The UFC 143: "Diaz vs. Condit" main card taking place tonight (Sat., Feb. 4, 2012) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, featured a welterweight co-main event pitting bad boy Josh Koscheck against wannabe contender Mike Pierce.
The story was simple heading into the bout. "Kos" is a veteran with a big name and solid resume who is looking to get paid and get some big fights before he bails on the sport while Pierce is a slightly younger guy looking to put a big name under his belt on his way to a title shot, assuming he can get there.
If tonight was any indication, he's still got a ways to go.
That's because he struggled mightily to handle the mediocre striking and solid wrestling of Koscheck, who himself didn't look exactly like a dominant force. This fight certainly did little to make fans believe either man is anywhere near the level of Georges St. Pierre, Carlos Condit or Nick Diaz. Right?
It wasn't much of a shock when Pierce opened with a strong right hand and immediately ducked low for a takedown, leading to a clinch against the cage and a stalemate that Las Vegas was none too pleased with.
Regardless, strategy is key in close match-ups like this and Pierce working dirty boxing inside the clinch was clearly something he wanted to establish early.
They reset eventually but ended up right back where they started at, this time initiated by Koscheck, who looked somewhat tentative to engage. Perhaps the orbital bone break still haunts him?
Any thought of that seemed to go out the window when he took a few shots to give a few himself and started leaving his hands low, showing no respect for Pierce's power.
The opening frame came to a close with neither fighter having truly asserted themselves. Indeed, both corners told their fighters the round was far too close and they needed to step their game up.
Again, though, neither fighter truly established himself in the second stanza either. The most exciting action actually came when Herb Dean warned Koscheck to stop striking with an open glove. He didn't heed the warning but did execute a takedown shortly after, perhaps remembering that he's a champion wrestler.
Still, heading into the final round, it was far too close for comfort ... for anyone.
Pierce tried to bridge the gap (or further it, depending on his thought process at the time) by earning a takedown to start the third. But he failed to do anything with it and essentially had it negated when Koscheck popped back up to his feet.
Then again, points are points and in a fight when judges don't have much to score, it's all important.
Speaking of which, Koscheck continued pushing his hands out with his fingers extended, leading to an eye poke that Dean very well could have used to take a point away.
But he didn't and with that, "Kos" took home an uninspiring split decision victory.
Don't forget to check out our complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the main card action, which is currently rolling right along on pay-per-view. Click here for all the coverage you need of the UFC 143 event.