. Middleweight Nick Catone (7-0-0), making his UFC debut, also remained undefeated, stopping Derek Downey (10-4-0) by submission (keylock) at 1:15 of Round 2.

Lightweight Gleison Tibau's (28-5-0) guillotine choke at 4:35 of the first round ended his bout with Rich Clementi (40-14-1). Lightweight Matt Veach (11-0), who was cornered by UFC legend and nine-time welterweight champion Matt Hughes, TKO'd Matt Grice (10-2) at 4:34 of the first round.

Middleweight Dan Miller (12-1-1) won his 10th straight fight and remained undefeated in the UFC, stopping Jake Rosholt (5-1) at 1:03 of the first round via guillotine choke.

Lightweight Kurt Pellegrino (19-4) sunk in a rear naked choke on Rob Emerson (10-7-1), ending their fight at 3:14 of the second round.

Meanwhile, White, the UFC president, was so pleased with the turnout that he announced the UFC will return.

"We'll definitely be returning to Tampa early next year, and it'll be a pay-per-view," White said. "We wanted to come here and test the market. With all the other (events) going on and we draw this kind of crowd? This area is going to be a big market for us."

This was the fifth time UFC held a card in Florida and the first since June 2007. Three were in Hollywood and one in Miami.

"We just keep our heads down and keep charging forward and making this thing bigger and better," White said. "We haven't even scratched the surface on how big this thing is going to be in the U.S., let alone the rest of the world."

Joe Lauzon wins main event over Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night Live in Tampa 02/07/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 8, 2009 7:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.