The first of two recent Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winners was on display tonight (September 17, 2011) at UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans, Louisiana, as Jonathan Brookins made his first appearance outside of TUF against about as tough a featherweight as he could face.
Brookins' Octagon return had been twice delayed by injuries in training and he didn't waste any time at lightweight, instead choosing to drop down to his more natural weight class at 145-pounds.
Koch entered the fight riding three straight first round stoppages and was hoping to add Brookins to his hit list but Brookins was resilient.
The winner of TUF 12 lasted all three rounds, but would come up short via unanimous decision to Koch.
Brookins' strategy was sound, repeatedly pushing Koch into the fence and trying to wear him out with takedown attempts but he could not take Koch down.
Instead, Koch spent a majority of the fight with his back against the cage, fending off Brookins' attempts. When the fight was in the stand-up realm, Koch was clearly the more technical and sound striker. He repeatedly found a home for his left leg kick and his 1-2 punching combinations.
In the end, the judges sided with Koch with unanimous decision victory, winning via scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Brookins' strategy wasn't the most crowd-friendly but it kept him conscious for three rounds.