Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
T.J. Dillashaw dominated Walel Watson for 10 minutes at Wednesday night's UFC on FUEL event, then hung on for five more minutes as Watson mounted a surprising comeback, with Dillashaw winning the fight by unanimous decision.
It was a highly entertaining battle that showed Dillashaw off as a very powerful fighter in the bantamweight division, but also showed that Watson has a lot of heart -- not to mention long limbs that make him a danger to submit his opponents from the bottom.
Dillashaw wanted to get things started with a takedown and worked at it non-stop for the first 40 seconds of the first round before finally getting Watson to the ground and getting on top of him. Dillashaw transitioned to Watson's back and nearly sunk in a rear-naked choke, and although Watson managed to defend himself against Dillashaw's submission attempts, it was a dominant first round that I scored 10-8 for Dillashaw.
At the start of the second round Dillashaw hit Watson and then jumped on top of him on the ground again, and then it was more of the same: Dillashaw switched back and forth between vicious ground and pound from mount and attempts at rear-naked chokes, and it was a wonder that Watson even survived. It was another 10-8 round on my scorecard.
Amazingly, Watson came back from that brutal beating for the first 10 minutes and put on a great showing in the third round, putting Dillashaw in serious trouble with submission attempts off his back. But Dillashaw managed to escape and get back on top and in control, and he finished the fight where he had been for much of it, battering Watson from the top.
I gave the third round to Watson 10-9 and therefore gave the fight to Dillashaw, 29-26. The three judges scored it 30-25, 30-25 and 30-26.
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