In the early going Assuncao, the better grappler of the two, was able to impose his will on Pearson and control the pace and location of the fight. It appeared that Assuncao was going to stay in command and cruise to a decision.
But as the fight wore on Pearson looked fresher, and he began to land solid punches that marked up Assuncao's face. By the time the third round ended, Pearson had done enough to turn the tide that he ended up winning the decision.
Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Pearson, while one gave Pearson a surprising 30-27 decision. The victory improves Pearson's professional MMA record to 13-5. Assuncao now has the same record, dropping to 13-5.
A former Ultimate Fighter contestant, Pearson is a fighter the UFC has worked hard to promote. That's going to be easier now that he's fighting at the right weight -- Pearson belongs at featherweight, and he's now 1-0 at 145 pounds.