Cathal Pendred is a fighter who has found success in the UFC with a methodical, clinch-oriented style. John Howard entered UFC 189 on a three-fight losing streak, with strong striking skills he didn't show off often enough.
It may have seemed like a battle of the resistible force against the moveable object Saturday night, and the welterweight duo did not engage in the most thrilling battle at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
But in the end, Howard got the best of the fight's infrequent exchanges, and that was enough to earn a split decision. The Bostonian got the better end of two out of three 29-28 cards.
The opening round was one primarily conducted in the standup. Pendred, who took the bout on four weeks' notice after winning at UFC 188, seemed content to counter. Howard occasionally scored with punch combos, but then would wade in and attempt to grapple without much success.
The second round was also methodically contested, but this time out, Howard managed to score every time he took the action to Pendred, landing stiff jabs and solid uppercuts.
Save for a brief Pendred guillotine, the third round was similar to the second, as Howard got the best of the action.
Pendred (17-3-1) had his four-fight UFC win streak snapped, as well as a 12-fight overall unbeaten streak. Howard (22-12) improved to 3-3 in his current UFC stint.