LAS VEGAS - With a strange buzz at the Mandalay Bay Events center in the wake of the news that Stefan Struve had to pull out of his fight with Matt Mitrione after blacking out, Russell Doane and Marcus Brimage got the UFC 175 main card started.
In a tactical battle, Doane got a split decision in the end, winning on cards of 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27.
"We prepared to grind it out," said Doane, who improved to 14-3. "We knew that his defense was fantastic. A finish would have been great, but a win is a win."
The opening round belonged entirely to Doane, who ducked a punch, took Brimage down to the mat, and kept him there, working from back control the entire time.
In the second, Briamge dropped Doane early. He also landed several stinging leg kicks. But Doane shook them off and took control of the round, scoring another takedown and more or less smothering him.
"They hurt, I'm not going to lie," Doane said of the kicks. "But you fight your way through it."
The final round was most contested in the standup and was more or less inconclusive, with neither fighter coming close to a sustained advantage.
Doane won for the third straight time and has taken five of six. Brimage (6-3) has dropped two straight.