Beyond the Octagon: Diego “The Gun” Nunes KOs “Hellboy” Hansen, UFC vets go 6-0

Because of a hasty, overconfident return to competition, a lack of focus, the superior opposition of a fresh prospect, or their own deteriorating skills,…

By: Rainer Lee | 8 years ago
Beyond the Octagon: Diego “The Gun” Nunes KOs “Hellboy” Hansen, UFC vets go 6-0
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Because of a hasty, overconfident return to competition, a lack of focus, the superior opposition of a fresh prospect, or their own deteriorating skills, some weekends, UFC veterans stumble on the regional circuit. The tail end of November has yielded up a hot streak, though, with former UFC fighters going nigh-undefeated these last two weeks.

First, some late-breaking results from the weekend before last: Antonio McKee (28-6-2, 4-0 IFL, 0-1 UFC, 0-1 Dream, 0-1 WSOF) took a split-decision victory over Gadji Zaipulaev (20-6-0), halting the first and only losing streak of his career at two. He’s 1-0 for the year and 4-2 since he was released from the UFC, a stretch which includes one-off appearances in WSOF and DREAM.

Also that week, Kyle Bradley (19-11-1NC, 1-3 UFC) fell to the punches of Lanny Dardar (13-6-0) early in Round 2. This was a rematch of a 2012 bout, which Bradley also lost, that one by submission. Bradley falls to 5-4 since his time with the UFC and earns the unfortunate distinction of being the only UFC veteran to lose a fight these past two weeks.

As for this past weekend, we start with former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson (52-20-1, 4-3 UFC, 1-0 PRIDE, 0-1 Sengoku, 1-0 Dream, 0-1 Strikeforce), who’s carried out the vast majority of his MMA career of the past four years in Russia and the surrounding region. “The Snowman” picked up his second victory in a row on Friday, this one coming in the main event of an Altay Republic MMA League event out of Russia. The win came against Ilya Scheglov (3-1-0) in the second round by way of north-south choke, one of Monson’s most favored techniques. With the win, Monson evens up his annual record at 3-3-0.

Monson vs. Scheglov, as seen from the stands, can be found here. Fight starts at 9:10.

And on Saturday in Rio, in the headliner of the latest Circuito Team Nogueira event, Wagner Prado (10-2-1NC, 0-2-1NC UFC) put Johnny Walker (3-1-0) away by TKO in the second. Released from the UFC in 2013 following a submission loss to Ildemar Alcantara, Prado is 2-0 since then, both wins by TKO.

Meanwhile, in England, at M4TC 15, Phil De Fries made short work of Lukasz Parobiec, cinching up a rear-naked choke in the opening minutes of Round 1. De Fries, who went 2-3 in the UFC before his release in mid-2013, improves his post-Octagon record to 2-1, and his overall record to 11-4-0, 1NC. He can also claim bragging rights for snapping Parobiec’s 10-fight win streak.

Over in Sweden, Superior Challenge 11 played host to three UFC veterans, beginning with Besam Yousef (7-4, 0-2 UFC), who pulled himself out of a four-fight slump with a second-round D’arce choke of Max Duarte (4-2-0). It’s Yousef’s first victory in over three years.

Yousef vs. Duarte can be seen here.

Further up the card, David Bielkheden found his twentieth career victory with a kneebar of Florent Betorangal (16-11-0) at 4:59 of Round 2. Bielkheden’s record now stands at 20-12-0, which includes an 0-1 stint in PRIDE and a 1-2 run in the UFC. He’s won three straight.

Bielkheden vs. Betorangal here.

And in the headlining bout, former top featherweights Diego Nunes and Joachim Hansen squared off for the promotion’s vacant title.

Nunes climbed the featherweight ranks with a 4-1 run in the WEC before being folded into the UFC, where he went 3-3. Despite never having lost consecutive bouts, he was released from the UFC in early 2013 after a loss to Nik Lentz. A surprisingly unsuccessful 0-2 run in Bellator followed. He risked a fourth straight loss before a partisan crowd against the everlastingly dangerous Hansen.

Hansen was a favorite on the Japanese MMA scene since the early years of his career. His run in Japan included wins over Takanori Gomi, Caol Uno, and a young Gesias Cavalcante, as well as a trio of memorable fights with jiu-jitsu terror Shinya Aoki, one of which he won by TKO (making him the inaugural Dream lightweight champion) and the last which he lost in a heart-breaker by way of a last-second armbar. Hansen compiled a 4-2 record in PRIDE and a 5-5 mark in Dream. His last bout in Dream, a 2011 loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri, resulted in a hiatus from competition. He won his return bout in 2013, but has lost two in a row since. That second is his bout last Saturday with Diego Nunes.

Their opening round proved extremely competitive, featuring exchanges of heavy knees, as well as scrambles, submission attempts, and periods of ground-and-pound from both fighters. Nunes opened the second strong, rattling Hansen with a volley of kicks: two to the body and another glancing one to the head as Hansen shot in for a takedown. Hansen, who appeared dazed after Nunes followed with some heavy ground strikes, nevertheless threatened with a triangle choke, sending Nunes into retreat. Chasing Nunes along the fence for some toe-to-toe would prove Hansen’s downfall, with a left hook sending the former champ crashing face-first to the mat. The win, his first in two years, improves Nunes’s record to 19-6-0. Hansen falls to 23-13-1.

Nunes vs. Hansen is here. Final exchange begins at about 8:20.

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