Veteran Diego Sanchez may have ended his two-fight losing skid, but it came in highly-controversial fashion at UFC Fight Night 42. “The Nightmare” was seemingly the beneficiary of a hometown split-decision victory over Ross Pearson.
It appeared as though the English fighter had been the more accurate striker and had done the most damage during their spirited three-round lightweight contest, but in the end, it wasn’t reflected where it mattered most. Two judges had Sanchez taking the contest by scores of 30-27 and 29-28 while the other scorecard favored “The Real Deal” by a 30-27 count.
Pearson showcased his technical striking skills in countering Sanchez’s wild flurries during the course of the contest. He dropped Sanchez in the second round with a strong right hand and landed solid kicks throughout. He showed a diversified attack in mixing things up to the head and body with his strikes. Pearson’s defensive game was also rock solid.
Sanchez, as always, showed off his warrior’s spirit, was bloodied and fought to the bitter end, but it appeared as though he was on his way to a third-straight loss for the first time in his entertaining career. The surprise decision in favor of the Albuquerque, N.M. native changed all of that. Sanchez improved to 25-7 with the victory.
The Season 1 winner of The Ultimate Fighter is now lobbying to face Nate Diaz at UFC 180 in Mexico City. That would have the potential to be produce yet another exciting Sanchez matchup. Diaz hasn’t fought since destroying Gray Maynard at the TUF 18 Season finale and his striking skills would be a major test for Sanchez to contend with at this stage of his career.
As for Pearson, it’s definitely a tough pill to swallow after what appeared to have been a winning performance. It’s his second-straight unsatisfactory Octagon result after a no-contest at Fight Night 30 against Melvin Guillard. Pearson’s all-around game seems to be evolving and he should receive another high-profile opportunity after such a questionable result.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.