Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Sheldon Wescott and Pawel Pawlak scrapped yesterday (April 11, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 64 inside the Krakow Arena in Krakow, Poland.
After an impressive run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Wescott fell to Elias Theodorou in the finale. Due to that loss, the Canadian scrapper was in a must-win position if he wanted to continue competing inside the Octagon.
Similarly, Pawlak put together an impressive undefeated record before getting beaten up in his UFC debut. Though he's on of the few Polish fighters on the roster, Pawlak's career was also at risk if the fight did not go his way.
Wescott immediately forced his way into the clinch and showed no intentions of giving Pawlak any space. After securing the body lock, Wescott chained together takedown attempts and knee strikes, though Pawlak did an excellent job keeping his balance.
Though Pawlak was able to remain standing for much of the opening frame, Wescott was physically overpowering him and keeping him against the fence. Even when Pawlak managed to hit a reversal and land on top, Wescott was quick to scramble back to his feet and force his opponent into the fence once more.
Neither man did much damage, but Wescott clearly had the advantage after the first five minutes.
To start the second round, Pawlak scored with a hard knee before being forced into the fence. For about three minutes, Wescott continued to try to force a clinch battle to little effect. Eventually, the referee separated the fighters.
After the separation, Pawlak began connecting on his strikes. When Wescott got sloppy in the clinch, Pawak was able to throw him down to the mat and landed in side control. Then, the Polish scrapper spent the rest of round in top position.
Heading into the third, it was likely all tied up.
Pawlak was clearly in better shape in the final round, as his punches connected cleanly and more often. The two again traded positions in the clinch, but Wescott's former strength had left him, allowing Pawlak to toss him down to the mat once again.
For much of the remaining time, Pawlak landed elbows from the top. Wescott made his way back to his feet with about 20 seconds left, but Pawlak continued to push the pace with a series of hard kicks.
By the end of the bout, the decision for Pawlak was unanimous.
This was a strong performance for Pawlak. His defensive wrestling appeared much improved, as he largely nullified Wescott's constant pressure and clinch takedown attempts. There's still work to be done -- he gave up the body lock far too easily -- but it was much better than his debut opposite Sobotta.
In addition, Pawlak made sure to capitalize whenever his opponent gave him space to work. Each time there was separation, Pawlak was stepping forward with punches or landing powerful kicks. This made Wescott desperate to return to the clinch, which definitely tired him out a bit.
With this win, Pawlak regains some of the prospect status that he initially accompanied him into the UFC. He still should be brought along slowly against low level welterweights, but his overall improvements were quite promising for such a young fighter.
Wescott was utterly ineffective in this bout. Even when given an excellent position in the clinch, he was not able to really capitalize on it. Instead, he expended a ton of energy without seriously threatening his opponent in anyway.
After two pretty disappointing losses in a row, I'm not sure if we'll see Wescott in the Octagon again. Perhaps the UFC could match him and Seth Baczynski up in a clear loser-leaves-town match up.
At UFC Fight Night 64, Pawel Pawlak earned his first UFC victory. Can the Polish prospect develop into a contender in the talent-rich welterweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 64 "Gonzaga vs Cro Cop 2" results and play-by-play, click HERE.