Wiuff tops Monson in main event of mixed martial arts battle
By Ben Pherson
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
MINNEAPOLIS — Rochester mixed martial artist Travis "Diesel" Wiuff scored one of the biggest wins of his career Saturday at Target Center.
Wiuff was fighting Jeff "The Snowman" Monson in the main event of the Xtreme Kombat League's "Evolution II: Mayhem in Minneapolis."
Monson is an Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran who fought for the UFC heavyweight title in 2006.
On Saturday, Wiuff was able stay out of trouble and controlled enough of the fight to walk away with a split-decision victory over Monson.
There was a huge difference in the way each judge scored the fight. One judge gave all three rounds to Wiuff, scoring it 30-27 in his favor. Another judge awarded all three rounds to Monson, scoring it 30-27 for The Snowman. The third judge scored it 29-28 for Wiuff.
Wiuff was very happy with his performance. His goal was to avoid going to the ground with Monson, who's one of the best heavyweight jiu-jitsu practioners in the world.
"The game plan worked," Wiuff said. "Obviously, I didn't want to go to the ground, and I definitely didn't want to be underneath Jeff Monson. I was able to avoid his takedowns."
Wiuff said he focused on using his jab more effectively prior to this fight.
"Honestly, when I would be sparring in practice, I wouldn't even use my right hand; I'd only throw jabs," Wiuff said. "Monson's hands aren't bad, he just doesn't let them go very often."
Wiuff said he was never hurt in the fight, though Monson did land a few decent punches.
There was a very slow pace during the first two rounds, and neither fighter landed any power punches. Wiuff appeared to win the first round, only because he was able to push Monson against the cage and keep him there for much of the round.
The second round was almost exactly the same, though Wiuff did secure one brief takedown.
Monson landed some decent punches in the third, but Wiuff scored a takedown late in the round.
"It feels really good to get this one," Wiuff said. "I'll probably take a couple days off and get back after it."
Wiuff has another fight scheduled for May 21 in Boston, an event that will be on pay-per-view.
More than 3,000 fans showed up to watch Saturday's event, which featured nine UFC veterans fighting at the Target Center.
"This was a great night," Wiuff said. "I wish there were a few more people here, but the fights were great."
Wiuff improved to 60-14 in his career.