Big hits from 'Bigfoot' highlight UFC's return

  • Article by: TOM HORGEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 6, 2012 - 12:47 PM

Antonio Silva made quick work of Travis Browne in the main event at Target Center. Earlier, two Minnesotans won in front of the home crowd.

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At UFC 152 at Target Center, Antonio Silva celebrated his heavyweight victory over Travis Browne.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship's last visit in Minneapolis -- way back in 2008 -- was essentially a coming-out party for Brock Lesnar, who would become one of the company's biggest stars.

The UFC returned to Target Center on Friday for "UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot." While the star power was considerably less, the card delivered on action with seven of the 10 bouts ending by knockout or submission. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen could be seen at ringside with a big smile on his face, joking with UFC boss Dana White. Attendance was 7,049.

The main event pitted two heavyweight behemoths against each other. The 266-pound Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva dashed the hopes of rising star Travis Browne with a big right hand. Browne, a towering figure himself at 6-7 and 246, bounced around the Octagon during the opening moments. But a looping right from Silva dropped Browne to the mat, where the Brazilian followed with punches until the referee stopped the fight at 3 minutes, 27 seconds of the first round.

The main card's other notable fight took place in the new, 125-pound flyweight division, where John Dodson won by TKO over Jussier Formiga to earn a title shot against champion Demetrious Johnson.

Minnesota showed up to fight on Friday. Two bouts featured hometown fighters, both with vaunted wrestling pedigrees. Both left the Octagon with their hands raised.

Minneapolis' Marcus LeVesseur, 30, was looking to redeem himself after losing his UFC debut in May. The former Augsburg wrestler won a split decision, but probably didn't win many new fans with a slow-burning fight against Brazil's Carlo Prater.

White Bear Lake's Jacob Volkmann, on the other hand, needed only 2:38 to finish Shane Roller by submission. Volkmann, a 32-year-old former Gophers wrestler, is a talented 155-pounder but is best known for his outspoken political views. During a post-fight interview in 2011, he famously criticized President Obama by saying, "Someone needs to knock some sense into that idiot." The comments resulted in a visit from the Secret Service.

He walked out to the Octagon on Friday wearing a T-shirt that read: "Volkmann for President."

In the cage, his campaign of violence started with a flurry of high kicks before he took Roller to the mat. Volkmann transitioned to Roller's back and secured a rear-naked choke, bringing his record to 15-3.

The UFC's in-ring interviewer didn't beat around the bush, asking Volkmann who he'd like to see win the presidential election.

"Well, first of all, I've got to win the election," Volkmann said. "Write my name in because I'm going to write my own name in."

The crowd went wild.

Etc.

• Lightweight Jeremy Stephens missed his fight after he was arrested on a felony warrant from Iowa, the Associated Press reported. Minneapolis Police spokesman Stephen McCarty said officers took Stephens, 26, into custody Friday morning at a downtown hotel. He still was in custody Friday evening.

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