Dunham used his length and kicks in the early going to keep Pearson on the outside. He nearly finished the fight in the opening round via arm bar. After securing a takedown and taking Pearson’s back, Dunham transitioned to an arm bar. He extended Pearson’s left arm, but the Englishman squirmed his way out the submission attempt.
“I went for the arm. I was surprised that he didn’t tap, but not too surprised because he’s tough,” said the 33-year-old American after the fight.
Dunham quickly changed levels and put Pearson on the canvas in the opening seconds of the second frame. He again took Pearson’s back and applied a body lock to immobilize his opponent. Heading into the final round, Dunham was in complete control of the fight.
Pearson fended off Dunham’s takedown attempts in the final frame, but Dunham was relentless with his pressure. He didn’t allow Pearson any space to work his striking game.
After fifteen minutes of fighting, Dunham emerged as the clear-cut winner. Two of the three judges scored the fight 30-27 in his favor.
“Ross is a tough dude. He hits hard, so I’d be dumb to play into his game,” said Dunham following the win. “I’ve been around in this sport for a while, so I decided to go the smart route and try to grapple because I knew I was a better grappler.”
Dunham executed his game plan perfectly, and said he’ll fight whomever the UFC decides to put in front of him next instead of calling out a specific fighter.
“I consider myself a journeyman, a fighter’s fighter, so they’ll just call me and tell me a name and I’ll be there,” he said.