Ross Pearson, winner The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9, was making the drop to featherweight for the first time on the final Spike TV preliminary fight ever on the UFC 141: "Lesnar vs. Overeem" undercard against tough Brazilian veteran Junior Assuncao.
While "The Real Deal" was hoping to dominate with his constant forward pressure, it was Assuncao who frustrated him repeatedly by constantly moving backward on his bicycle and occasionally attacking with clinch and takedown attempts.
Pearson had serious issues finding his range early, not landing anything significant in the first round.
In round two, Pearson came out hot, dropping the Brazilian with a stiff jab and keeping the heat on him with constant pressure. Assuncao responded with strong jabs and attempts to take the fight to the ground, but the second was clearly Pearson's.
In the third and final frame, Assuncao took Pearson down early, but he couldn't keep his momentum, allowing Pearson to get back to his feet and control him in both the clinch and the striking department.
The newly debuting featherweight kept up the pressure, putting Assuncao on the ropes at the end of the fight with big flurries of strikes which may have sealed the deal in the judges' eyes.
In the end, Pearson's late offense was enough as he was awarded a unanimous decision victory, proving that the drop to featherweight was a smart choice.
It will be interesting to see how "The Real Deal" performs moving forward at the 145 pound division.
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