Yesterday (Sat., July 19, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweights Ian McCall and Brad Pickett squared off on the Fight Pass main card of UFC Fight Night 46 from O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
No. 3-ranked McCall had been out of action since defeating Iliarde Santos by decision at UFC 163 in August 2013. "Uncle Creepy" was booked in bouts with Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FOX 9 and Pickett at UFC Fight Night 37, but injuries forced him to withdraw.
He finally got his chance to battle No. 9-ranked Pickett, who came in off a very solid win over tough replacement Neil Seery at UFC Fight Night 37 in early March. British "One Punch" had fought many of the best lighter weight fighters in the world, but he hadn't always won.
A win over McCall would have got Pickett right back in the mix in the relatively shallow 125-pound division. Unfortunately for "One Punch," however, it was too stiff of a challenge, as McCall returned with a vengeance in Ireland.
The fight kicked off with McCall's movement level high. He landed a good leg kick as Pickett missed on a left hook. "Uncle Creepy" went for a front headlock and landed some knees, and Pickett responded by going for a takedown on the fence. A low blow halted the action briefly, and McCall got the fight to the ground for a brief moment. The fighters clinched on the cage with Pickett doing the smothering.
McCall rushed forward with some shots, cracking Pickett. "One Punch" scored a few strikes of his own and the action went to the clinch again. McCall landed a good knee to the body before both fighters swung wildly and missed. They began finding a home for some hard punches, with Pickett looking for his uppercut as the back-and-forth first round came to a close.
Pickett pushed the pace to start the second. McCall responded with a combo, moving in and out of traffic. "Uncle Creepy" scored a very short-lived takedown and followed with an even better trip to land in the mount. Pickett got to half guard before getting back to his feet. McCall snapped a few more punches and continued moving with great efficiency. Pickett ate a body kick before another low blow, this time to "One Punch," caused a quick break.
Pickett then came out aggressive, tagging McCall with a big left hook. The fighters exchanged shots in close with McCall out landing Pickett by a hair. "One Punch" sought a single leg but couldn't secure it, and the second round closed out with McCall appearing a bit tired.
The final frame began with a body kick from McCall. Pickett was aggressive but stifled by McCall's movement. McCall danced around, staying just out of range of "One Punch's" power shots. "Uncle Creepy" landed some glancing shots and Pickett went for another takedown on the fence.
McCall then landed a straight right down the pipe and missed a takedown, getting tripped by Pickett in the process. McCall recovered to land another body kick and more punches, rushing into a strong double leg to go to work on the ground.
"Uncle Creepy's" ground game was dominant as he rained down shots from the top, sealing up an impressive unanimous decision victory as the bell sounded. McCall silenced his critics after a trying year that saw him lose good friend and training partner Shane del Rosario.
He's back in the title mix at flyweight, but his previous loss to division champion Demetrious Johnson will most likely hold him back a bit.
Still, a big fight should await "Uncle Creepy" his next time out. A match-up with John Lineker, who recently beat Alptekin Ozkilic at UFC Fight Night 45 earlier this week (July 16, 2014), would be a great opponent for McCall.
Pickett was simply baffled by McCall's movement and speed. His trademark aggression was always there, but he just couldn't find a home for his big shots. As one of the most exciting fighters in the lower weight classes, Pickett's job is safe, but at some point he's going to have start winning some fights.
He's a lackluster 2-3 in his last five bouts, and has failed against most of the top-level competition he's faced in the Octagon. A fight against No. 13-ranked Dustin Ortiz, who just beat touted newcomer Justin Scoggins at July 6's The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale, would make sense for "One Punch." The pressure is on the fan favorite slugger.
For complete UFC Fight Night 46 results and play-by-play click here.
Ian McCall made a triumphant return to the Octagon by defeating the always-tough Brad Pickett at UFC Fight Night 46. What's next for "Uncle Creepy" as he crawls back towards a 125-pound title shot?