Tonight's (Sat., Dec. 10, 2011) UFC 140: "Jones vs. Machida" main card on pay-per-view featured a welterweight showdown pitting native Claude Patrick against longtime veteran Brian Ebersole.
Patrick had the added edge of fighting at home and was hoping to pick up his fourth consecutive victory inside the Octagon, while Ebersole was looking for his third and tenth straight win. So who kept their streak alive?
That would be "Bad Boy" Ebersole, who may have won the battle but he definitely lost the war by putting on a performance that will be forgotten before it's ever allowed to register as a memory.
After three rounds of, dare I say, back and forth action, Ebersole was awarded the split decision by cageside judges who were surely as confused as the viewers at home.
This one started out as all mixed martial arts fights do, with both fighters doing the feeling out thing. That is until Ebersole shot in for a takedown and Patrick almost took his neck home with him.
Which wouldn't have been far, considering this was held in Patrick's backyard.
A clinch game ensued, as neither fighter wanted to budge an inch. And neither did. It was bad enough that the Canadian faithful started booing about two minutes in. Ebersole eventually got the takedown, sliding Patrick's legs out from under him.
Unfortunately, he slid right into a guillotine.
Claude had it tight, or at least it looked that way. Ebersole certainly didn't act like that was the case, staying cool under the pressure of a man squeezing down on his neck. Before long the Canadian had let it go and the two went back to standing.
That's where "Bad Boy" started putting the pressure on "The Prince," pushing forward with punches that did little more than back his opponent into the fence, where they clinched once again.
And that's how they ended round one.
Patrick was persistent with his pressure to start round two. He moved in and pressed hard, which would have worked wonders had Ebersole not jumped on his two-wheeler and rode around the cage. It wasn't long until this led to -- you guessed it -- yet another clinch against the cage.
The sequence of events became fairly easy to predict. Ebersole would strike only to set up his shot, which he would lunge in with, only to have Patrick look for the guillotine, which he would let go, so they ended up clinched against the cage, pummeling for underhooks.
Both guys displayed solid takedown defense, effectively cancelling out each other's offense. This is the kind of battle fans hate but purists love. It's akin to a defensive struggle in the NFL, like a Ravens vs. Steelers game.
And those games usually end depending on which team makes the first mistake.
This fight felt very much the same. Patrick unleashed a bit of a flurry towards the end of the second stanza but Ebersole was blocking each shot with his forearms. Heading into the third it was a toss up.
Perhaps unsurprising, Ebersole wasted about two seconds before shooting for a takedown. Patrick, true to form, looked for the guillotine but couldn't find it. Then they turned and despite avoiding the takedown, Patrick ended up flat on his back.
It didn't take him long to get back up, though.
Ebersole proceeded to slam him back down and even took his back. As expected, he did absolutely nothing with it and Patrick fought his way back to pummeling for underhooks against the fence. With two minutes remaining, no one had a damn clue who the judges would be scoring this fight for.
Patrick briefly worked an arm like he was threatening a submission and even locked in a choke for a short time. All to no avail, of course, but he scored points.
Unfortunately for him, it didn't matter. Ebersole walked into the fire in his opponent's hometown and came away with yet another big victory.
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