Both fighters had momentum heading into the mixed martial arts (MMA) bout. Parke had won eight fights in a row and an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract on TUF: "Smashes." Tuck arrived with a perfect (7-0) record. Hailing from northern Ireland, Parke put on a good show for nearby British fans, but he didn't do it the way most would have expected.
Parke has taken his all-around game to a new level under the tutelage of Alliance MMA head coach Eric del Fierro. He showed that with his improved striking in Manchester. Let's take a look at how Parke got the job done last night:
The fight began tentatively with a feeling-out process. Tuck soon began to open up his striking game, finding a home for a variety of crisp Muay Thai strikes. His hands were accurate and his knees looked effective. Not to be outdone, Parke fought back with several countering lefts down the pipe.
Parke signaled for an eye poke, but it was found that it was a punch that hit his eye. As the first round came to a close, Parke scored the fight's first takedown with a takedown.
In the second, Parke picked up the pace with some combinations. Tuck noticeably slowed and began to back up. Parke baited his opponent and continued to land repeated lefts. It was a one-sided frame that saw little offense from Tuck. In the last round Parke continued to stalk his opponent. Tuck showed little movement - making him an easy target. Parke put on an impressive striking clinic to earn the clear unanimous decision victory.
With both fighters known for their submission prowess, this fight turned into a standup war. Tuck looked a little bit out of his league. His conditioning was nowhere near that of Parke, who deserves high praise for his constant output of polished strikes. With nine wins in a row, Parke will receive a noted step up in competition for his next bout. He has apparently refined his standup game to match his grappling, making "Stormin" a potential dark horse at 155 pounds.
Parke has the conditioning to contend with the big names at lightweight. It's clear that he is willing to throw hands for three full rounds, so a fight against another gritty opponent like Pat Healy makes sense for Parke. With a few more wins in the Octagon, Parke will have some serious heat surrounding him. He's already won three straight so the near future will prove if he will be a true contender or not.
The loss is disappointing for Tuck, but it's hardly devastating. He still sits at 7-1 and will take an important lesson from his defeat. He'll need to focus on his conditioning if he wants to contend in UFC; he looked way too tired to even attempt a takedown in the second and third rounds. The ground could have been where he did more damage - but he never even looked to take it there. The 23-year-old Tuck has good potential so he should rebound soon.
"Stormin" Norman Parke taught Jon Tuck a lesson at UFN 30 last night. With three UFC wins to his name, is he ready to swim with the sharks at lightweight?