Brad Pickett managed to eek out a split decision victory over Francisco Rivera tonight at UFC Fight Night 84 in what was a ‘must-win’ fight for the Brit.
Pickett misses on a leg kick to start. Again he doesn’t find the target as they circle each other. Rivera to the body with a kick and a brief, scrappy exchange in close.
Leg kick for Rivera. Left hook connects to the jaw for Pickett. Another leg kick for Rivera and now one in return for Pickett.
Pickett threatening with the right hand and then lands a left to the body.
Rivera works behind the jab. Both men exchange in close. Rivera with a few nice punches and he drops Pickett with a left hook. The Brit gets back up though. Rivera landing again.
90 seconds of the round remaining. Pickett with a low leg kick. Rivera with an uppercut and Pickett looks a little rocked again. Pickett still up for exchanging blows toe-to-toe though, but he’s not coming out on top.
Pickett with a right hook, Rivera responds with a punch of his own and his legs give out for a moment. Rivera rights himself and continues to throw down. Rivera’s legs go out from under him for a second too. Exciting action here to end the round, but Rivera’s landing the bigger shots overall.
Back to entertaining exchanges eary in the second round. Pickett lands a leg kick and rolls under a punch too.
Another leg kick from Pickett. Right hand for Rivera. Another lands for him, throwing straight down the pipe rather than his favored hooks this time.
Body kick for Rivera. Pickett with a single leg takedown and lands it. Rivera working from butterfly guard, but Pickett improves to half guard. Rivera does nicely to shuck him off though and get back to his feet with half the round remaining.
Right hand for Rivera. Pickett misses with his own strike and resets, landing a leg kick. Nice body shot from Pickett.
Rivera threatens with a front kick upstairs. Hard leg kick for Rivera. Question mark kick for him doesn’t pay off.
Both men missing a few strikes now. Spinning kick attempt from pickett. Pickett misses with an overhand and Rivera moves underneath and lands a takedown. Pickett right back up though.
Left hook from Pickett lands low to the groin instead of the body and forces a stoppage. Rivera ok though after walking it off for a couple of minutes.
Final 10 seconds and they both unleash punches and kicks, with Pickett getting through with a nice left hand in amongst the frenzied activity.
Not much landing early in the final round, then Pickett is in on a takedown attempt. Down on his knees Pickett continues working for this against the cage. Rivera tries to reverse the position, but is unsuccessful and Pickett uses the momentum to drive hard and finally land the takedown.
Pickett in side control. He opts to work from half guard now. He needs to use this position to his advantage, but Rivera is locking him down and before he can really land offense the ref stands them for inactivity.
A little over two minutes to go. Leg kick for Rivera. One for Pickett and Rivera returns. Body kick for Pickett, but Rivera catches it and lands a couple of punches before letting it go.
Rivera tries for a single leg and lands it. Pickett with elbows from the bottom. Pickett with upkicks to get space and then stands.
Rivera with a nice right hand. Pickett in on the takedown against the cage and despite Rivera holding on to the cage he lands a big slam.
Pickett in side control. Final 10 seconds and he’s just happy to settle for being on top at the end.
Pickett worked hard to win that final round and it’s paid off for him as he’s won by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29), ending a three fight losing streak. Afterwards he admits that he was considering retiring if he had lost tonight.