one another with leg kicks to begin. Kim’s kicks get harder and Pierson comes inside behind a jab to clinch on the fence. Kim pushes him off and gets off a pair of solid right hands, and Pierson gives him one back. The South Korean wants to catch and counter a kick from his opponent, but Pierson lands a few and trips Kim up by catching a front kick. Kim stays up and begins to find his range, dipping in and out of the pocket with left hooks and right straights. Kim ducks low when Pierson rushes in and shoves him off. Pierson catches another front kick and misses by a fraction of an inch with a swiping hook. Kim grabs a guillotine and nearly wrestles Pierson down, but Pierson gets back up. Pierson is tossed to the ground but takes Kim’s back as they hit the mat and locks up a body triangle. Kim puts his head on the ground and tries to shake Pierson off for the last few seconds.
Kim is looking to counter, using leg kicks to keep his range and dipping to his left to fire off straight punches when Pierson throws a combination. Pierson connects with some leg kicks, though Kim answers with stiffer ones. Pierson pushes Kim into the fence with an underhook, but they don’t stay there long. Kim keeps the leg kicks and left hands coming as they hit the fight’s halfway point. Pierson rushes forward with wide punches and gets socked with a combination which has him clinching soon after. Kim gives up his back standing, twists around and shoves Pierson off. Kim lands the jumping front kick he’s been looking for and puts a pair of follow-up punches on Pierson’s chin. Pierson stays up, though, and gets off a few leg kicks as the round ticks away. With 10 seconds to go, Kim lands the front kick again and Pierson is wobbling all over the place. Kim pounces but it’s too late and the horn sounds to save Pierson.
Kim keeps control of the fight with distance, leg kicks and jabs until 90 seconds in, when he whips Pierson down with a single-leg. Pierson gets up quickly and they clinch on the cage until Kim drags him down again. The fight slows in Pierson’s tight, closed guard, so Kim stands to try a pass. The “Stun Gun” sits down in Pierson’s side guard briefly before ref Yves Lavigne stands them up. Kim goes for the jumping front kick again, misses and steps out of the way of a few combos from Pierson. They clinch on the cage again, Pierson on the outside, until Kim circles out with 30 seconds left. Kim lands a Superman punch, an inside thigh kick, a right hook. Pierson answers with his own Superman punch and they’re still throwing at the horn.
Official result: All three judges score the bout 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Dong Hyun Kim.
Anthony Njokuani vs. Danny Castillo
Castillo shoots from way out and Njokuani sidesteps it with ease. Muay thai specialist Njokuani is throwing uppercut-hook combos but not finding his range. Castillo gets inside, bowls Njokuani to the floor, allows him up and ragdolls him back down again with a rear waistlock. Njokuani gets to his feet but can’t get his back free of Castillo, who drills knees into Njokuani’s thighs. Castillo ropes Njokuani’s legs and pulls him to the ground again, now at the base of the fence. Castillo is in a low mount with Njokuani’s legs triangled, but he can’t muster much offense from the position and Njokuani uses the fence to get up. Castillo sticks to Njokuani’s back and brings him down twice more. The second takedown nearly yields a rear-naked choke, but Njokuani twists out and slaps on a standing guillotine of his own. Castillo slams himself free and stays on top for a moment before Njokuani works his way back up to finish the round standing.
Njokuani sticks Castillo with a few stiff jabs from the orthodox stance, partially connects with a kick to the body and stuffs a shot. Castillo gets the next takedown but can’t keep Njokuani down this time. A right straight-left hook from Njokuani bounces off the Californian’s chin. Castillo tries a takedown and winds up with his head in Njokuani’s Thai plum. The rangy Njokuani punishes his man with hard knees to the body before releasing him. A right hook buckles Castillo’s legs with two minutes remaining and he keeps alive by driving forward and dragging Njokuani to the mat. Njokuani locks things down from his closed guard, though Castillo lands a few to the ribs and a nice hammerfist when he postures up. Njokuani turns his hips and gets back up with 20 seconds to go, but Castillo gets one final takedown and finishes on top.
Both men are missing more punches than they’re landing in the opening minute of the final round, then Castillo charges in for a double-leg. He gets Njokuani down after a brief struggle and holds him against a cage post in half-guard. Njokuani gets up with 2:40 remaining, Castillo still locked to his waist. Njokuani avoids a slam and rolls through, shaking Castillo and getting active on the feet with kicks and jabs. He soon finds himself on the ground again after another Castillo takedown. Castillo keeps Njokuani down briefly, then clinches on the fence when Njokuani gets back to his feet. Njokuani blitzes with punches and knees in the final 30 seconds, looking again for the Thai clinch and narrowing the gap in what should be a close decision.
Official result: The judges score the bout 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29, awarding a split decision victory to Danny Castillo.
Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assuncao
The southpaw Assuncao circles away from Pearson, who keeps coming forward until he’s felled by a double-leg. Assuncao shoves Pearson into the fence, then hops on the Englishman’s back as he tries to stand. Assuncao can’t quite get his hooks in as they stand against the fence and Pearson circles away. Pearson’s just walking Assuncao down now, waiting for a chance, and one comes when Assuncao dips... (Continues on next page)