LAS VEGAS -- This is the UFC 143 live blog for Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce, a welterweight bout on tonight's UFC pay-per-view at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Koscheck (16-5) fought once in 2011, knocking out Matt Hughes at UFC 135 in September. Pierce (13-4), who has won four of his last five fights, is coming off a split decision win over Paul Bradley last November at UFC on FOX 1.
The live blog is below.
Round 1: Pierce wastes no time going low for the takedown. Koscheck defends it, but they're up against the cage where Pierce often likes the action. Pierce works knees to Koscheck's legs from in tight as they both work for position. Koscheck struggles to circle free, and finally does. Pierce lands an uppercut on the way out. Pierce closes the gap again. This time Koscheck pushes him against the fence, but then pulls free. Pierce with a nice jab, then a hard right hand. Koscheck is hurt but swinging. Pierce with a hard jab. Koscheck fires off a head kick. Pierce gets inside with a hook. Pierce catches a hook and pushes Koscheck against the cage, but can't complete the takedown. Still, it's Pierce's round, 10-9.
Round 2: Pierce is making this just the kind of grinding fight that he excels at. Pierce with a stiff jab. Koscheck's not letting his hands go, looking like he's gunning for one big shot. Somewhere along the way, Pierce got bloodied on the right side of his head. It's a lot of blood but it's not getting in his eye so should be no issue. Pierce forces a tie-up, and the two exchange punches from in tight. Koscheck shoots and takes Pierce down with one minute left. Koscheck lands only one hard left hand and Pierce gets back to his feet and free. A closer round, but again, MMA Fighting scores it for Pierce, 10-9.
Round 3: Pierce takes Koscheck down a minute in. Koscheck wall walks up and turns, putting Pierce into the fence. Koscheck lands a knee to the body, then an elbow as Pierce escapes. Koscheck lands a right. Pierce draws Koscheck in and throws elbows and knees that land. Nice lead left hook by Pierce. Koscheck shoots. Pierce defends well, and they stalemate until ref Herb Dean breaks them. A Koscheck jab pokes Pierce in the eye and forces a timeout. Pierce is OK and we continue. Koscheck with a hard left hook to the body. With the 30 second remaining, a Koscheck power double puts Pierce on his back, but he regains his footing in a flash. Pierce scores a spinning elbow. A very close round, but MMA Fighting scores it for Koscheck, 10-9.
Winner: Josh Koscheck via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)