BALTIMORE - Sometimes it's not how you start. It's how you finish. And Danny Castillo finished on Saturday.
After a first round that saw him taken down twice by Charlie Brenneman, Castillo scored a one-punch knockout quickly into the second for an emotional victory.
The lightweight preliminary-card bout took place at today's UFC 172 event at Maryland's Baltimore Arena. It aired on FOX Sports 1 prior to the pay-per-view main card.
Castillo kicked early, which forced Brenneman to work for a trip takedown. He landed it and went to work on top in side control. He looked for an arm triangle, then jumped to mount, where he went after Castillo's arm. But he couldn't hold it and Castillo wriggled out and took Brenneman's back near the fence.
The two looked for openings on the feet, but late in the round Brenneman again took the fight to the ground, but again lost the position and Castillo finished the frame with a choke applied as time ran out.
As it turned out, Brenneman may have preferred having that choke on than what was to come in the second.
In the middle frame, there would be no takedown concerns for Castillo. With a looping right hand, he drilled Brenneman and put him to sleep with one shot. He quickly moved in, fist cocked, in case he needed more. But he didn't, as "The Spaniard" laid stiff on the canvas.
It was an emotional win for Castillo, who had Edson Barboza on the ropes in December, but couldn't finish him early and lost a decision. This time, he didn't have to worry.
"I don't know what to say," Castillo said. "I'm really thankful for being in the sport this long. It's just an amazing ride, and I could have never pictured this when I first started. I have an amazing corner. The Barboza shot was a straight right hand, and this was a looping over the top. That's what I landed, and I'm so happy."
Joseph Benavidez wins by superb submission
Joseph Benavidez had Timothy Elliott so thoroughly trapped in a guillotine choke that he couldn't even get a hand free to tap with.
With Benavidez on top of him and his arms constricted by Benavidez's legs, Elliot had to submit with his feet, flailing them on the mat until referee Mario Yamasaki called a stop to the bout at 4:08 of Round 1.
The flyweight preliminary-card bout took place at today's UFC 172 event at Maryland's Baltimore Arena. It aired on FOX Sports 1 prior to the pay-per-view main card.
Elliott got off to a fast start in this one, and had Benavidez in some trouble early on. But after Benavidez escaped from an awkward crucifix position, he began to get his own offense going on the mat.
Using what he later described as "Joe-jitsu," Benavidez managed to lock up a guillotine and jump over Elliott's half-guard, straight into a high mount that trapped Elliott's arms under Benavidez's legs. Elliott at first struggled to get an arm free to defend the choke, then to tap out and end the fight. Neither attempt was successful, but fortunately Yamasaki got the message anyway.
"That was the first time I was able to pull off the 'Joe-a-constrictor,' a submission I've worked on and attempted in modified versions in the past," Benavidez said of his finishing choke. "Even (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva said he had never seen that before in the octagon. Tim is tough, and I knew an old-fashioned punch to the face wasn't going to stop that wild man, so I had to be creative. He is an awesome opponent and that was a lot of fun out there."
Tough loss for Sacramento's Andre Fili
It looked like Max Holloway and Andre Fili would go the distance, but in the waning moments of their third round together, Holloway pulled a trick out of his bag.
After rocking Fili with punches, Holloway used a takedown attempt to secure a guillotine choke for a third-round tapout.
The featherweight bout took place at today's UFC 172 event at Maryland's Baltimore Arena. It aired on the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
The official time of stoppage was at the 3:39 mark of the frame, when Fili frantically tapped to the choke as he attempted to roll away and found himself unable to escape.
Holloway had repeatedly come out ahead in striking exchanges, forcing Fili to shoot for a takedown, where he found little success in making up the deficit on the feet. Holloway was the fresher man as the fight went into deep water and gradually wore down the highly touted Team Alpha Male product.