Melvin Guillard bested Jeremy Stephens in the night’s opener, but it was Sean Sherk and Evan Dunham that lit up the crowd.
Dunham started out strong, sinking two deep guillotine chokes in the opening round as Sherk shot in for takedowns, but Sherk slipped out of both.
“I was breathing. All the chokes were very tight. I have a big neck. I’m very hard to choke, ask all my training partners,” said Sherk after the fight.
“The Muscle Shark” finished strong in the opening stanza, however, putting Dunham on his back, and opening up a huge gash over his right eye with a sharp elbow.
Sherk continued shooting the takedown in rounds two and three, successful numerous times in round two, but not as much in the third, but it was Dunham using his distinct reach advantage to outbox Sherk. The Oregonian also mixed in an assortment of knees – especially in round three – and an array of kicks to keep Sherk from gaining any momentum on his feet.
Dunham pressed especially hard in the latter half of round three, leaving Sherk on wobbly legs for the last part of the round, but it wasn’t enough in the eyes of the judges.
Two of the judges scored it 29-28 for Sherk, and one scored it 29-28 for Dunham. The former UFC lightweight champion gets the win and Dunham gets the first loss of his professional career.
“I knew I had the first round, second was close, third round was close. I thought it could have went either way,” Sherk later admitted.
Dunham felt the same, “You never can tell what the judges are thinking. I really didn’t know. I was having fun, but I didn’t know.”