• UFC 138

British debutant Maguire stars in UFC 138 prelims

ESPN staff
November 6, 2011
John Maguire dominated Justin Edwards © Getty Images
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John Maguire proved to be the star of the UFC 138 prelims after he displayed a sublime ground game to defeat Justin Edwards by unanimous decision.

Making his UFC debut, Maguire turned on the style for his home support, surviving an early knockdown to take a 30-27 decision on all three cards. Edwards, dubbed the mini-Randy Couture, had occasional success with a spinning heel kick, but he had little answer to Maguire's submissions offence.

After being dropped, Maguire fought back to take the first stanza, and then in round two he truly went to work, almost finding a rear naked choke and an armbar. There was more of the same for Edwards in the third, who found himself in a body triangle as Maguire tried to the final klaxon for the submission that he so dearly deserved.

In the battle of Britain's top two heavyweights, Phil De Fries came out on top of a ground war with Rob Broughton to take a unanimous 29-28 decision. As the younger, more athletic fighter, De Fries was able to dictate when the fight went to the mat, controlling Broughton in rounds one and three. Broughton's best chance came in the second with a mounted crucifix, but De Fries survived a catalogue of hammer fists en route to victory on debut.

Jason Young once again tasted agonising defeat in the featherweight division, dropping a unanimous 29-28 decision to Michihiro Omigawa. Young has been matched with the world No. 6 and No. 10 fighters, and on both occasions has come out on the end of narrow decisions.

Training with Team Titan and American Top Team, Young was excellent in round one, slamming Omigawa with leg kicks and combinations, before rocking him with a head kick. Omigawa is a wily veteran though, and his judo was telling as he controlled rounds two and three on the ground.

Gloucester's Che Mills made an outstanding impact on UFC debut, absolutely annihilating Chris Cope in 40 seconds with a huge Knockout of the Night contender. Cope, a TUF 13 contestant, was dropped by a thudding knee - prompting ref Marc Goddard to step in to stop the fight. However, the ref made a last-ditch U-turn to allow Cope to fight back to his feet, where a second knee from Mills turned out the lights in spectacular fashion.

In the opening fight of the night, home favourite Vaughan Lee's UFC debut promised so much but ultimately ended in a split 29-28 29-28 29-28 decision defeat to Chris Cariaso in the bantamweight division. Lee showed excellent clinchwork and takedown offence to dominate round one, doing damage with ground-and-pound and a standing guillotine, but his defensive jiu-jitsu needed work as Cariaso mounted him in rounds two and three, almost finishing things at the death with a late choke.

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