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UFC Fight Night 81 results recap: Ross Pearson vs Francisco Trinaldo fight review and analysis

Last night (Sun., Jan. 17, 2016), Ross Pearson and Francisco Trinaldo battled at UFC Fight Night 81 inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. In a competitive bout, Trinaldo scored a decision victory. Find out how below!

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight sluggers Ross Pearson and Francisco Trinaldo threw down last night (Jan. 17, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 81 inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Though he's been struggling to string together consecutive victories, Pearson is known as a tough test for most any lightweight. However, Pearson was looking to move out of his position as gatekeeper and needed to begin building a win streak here.

Trinaldo was also trying to break into the top-tier of the division, though he came into this bout on the heels of four straight wins. If Trinaldo could take out Pearson -- who served as a significant step up in competition -- then he could earn a shot at some of the division's ranked fighters.

Pearson took his usual role as the aggressor, stalking his opponent around the Octagon. Trinaldo happily conceded the center of the Octagon, circling away and looking to land powerful left kicks and quick straights.

On the whole, the round was rather close, as neither man was able to successfully find his range and engage. However, Trinaldo turned it up in the final 30 seconds by stunning his opponent and then slamming him on his head with a massive takedown.

In all likelihood, that sealed the round for the Brazilian.

The first 90 seconds or so went similarly, as Trinaldo picked his shots nicely from the outside, but Pearson switched that up by catching a kick and scoring a takedown. However, Trinaldo worked his way back up in short fashion and then smashed his opponent with some hard combinations.

For the second half of the round, Trinaldo was able to score whenever he chose to throw. His sudden and violent spurts of offense really caused Pearson to shell up, allowing "Massaranduba" to control the round without much issue.

Pearson definitely needed something big heading into the third round.

Unfortunately for the Englishman, the third round was really more of the same. Pearson was a bit more aggressive, and his opponent did slow down, but there was no major change in momentum.

Instead, Pearson continued to apply his measured pressure, which finally allowed him to win the round -- at least on my card -- but cost him the fight.

This was a stellar and intelligent performance by Trinaldo, who continues to show growth in his late 30s. Against a true UFC veteran, Trinaldo executed a smart game plan and was able to come away with the victory because of it.

Trinaldo made very smart use of his kicks. By springing into sudden kicks to the head and body, as well as some slick stepping knees, Trinaldo made his opponent very wary of utilizing his excellent head movement. Then, when Pearson got aggressive in his attempts to close the distance, Trinaldo was able to score with some hard counter punches.

Together, this made Pearson very uncomfortable on his feet and allowed Trinaldo to cruise to a decision victory.

Additionally, Trinaldo did an excellent job setting the pace. While his opponent continually pressured, Trinaldo chose when to exchange and thus prevented himself from gassing out. Whenever he needed to rest, Trinaldo could simply bounce away and rest until he was ready to explode once more.

Smart stuff from "Massaranduba."

Following this victory, Trinaldo deserves another step up in competition, if not a ranked opponent. For example, a match up with Evan Dunham would make sense.

While it was not a blowout, this bout really showcased Pearson's inability to adjust as well. His opponent's game plan was made obvious within the first couple minutes, but Pearson did little to adapt and simply kept trying to implement his pressure boxing. Since that was precisely what his opponent planned for, it was predictably less than effective.

Instead of simply following his opponent around the cage, Pearson could've done a few things. For one, cutting off the cage would've forced his opponent to exchange and taken advantage of Pearson's cardio edge. Similarly, Pearson managed to score a couple of takedowns but did little with them. If he had committed to that aspect of his attack, he may have forced his opponent to gas out and found more success on his feet.

Unfortunately, the ability to adapt is very important at the highest levels, which may explain why Pearson had been just outside the top 15 for so long now.

Last night, Francisco Trinaldo out-struck Ross Pearson en route to a decision victory. How high can the Brazilian climb?

For complete UFC Fight Night 81 "Dillashaw vs Cruz" results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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