Ireland’s Cathal Pendred remains unbeaten following victory over Russian Gasan Umalatov at UFC Fight Night 53.
Pendred was under plenty of pressure during three close rounds but eventually came out on top in a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The Irishman started well and looked set for a take-down but his opponent was plucky and looked the more dangerous at times.
“It wasn’t the fight I really wanted to be honest,” Pendred said. “I felt like he was more of a counter guy and that I had to push the pace the whole time. I just tried to push as much as I could without going into his game. I think I did the best I could.”
The big story of the night was Gunnar ‘Gunni’ Nelson’s split decision loss to Rick Story.
Story’s best moments came late in the fight, including a left hook that dropped Nelson early in the fourth round. Story stood over Nelson’s guard and looked for opportunities to finish, but eventually motioned him to get back to his feet.
Story claimed his first back-to-back victories in four years and he paid tribute to Nelson’s resilience afterwards.
“He’s definitely quick, and normally when you hit opponents, you get an expression. He’s got the toughest poker face in the game,” he said. “No emotion.”
Nelson, who had won 13 consecutive bouts heading into the contest, did not dispute the decision.
“I’ll have to go back to training camp and see where I go from there,” he said. “I definitely am going to learn so much from this fight. I think everything happens and you take it and learn from it. I’m happy with this fight and glad for Rick Story. I knew it was a pretty close fight, but I’m happy with the decision.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved