Lightweight veteran Evan Dunham avoided a brawl and stuck to the basics in his UFC Fight Night co-main event against British standout Ross Pearson Saturday, winning a clear-cut three round unanimous decision over “The Real Deal” at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Ross is a tough dude, he hits hard, and so I’d be dumb to just play into his game,” Dunham said. “I’ve been around the sport for a while, so I decided to go the smart route and try to grapple with him because I knew I was the better grappler.”
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28.
Dunham (16-6) had success catching Pearson with high kicks as the bout began, the Brit walking right through them. In the second minute, Dunham was able to take the bout to the mat, but only briefly. The second time around though, Dunham took his opponent’s back and looked for the choke. While he did that, he fired off strikes and Pearson did the same thing. Suddenly, with a minute left, Dunham transitioned into an armbar and it looked like the fight was over, but Pearson miraculously escaped and got back to his feet as the crowd erupted.
Opening the second round with another takedown, Dunham kept the upper hand both on the mat and against the fence when the two rose, and it was an even more dominant frame than the first one, as Dunham put Pearson (19-9, 1 NC) in a position where he needed a finish in the final round to get the win.
Pearson’s takedown defense was solid when he needed it in the third round, as he tossed Dunham’s attempts off, but the Brit was still being controlled along the fence, allowing the Las Vegan to grind out an important win.
DUFFY vs. JORGE
Lightweight up and comer Joseph Duffy continued to impress in his bout against Ivan Jorge, submitting the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in the first round to move to 2-0 in the Octagon.
Dominating on the feet, Duffy did get slowed down a bit when Jorge was able to tie him up against the fence, but when “Batman” scored a sloppy takedown on Duffy, the Irishman locked up a triangle choke immediately, forcing Jorge to tap out at the 3:05 mark.
Donegal’s Duffy improves to 14-1; Santa Catarina’s Jorge falls to 26-5.
CALDERWOOD vs. CASEY
With all of Glasgow behind her, hometown favorite Joanne Calderwood made her fans happy with a three-round unanimous decision victory over newcomer Cortney Casey, but it wasn’t without some adversity, as the late replacement rocked the strawweight contender early before “JoJo” roared back to win the exciting 15-minute battle.
“This has been a really tough fight camp for me, so it’s great to get the win,” Calderwood said. “This is the least nervous I’ve been; I’ve been so excited for this fight. I just enjoyed it – I’ve always been a slow starter. I was just enjoying it so much out there. As long as I put on a good performance for the fans, that’s all I want."
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28.
Smiling as the bout began, Calderwood lost that look almost immediately, as the aggressive Casey (4-2) rocked her and landed a series of flush blows. Calderwood wisely tied her opponent up against the fence, Casey trying for a flying armbar but winding up on her back on the mat. Both fighters stayed busy on the ground, the crowd roaring for everything Calderwood did, but Casey perhaps landing the harder blows.
Calderwood (10-1) showed off her Muay Thai attack as the second frame opened, and she got off a variety of solid shots before taking her opponent to the mat. Only there briefly, Calderwood stood, fired off another series of strikes, and then it was back to the ground, where she went on to extend her lead before another impressive stand-up display before the horn.
After some heated exchanges to start the final round, a kick to the stomach dropped Casey and almost brought an end to the fight, but the gutsy Hawaii product weathered up Calderwood’s follow-up attack and made it back to her feet and back into the fight. Fatigue had taken its toll on Casey though, and it was up to Calderwood to simply finish strong and get back in the win column after suffering the first loss of her career against Maryna Moroz in April.
Casey replaced the injured Bec Rawlings in the strawweight bout.
EDWARDS vs. PAWLAK
British welterweight Leon Edwards made it two straight in the Octagon, nearly stopping tough Polish product Pawel Pawlak before settling for a shutout three-round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
Pawlak did a good job of moving in and out on Edwards, staying just out of the range of the Brit’s bombs. In the second minute, Edwards locked up with the Polish prospect against the fence, but it was Pawlak doing all the work on the inside, as he landed several hard knees before the two broke. After another lockup, the action stalled, prompting a restart from referee Leon Roberts.
A left kick to the head by Edwards started off the scoring for round two, but Pawlak flurried back, showing that he wasn’t hurt. Edwards was having success throughout the frame though, and he finished strong with some solid ground work as well.
A minute into round three, Pawlak was sent to the canvas by a vicious left kick to the head by Edwards, who quickly moved in for the finish. Remarkably, Pawlak weathered the storm, but “Rocky” remained in the top position, where he stayed for a bit, adding more points to his tally before standing and riding out the clock and the victory.
With the win, Birmingham’s Edwards ups his record to 10-2; Pawlak falls to 11-2.
RAY vs. MAFRA
The main card couldn’t have gotten off to a better star for Stevie Ray and Scottish fans, as the lightweight up and comer from Fife knocked out Brazil’s Leonardo Mafra in the first round.
After some competitive back and forth action to open the bout, the southpaw Ray caught Mafra with a short right hook with just under three minutes remaining, and despite slugging back in an effort to get back in the fight, the Brazilian never recovered, with the final left hand that dropped him to the mat prompting referee Marc Goddard to stop the fight at 2:30 of the first.
Ray moves to 18-5; Santa Catarina’s Mafra falls to 12-3.