Irish eyes are clearly smiling on a Sunday night in Boston.
Boston-born Dubliner Cathal Pendred was the beneficiary of a controversial decision in a welterweight fight at UFC Fight Night 59. The scores at TD Garden for his fight against Sean Spencer were 29-28 and an incomprehensible pair of 30-27s in favor of Pendred.
In the opening round, Spencer (13-4) blasted Pendred and rocked him. It was the sort of shot that would finish most men, but Pendred, who has exhibited a high degree of toughness in his UFC stint, shook it off and made it through the round. Most sane observers, though would have scored the round for Spencer.
In the second, Spencer once again got the better of the striking game. But late in the round, Pendred scored a takedown, and cinched a Kimura and leg scissors choke, which appeared to be enough for him to seal the round on the judges' card.
There wasn't much of anything going on in round three, as both fighters noticeably slowed. Pendred scored a late takedown, which may have made the difference on the judges' cards.
Over the course of the fight, Pendred was 66/153 on strikes, for 43 percent; Spencer 63/159, 39 percent. Pendred hit four of 16 takedown attempts; Spencer did not attempt a takedown.
Pendred (16-2-1) is 3-0 in the UFC and is unbeaten in his past 11 fights (10-0-1). Spencer has dropped two of his past three.
After the bout, Pendred said he saw the fight clearly in his favor. "I think I controlled the fight and controlled the standup and the feet and the clinch," he said.