Cagewriter

Roop breaks Grispi early and finishes with a body punch at TUF 13 Finale

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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LAS VEGAS - It was just 17 months ago that Josh Grispi was on the edge of a title shot against Jose Aldo. After tonight's washout against George Roop, he's faced with rebuilding his career. Roop shocked Grispi in a one-sided victory that he finished off with a body punch at the 3:14 of the third round.

Roop (12-8-1, 2-3 UFC) was a plus-290 underdog against Grispi, who was scheduled to face Aldo back at UFC 125. Aldo pulled out of that fight with an injury and a less-than-motivated Grispi lost badly to Dustin Poirier.

"I need to stop overthinking it…it's just a fight," said the disappointed Grispi. "I felt like my submission attempts were solid, but I need to go back to the drawing board.  I'm only 22 and I've got time to grow in this sport."

Roop needed a win after losing badly against UFC featherweight title challenger Mark Hominick.

"It feels good to finally get a win. It's been a struggle here lately, and it feels good to get this behind me," Roop said. "My gameplan worked and I'm happy about my performance, but there's still work to do. Finishing the fight that way was incredible. I hadn't planned for it happen like that. it's nice to have that light at the end of the tunnel of a hard training camp."

Grispi (14-3, 0-2 UFC) wanted no part of the taller Roop on the feet so he embarked on a journey to make it into a ground fight. Roop went down often over the first four minutes, but wouldn't allow Grispi to settle into a dominant position. Roop's resistance seemed to break Grispi mentally as the first round closed.

It prompted Grispi's corner to chastise him and tell the New Englander not to quit on himself. The tongue-lashing did little to change Grispi's demeanor. He was taken down early in the second and didn't get back to his feet until less than 30 seconds were left in the round.

Grispi was exhausted and without answers in the final round. Roop came out with a great front kick to the bread basket that knocked Grispi off his feet. Grispi got up, but could barely hold his hands up. Roop trapped him on the cage and landed the fight ending body shot with a right from long distance.

Stephens mauls Downes, but the youngster shows massive heart

Jeremy Stephens pulled out all the stops against Danny Downes, but couldn't finish the kid fighting out of the Milwaukee area. Downes was slammed, busted open and nearly had his shoulder ripped off as Stephens rolled to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27, 30-26, 30-26, in fight No. 6 of the night at the TUF 13 Finale.{ysp:more}

"Danny had nothing to lose tonight and everything to gain.  I knew he would be inspired to leave it all out on the table," Stephens said.  "Next,  I'm going to head back home to San Diego and get right back in the gym and work a lot on my wrestling, as well as all my areas, and wait for the call."

Downes, 25, was overmatched much of the way. Stephens is the same age, but the experience gap is massive. He's been in some wars against high level lightweights like Spencer Fisher, Joe Lauzon and Melvin Guillard.

It took a few minutes to get inside Downes' reach advantage, but once he did, Stephens starting pummeling him with combinations. Stephens (20-6, 7-5 UFC) doubled-up on right hand shots. He'd begin three-punch combos with a nasty body shot. The lead left hook and lead uppercuts were effective as well.

In the second, Stephens looked to ground the fight. He got Downes (8-2, 0-1 UFC) in a kimura that appeared to be shredding the kid's left shoulder. Downes survived the painful hold for nearly 30 seconds, drawing a huge roar from the crowd.

"I was trying to get him to tap out.  I heard the arm pop a few times and even told the referee I thought it was broke.  Danny was really tough," said Stephens.

In the final round, Stephens busted open a cut over Downes' left eye. The fight closed with Stephens taking Downes' back and locking on a rear-naked choke with less than 10 seconds left. Downes nearly tapped with two seconds left, but refused to bow out of the fight. When it ended, Stephens gave him a pat of respect on the head.

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