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UFC Fight Night 53 Results: Story upsets Nelson, Holloway beats down Corassani




The Story of the night in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday was certainly the five round main event that saw Rick Story emerge victorious over Icelandic up and comer Gunnar Nelson via a strange split decision that at least gave the right man the victory.

Although Nelson did keep true to his trademark stoicism throughout the 25 minute contest, we did see him slow, and show some holes for the in his game for the first time in his career that he’ll have to patch up moving forward. As mentioned by international UFC Fight Pass color man Dan Hardy, Nelson holds his hands down because he can rely on his speed and movement to get out of harms way. After taking a few rounds of punishment from an elite fighter for the first time in his career we saw that he slowed down plenty and become a much slower moving target for Story to unleash on en route to one of the biggest victories of his storied career.

The thing we always have loved about Story is how he mixes it up. He comes with a balanced attack and his ripping shots to the body have always been a thing of beauty. Nelson got to feel all of that today, and he’s going to become a much better and more balanced mixed martial artist himself because of it.

It was Story’s cardio and stellar boxing (neither man used many kicks as the fight progressed) that earned him one of the hardest fought wins of his career, and will hopefully get him a big name for his next bout. For Nelson, this was the perfect way to lose a fight. He didn’t get finished and he did his best to hang in there with a guy that can bang it out with the best of them. I don’t think moving down to lightweight is the answer for Gunni just yet. There are a lot of great fights to make for him at 170 lbs against big names coming off of a loss; Matt Brown, Dong Hyun Kim, or Mike Pyle would be fantastic fights for Nelson following his first career pro MMA loss.

In the co-main event of the evening,  Akira Corassani seemed to be a bit of a strange opponent for the young and “Blessed” UFC vet Max Holoway, almost a step back if you will. That’s probably because Corassani was originally intended to be a comeback opponent for Korean Zombie in an effort to get the former featherweight #1 contender back on track after a long lay off.

Instead, Holloway was slotted in and he did exactly what he was supposed to do in this one – take care of business and collect a $50K performance of the night bonus check. It’s still tough to believe this kid is only 22 and now has 10 UFC fights under his belt. That has to be some kind of record. Somebody, please check on that for me.

Speaking of upsets, the main card opened up with a couple. +500 underdog Mike Wilkinson looked outclassed from the get go against fan favorite Niklas Backstrom. The long and rangy Backstrom had success early and often with his kicking game. He was able to land a front kick to the face just as Wilkinson countered with a picture perfect right hand that would topple Backstrom. Wilkinson would land about four more unanswered strikes on his now unconscious opponent before the fight was waved off at the 1:19 mark of the very first round. This was easily the upset of the night and like Holloway, Wilkinson would collect a well deserved performance of the night bonus.

The second fight on the main card lasted just a wee bit longer than the first. +210 underdog Jan Blachowicz made a statement by finishing off Swedish favorite Ilir Latifi with a head kick and some right hands for good measure. The KSW veteran was making a lot of noise in Poland since signing with the organization back in 2007 and has now made a quick impression in his octagon debut.

Tiger Muay Thai standouts Zubaria Tukhugov and Maribek Taisumov kicked off the preliminary portion of the night with a couple of brutal TKO finishes that made Team Banter very, very proud.

Polish standout Krysztof Jotko made the odds makers look good by handling Tor Troeng with ease in what will likely be the final UFC bout of Troeng’s career. At least it came in front of his friends and family.

Cathal Pendred was able to get off to a much better start in his sophomore UFC outing. Gasan Umalatov proved to be a worthy opponent for Pendred but would come out on the wrong end of a very close split decision. That said, Pendred won this fight by fighting a smart fight. He controlled the octagon for the duration of the contest and used his right uppercut to cover the distance and control Umalatov against the cage. He has the tools to be a force at 170 lbs moving forward if he can, like his teammate Gunnar Nelson, make a few adjustments. What it really comes down to is keeping those hands up as the fight grows long. I’d hate to see either man pay with their consciousness moving forward.

The featherweight scrap between German UFC vet Dennis Siver and featherweight prospect Charles Rosa was the clear-cut fight of the night, and luckily for both men the UFC officials agreed. While Siver was the clear-cut winner on all three judges scorecards, it was Rosa who made a statement by going for the gusto from bell to bell after taking this fight on just five days notice. UFC fans were rewarded for tuning into his promotional debut on fight pass and you better believe that they’ll be marking their calendars to tune into Rosa’s next fight. If there was a such thing as a good 30-27 x 3 loss, Rosa’s UFC debut was a perfect example of just that.

Stockholm’s Nico Musoke was able to cruise to a victory over the ultra tough Alexander Yakovlev in what was easily the one fight on this card that did not deserve your time. Musoke was able to use his strength to hold Yakovlev against the cage where he did absolutely nothing. While Yakovlev did land some decent strikes when the two were separated, he didn’t do enough. Musoke earned the 30-27 x 3 UD decision by fighting a smart and boring fight. Neither man really showed a whole lot of heart.

Magnus Cedenblad and Scott Askham closed out the preliminary portion of the card with a back and forth contest that ended with the hometown favorite getting his hand raised by just hanging in there. A front kick to the face by Askham that sent Cedenblad’s mouth piece flying at the end of the 2nd round should have ended the fight but the Swedish Warrior was able to survive and control the third round via top position en route to his third straight UFC victory.

Here are the quick results for UFC Fight Night 53:

Main Card (UFC Fight Pass – 3 p.m. ET)

• Welterweight Main Event: Rick Story (18-8) defeats Gunnar Nelson (13-1-1) via SD (47-48, 49-46, 50-44)
• Featherweight Bout: Max Holloway (11-3) defeats Akira Corassani (12-5) via KO (punches) – Round 1, 3:11
• Light Heavyweight Bout: Jan Blachowicz (18-3) defeats Ilir Latifi (9-4) via TKO (body kick + punches) – Round 1, 1:58
• Featherweight Bout: Mike Wilkinson (9-1) defeats Niklas Backstrom (8-1) via KO (punches) – Round 1, 1:19

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass – 12:10 p.m. ET)

• Middleweight Bout: Magnus Cedenblad (13-4) defeats  Scott Askham (12-1) via UD (29-28 x 3)
• Welterweight Bout: Nico Musoke (13-3) defeats Alexander Yakovlev (21-6-1) via UD (30-27 x 3)
• Featherweight Bout: Dennis Siver (22-9) defeats Charles Rosa (9-1) via UD (30-27 x 3)
• Welterweight Bout: Cathal Pendred (15-2-1) defeats Gasan Umalatov (15-4-1) SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
• Middleweight Bout: Krzysztof Jotko (15-1) defeats Tor Troegn (16-7-1) via UD (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
• Lightweight Bout: Maribek Taisumov (22-5) defeats Marcin Bandel (13-3) via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:01
• Featherweight Bout: Zubaira Tukhugov (17-3) defeats Ernest Chavez (7-2) via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:21

Fight Night Bonuses ($50K each):

• Performance of the Night: Mike Wilkinson and Max Holloway

• Fight of the Night: Dennis Siver vs. Charles Rosa

Post Fight Press Conference Highlights:

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