Boston’s John “Doomsday” Howard got a much needed win in welterweight action, snapping a three-fight losing streak with an uneventful split decision victory over Dublin’s Cathal Pendred.
“I knew my opponent was a good grappler and I feared the takedown so I didn’t let my hands go like I wanted to,” Howard said. “I didn’t think his striking would be as good as mine and I was correct, but he’s strong in the clinch. His strength really surprised me; I didn’t think he’d be nearly as strong. I need to go back to camp, I’m with a new team now, Sityodtong, and work on a lot of things. A lot of improvement is needed.”
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Howard, now 23-11; Pendred, who lost for the first time in five UFC outings, falls to 17-4-1.
“It was difficult for me tonight,” Pendred said. “John made it hard for me to do what we had planned on. I felt I would have the biggest advantage in the grappling but he was hard to hold down. He has great hips and he’s stronger than he looks. Hat’s off to him. It was his night and I’ll come back better.”
With the crowd roaring, Pendred thought about a flying knee at the outset, but Howard wasn’t buying it. The much bigger Pendred did take an early lead behind solid clinch work though, smothering Howard’s attempts at letting his hands go at close range. When the two did exchange, Howard held the edge against the wilder Pendred, but the Irishman would quickly look for a clinch when things got too dicey.
In the second, Howard began getting his offense in gear both at distance and in the clinch, and Pendred’s offense slowed in response. The action wasn’t going to win any Fight of the Night awards, and even the Irish fans quieted as the round progressed, especially as Howard tagged their man with a couple hard punches at the end of the round.
Told by coach John Kavanagh that he was down two rounds, Pendred needed a big round in the final frame, and in his best offensive move of the fight, he nearly sunk in a guillotine choke midway through. Howard patiently worked free and the two got back to their feet, but the offensive attacks from both only came sporadically, “Doomsday” holding the edge thanks to harder blows to the head.