Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight prospects Court McGee and Robert Whittaker threw down in a technical brawl on the main card of UFC Fight Night 27 last night (Aug. 28, 2013). Both are former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) contract winners, and they proved why from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Both fighters threw and ate a ton of shots, but ultimately McGee edged out the split decision victory. Let's take a look at how McGee impressed with a hard-nosed win.
McGee came out of the gate with a variety of strikes, mixing it up with punches, knees, and both low and high kicks. He landed some good flurries early. Whittaker countered with a good jab of his own, and briefly dropped McGee with a stiff hook. McGee capitalized on a takedown attempt but he couldn't keep Whittaker stuck to the mat for long. All told, McGee put in a ton of volume to out-land his opponent. Whittaker appeared to have lost the round, but he exhibited the poise of a fighter much older than 22 years.
As the second round kicked off, McGee really picked up the pace with his strikes, rocking his younger opponent with a right hand to have him in trouble. Whittaker recovered surprisingly well and fought back with his own elbows and kicks, opening up a cut on McGee's eye. Undeterred, McGee continued pressing forward looking for multiple takedowns, but Whittaker successfully defended the attacks.
The last frame began with Whittaker looking sharp. The Australian had his timing down, and was scoring with the right elbow and left hook. Not to be outdone, McGee kept coming forward relentlessly, throwing every strike in the book towards Whittaker, backing him up with a spinning back kick and some short punches. Just when it appeared that Whittaker would find his rhythm, McGee stifled him his with his non-stop striking output. McGee put a stamp on the bout by fighting hard up until the final bell.
The fight was a war, but it had a ton of technical expertise in both striking and wrestling defense. McGee earned a split decision victory over Whittaker on the judges' scorecards, but credit is still due to Whittaker for hanging tough with a grizzled veteran. The TUF: The Smashes winner will likely learn a lot from his loss to McGee, and good things should be on the horizon for the promising prospect.
But McGee was the man of the hour tonight; implementing a super active pace and mixing up his strikes unlike any other performance we've seen from him before. It appears that McGee has righted the ship after losing two out of his previous three bouts, and there are some good fights for him at Welterweight right now.
Not many fighters will be in a rush to slug it out with the improving McGee, but a bout against someone like a healthy Thiago Alves could prove to be both a good gauge and an exciting bout for the fans. Another fellow TUF winner, newly minted Welterweight Kelvin Gastelum, could also be a potentially great opponent for the rising McGee.
Let us know your thoughts on this exciting war. What should be next for Court McGee and Robert Whittaker?