The UFC 141 Prelims Live on Spike TV featured two battles in the lighter weight classes of the UFC, the featherweight class and lightweight division. Both were full of back and forth action, but neither produced the fight ending fireworks that many expected.
Ross Pearson and Junior Assuncao were both looking to make a splash at UFC 141, but much of the fight ended up cancelling each other out.
Pearson, making his featherweight debut, entered the fight as the classic striker to Assuncao’s more grappling oriented style. From the opening, both held true to their styles, Pearson controlling the better part of the fight on the feet, Assuncao on the mat and in the takedown arena.
It was Pearson, however, who was better able to negate more of his opponent’s strongpoints, stuffing several of Assuncao’s takedowns, and getting back up to his feet quickly when the fight did hit the mat.
What really sealed the deal for Pearson were two points in the fight, where he was able to wobble Assuncao.
Midway through the second round, he put Assuncao down to one knee with a stiff jab, leaving him shaky when he regained his footing. And then again in the third round, he stunned Assuncao, if only momentarily.
The judges saw enough to hand the unanimous decision to Pearson in his first featherweight fight, putting the Brit back on the winning track.
This was another classic striker vs. grappler battle, harkening back to the earlier days of the UFC. It was no surprise that Anthony Njokuani did all he could to keep the fight on the feet, where he could utilize his Muay Thai skills. Danny Castillo, in the same vein, was constantly working to put the fight on the mat.
Castillo started out strong, not taking long in the opening round before securing several takedowns. He did a good job controlling the fight in the beginning, but Njokuani did well to counter that in round two.
Njokuani finally got his Thai clinch working well in the second, punishing Castillo several times with knees to the body. He rocked Castillo in the latter half of the round and moved in to try and finish. Castillo, however, did what any good wrestler would do and dove for Njokuani’s legs, securing a takedown in defense, surviving the round.
The final round was all Castillo, smothering Njokuani with takedowns, controlling where the fight took place for the majority of the closing five minutes.
In the end, there was no flash and dash finish, but Castillo did enough to secure a split decision victory, although he didn’t exactly agree with the scoring.
“I thought it was close,” he told UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan, “but not controversial.”