A lot of fight fans probably scheduled their bathroom breaks and trips to the fridge to coincide with an expected tough wrestling battle between Aaron Simpson and Mike Pierce.
Instead, Mike Goldberg’s favorite scenario took place, and the wrestlers canceled each other out and the fight turned into a slugfest.
Simpson got things started on the feet first.
He rocked Pierce with some solid shots, chasing him around the cage in an attempt to finish the fight, but Pierce held on and survived the round.
Perhaps the big first round left Simpson a bit too confident though, as he threw a big right hand in the early seconds of the second round that was countered perfectly by a shorter right hand from Pierce.
The shot knocked Simpson into dream world, and the follow-up punches earned Pierce his first UFC finish since early 2011.
What we learned about Mike Pierce:
Mike Pierce isn’t just a wrestler.
It’s a bit unfortunate that Pierce has earned a reputation as a boring fighter, but his grinding style hasn’t exactly endeared him to fans and exciting performances like this one don’t happen too often.
Pierce is one of the better fighters in the welterweight division, but he seems to get overlooked due to his style. He struggles against opponents that he can’t drag to the mat, an obstacle he overcame against Simpson.
What we learned about Aaron Simpson:
Despite a tough knockout loss, Aaron Simpson has the potential to be a pretty good fighter in the welterweight division.
The welterweight division is full of high-level wrestlers, and throwing Simpson into the mix is only going to make a deep division that much better.
Simpson was able to stop Pierce from imposing his grinding style, something only the best wrestlers at 170 have been able to do thus far. Prior to the knockout punch, Simpson was easily winning in the striking exchanges.
What’s next for Mike Pierce:
Another win for Pierce sets his UFC record to 7-3, and it would seem that it’s time for another step up in competition.
Pierce got a good win over Simpson, but I think he needs to take one more fight against another top wrestler before he makes the leap into the top ten.
The loser of tonight’s co-main event between Jay Hieron and Jake Ellenberger would be a perfect fight for Pierce to take next.
What’s next for Aaron Simpson:
This is a tough loss for Simpson, especially since he had his chance to finish the fight in round one.
Still, Simpson has a lot of talent and should get another fun fight in the welterweight division going forward.
Whether he wins or loses tonight, a fight between Simpson and Josh Neer could easily turn into a brawl, and would be an exciting bout for a Fuel broadcast in the future.