Ross Pearson did what he has always done following a loss: He bounced back.
Active hands, stinging leg kicks and a first-round takedown spurred “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner to a split decision over former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Paul Felder at UFC 191 “Johnson vs. Dodson 2” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Two of the three cageside judges sided with Pearson, 30-27 and 29-28, while a third struck a 29-28 scorecard for Felder.
Pearson (18-9, 10-6 UFC) countered beautifully throughout the competitive 15-minute encounter, punched well in combination and attacked his counterpart’s legs and body with kicks. Felder (10-2, 2-2 UFC) did his best work in the clinch, where he tenderized the Englishman’s midsection with wicked knees and mixed in standing elbows to the head. Pearson continued to counter deep into the fight, fought effectively while moving backward and got Felder’s attention with more than one sneaky left hook.
After a 10-0 start to his career, Felder has lost two straight.
Related » UFC 191 Round-by-Round Scoring
Lineker Guillotine Taps Rivera
Former Jungle Fight champion John Lineker tapped Francisco Rivera with a first-round guillotine in a wild undercard match at 135 pounds. Rivera (11-5, 4-4 UFC) yielded to the choke 2:08 into round one, as he lost for the third time in four appearances.
A brief feeling-out period gave way to utter insanity. The two bantamweights let loose with rights and lefts against the cage before the iron-chinned Lineker (26-7, 7-2 UFC) cut down the Californian with a left hook and swarmed with follow-up blows. Rivera eventually rose to his feet, only to be met with the guillotine choke. Lineker secured full guard, tightened his squeeze and waited for the tapout.
Lineker, 25, has won 20 of his past 22 bouts.
Pennington Choke Submits Andrade
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 qualifier Raquel Pennington submitted Jessica Andrade with a second-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary women’s bantamweight clash. A short-notice fill-in for the injured Liz Carmouche, Andrade (10-6, 4-3 UFC) conceded defeat 4:58 into round two.
Pennington (6-5, 3-2 UFC) answered multiple first-round takedowns from the Brazilian with jarring knee strikes to the body and standing elbows in close quarters. The blows appeared to rob Andrade of some her steam, as she slowed noticeably. Still, she cracked Pennington with a clean left hook in round two and snatched a guillotine choke in full guard. “Rocky” kept her cool, freed herself and then stacked Andrade beneath her, dropping punches along the way. Pennington then scrambled to her opponent’s back and cinched the fight-ending choke, avenging a March 2014 loss to the Parana Vale Tudo standout.
The 27-year-old Pennington has won two of her last three fights.
Replacement Silva Outduels Collard
Team Nogueira’s Tiago dos Santos e Silva posted his 11th win in 12 outings, as he eked out a split decision over Clay Collard in a three-round undercard scrap at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Silva (20-5-2, 2-1 UFC).
Collard (14-7, 1-3 UFC) performed well in spurts, but his throw-caution-to-the-wind style cost him valuable points throughout the 15-minute affair. He dropped Silva with a left hand in the second round and pounced with standing-to-ground punches and hammerfists, but the Pit Elevated export was never close to securing the finish and wound up in a disadvantageous position.
A short-notice replacement for the injured Andre Fili, Silva achieved to full mount in the first round, shifted to the back and had a rear-naked choke in place when the horn sounded. The Brazilian also held his own in the standup exchanges, capitalizing on Collard’s willingness to carry his hands low and his chin high.
Illegal Upkick DQs Stallings
Ron Stallings was disqualified after delivering an illegal upkick in the second round of his preliminary middleweight battle with Joe Riggs. The end came 2:28 into round two.
Stallings (13-8, 1-2 UFC) damaged the former World Extreme Cagefighting champion’s right eye with a stiff jab in the first round, continued to target the wound and had Riggs in visible distress. The MMA Lab rep responded with a takedown, only to be swept by a triangle-omaplata series from Stallings.
Perhaps sensing the dire nature of his situation, Riggs (41-16, 5-6 UFC) fired up the aggression in round two. There, he floored Stallings with an overhand left, climbed to full mount and eventually settled in half guard. Then the elbows came, one after another, as Riggs blasted and bloodied the Lloyd Irvin protégé and seemed to be closing in on a finish. Stallings responded with the upkick that led to a pause in the action and had “Diesel” requesting assistance from the cageside physician. Riggs informed him he could not see, resulting in the disqualification and his first victory inside the Octagon since Aug. 17, 2006.
Unbeaten Silva Edges Malegarie
Shooto Americas veteran Joaquim Silva kept his perfect professional record unblemished with a split decision over two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Nazareno Malegarie in a three-round undercard tilt at 155 pounds. Two of the three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Silva, while a third cast a dissenting 29-28 nod in Malegarie’s favor.
Efficient strikes and pathological forward movement spurred the unbeaten Silva (8-0, 1-0 UFC). Malegarie connected on a number of compact left hooks but nevertheless found himself in an almost perpetual backpedal; and though the Argentine executed a pair of takedowns in the second round and another in the third, he failed to consolidate any of them with damage, guard passes or submission attempts.
Silva gradually established his rhythm on the feet, ripping away with punching combinations, occasional kicks, stepping knees and even a standing elbow. By the time it was over, Malegarie (23-4, 0-1 UFC) was bleeding from multiple cuts.