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UFC Fight Night 84 results recap: Brad Pickett vs Francisco Rivera fight review and analysis

Last night (Sat., Feb. 27, 2016), Brad Pickett and Francisco Rivera squared off at UFC Fight Night 84 inside The O2 Arena in London, England. In a very tight bout, Pickett took home the decision. Find out how below!

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight scrappers Brad Pickett and Francisco Rivera battled last night (Feb. 27, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 84 inside The O2 Arena in London, England.

Despite having a rough go of things lately, Pickett actually put forth a strong showing in defeat prior to this bout. He was looking for a similar display of skill last night, however, he hoped to have his hand raised at the end of this contest.

Similarly, Rivera has been struggling to put together victories in recent performances. That said, the knockout artist still packs brutal power inside his punches and was planning to demonstrate that opposite the hometown favorite.

Unexpectedly, both men were fairly measured to start the bout. Pickett looked to work his way inside with head movement, while Rivera attempted to maintain his range and score with counter punches and kicks.

For most of the round, Rivera scored with his counter punches and did real damage, limiting his opponent's offense while scoring with his own shots. However, at the end of the round, the two finally let loose and traded wildly with both men landing hard.

Regardless, the first round clearly belonged to Rivera.

After a fiery exchange to start the round, the pace slowed down a bit. A minute passed without anything too significant happening, then Pickett scored with an easy single leg takedown. However, Rivera managed to escape from the bottom before much could happen from there.

For the final two minutes, very few exchanges occurred. Both fighters were slowing, and the action suffered. With less than a minute remaining, the most significant moments were an extremely brief takedown by Rivera and a picture-perfect groin strike by Pickett.

The two then finished with a flurry, but it was a very close round overall.

The third round continued at a snail's pace. Pickett scored with a nice takedown against the fence, but he did so little with his top position that he was stood back up after about a minute of top control.

With about a minute remaining, Rivera again looked to change things up with his own takedown. He successfully finished it, but Pickett easily moved back to his feet and then landed his own takedown with a big slam.

He controlled top position until the final bell, undoubtedly earning him the third round.

Ultimately, it all came down to which fighter won the second round, and ultimately two of the three judges decided that Brad Pickett had done enough to earn the victory.

Despite earning the win, Pickett's performance here was not his best. He looked a step slower than before, and his talk of potential retirement is not surprising. Pickett has been in the game for a long time, so it's really no surprise that he's beginning to slow down.

However, Pickett did use his experience to his advantage. By switching it up in the second round and beginning to look for takedowns, Pickett really helped himself out and created the opportunities necessary to win the decision.

Following this win, Pickett does not need a step up in competition. Instead, his role as gatekeeper to the top 15 is still viable, so he could either face off with an up-and-comer or another Bantamweight veteran.

Rivera didn't look great either. He seems to have a problem blending the aspects of his striking, as he's a solid counter striker and a dangerous brawler. However, he tends to fall away from his counter punching when it's working for him, and he fails to swing for the fences when his opponent is tired and vulnerable.

Furthermore, this loss really ends any hope of Rivera as a dark horse contender. At 34 years old, he's not likely to develop his defensive grappling or up his output much further, so Rivera's ceiling has likely been established. On the bright side, there are still entertaining fights for Rivera that will show off his insane knockout power.

Last night, Brad Pickett edged out Francisco Rivera in a close battle. Where does the Englishman head from here?

For complete UFC Fight Night 84: "Silva vs Bisping" results and play-by-play, click HERE!