Josh Koscheck won a split decision against Mike Pierce tonight at UFC 143 in an extremely closely fought fight that could easily have gone the other way.
The first round was evenly contested as the two men looked to test each other in both the striking and in the clinch.
The most notable action came during a toe-to-toe exchange in the second half of the round as both men traded hard blows, but were unable to make the other man buckle in the process.
The second round was similar, though there seemed to be a little more urgency about Pierce’s work and he appeared to be landing more frequently. Unfortunately for him he was sporting the most damage however due to an unfortunate head clash during an exchange of punches that left him bleeding from a cut to the side of his head in the hairline.
Koscheck’s best moment came late in the round when he suddenly changed things up and shot for a lightning quick takedown which he secured, but was unable to take advantage of.
Onto the third and Pierce returned the favor by getting Koscheck down in the opening minute, but he was almost immediately back to his feet.
After some more even stand-up exchanges Koscheck looked to get one of his own, but Pierce defended it well.
More striking followed and Pierce’s shots again seem to be landing heavier and cleaner. Then Koscheck inadvertently poked Pierce in the eye, causing a brief break in the action and a last warning for Koscheck.
After the restart Koscheck came on a little stronger, landing a nice combination of punches and then shooting in for another takedown which he completed, but as with the others it was only for a brief moment.
The fight ended with the two engaged in the clinch with Pierce breaking free just before the bell and landing a nice elbow which appeared to catch Koscheck by surprise, but there wasn’t enough time for anything to develop from it and it was now down to the judges to choose a winner.
This was certainly a close one, and the judges scorecards reflected that, with two opting for Koscheck 29-28, while another saw it 29-28 in Pierce’s favor.
And so Koscheck scrapes by this bout by the skin of his teeth, but it certainly wasn’t one of his better performances and Pierce showed once again that he is good enough to hang with some of the best fighters the division has to offer.