One of these days, British fighters are going to catch up on their wrestling.
Until then, we're likely to see more fights like the UFC on Fuel 5 bout between middleweights Brad Tavares and Tom Watson. In an otherwise tightly contested kickboxing brawl, Tavares' takedowns spelled the difference.
Tavares won via split decision, taking scores of 30-27 and 29-28, while one judge inexplicably scored the bout 29-28 Watson. This writer scored the fight 30-27 for Tavares.
Tavares took a frenetic first round convincingly, overcoming a pair of low blows and flustering Watson with his takedowns. Watson appeared to catch his stride in the second, but Tavares' takedowns again spelled the difference. Both fighters went for broke in the third round, the closest of the fight and the only one that realistically could have been scored for Watson.
Tavares, who fights out of Hawaii, improved to 9-1 in his career, 4-1 in the UFC, with three straight wins. Watson a Southampton, England native who trains at both Montreal's Tri-Star and Jackson's MMA, dropped to 15-5.