As Nick Ring walked into the cage in front of a packed house on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal at UFC 158, he did so with a slowed, relaxed stroll that saw him interacting with fans and singing along to his entrance song.
And when it came time for Ring to meet his opponent Chris Camozzi in the center of the vaunted Octagon, that relaxed approach may have cost him when the scorecards were read.
Camozzi (19-5) earned his sixth win in the company as he defeated Ring (13-2) via split decision. With the win, Camozzi outlasted the relaxed Ring to earn his fourth win in a row.
The opening frame saw Ring pepper Camozzi with a variety of leg kicks and jabs. Hands down and near his side, Ring moved laterally and confused his opponent for the majority of the round. Throughout the round Camozzi tried to fire off his counter left hook, but was falling short.
By the start of the second round, Camozzi was beginning to get through the slowed defense of Ring. As Camozzi pressured, Ring became susceptible to haymakers and the increasing pressure from the Colorado native. By the end of the round, it was evident that momentum had shifted and the lax Ring was in danger of losing his second career fight.
As the third round started, the pace quickened for Camozzi. He smelled blood in the water and upped the pressure on Ring, at one point taking his back from the standing position. With his mouthpiece hanging on the edge of his lips, a visibly winded Ring tried to mount a late push, but by the time the final horn sounded, it was obvious to most that Camozzi had taken the fight handily.
Post-fight a victorious Camozzi acknowledged that pushing Ring into the later rounds was a focal point coming into camp.
“I trained to speed up each round,” he explained. “I always wanted to finish faster than I started.”
Camozzi also acknowledged that it took him a while to adapt to Ring’s style and approach in the first round.
“We watched some of his fights and he moves quite a bit,” Camozzi said. “I thought I did enough to win, but you never know when you leave it in the hands of the judges.”