With the current trend in MMA judging a topic of heavy debate there was no shortage of work for the ringside judges as Brazilian Rafael Natal took on UFC newcomer Jesse Bongfeldt on tonight's preliminary card. At the end of three, grapple heavy rounds the judges determined that the fight would be scored a majority draw with only one out of the three judges seeing a decisive victor.
Natal began the fight by scoring two quick takedowns on the Canadian newcomer but was unable to capitalize on the first attempt as Bongfeldt was able to get back to his feet in prompt fashion. The second takedown provided greater opportunity for Natal as he secured Bongfeldt's back but Bongfeldt was able to turn his body into Natal which broke the hold and they returned to their feet. The recovery was short lived as Natal returned Bongfeldt to his back and after working for a better position the Brazilian was able to get Bongfeldt's back and sink in the hooks. Natal attempted to lock in the rear naked choke but Bongfeldt was once again able to escape and survive the round.
Where Natal controlled the action from the canvas in the first, Bongfeldt returned the favor in the second. After landing a right hand that scored big Bongfeldt attempted to work the ground and pound on Natal. After missing with the majority of his bigger shots Bongfeldt grabbed onto an armbar but the savvy Brazilian proved too slick to be caught in the submission. Soon after returning to their feet Bongfeldt shot in for the takedown but during the scuffle Natal grabbed the fence which resulted in a verbal warning from the referee. Shortly after the action resumed Natal pounced on an opportunity and not only took Bongfeldt's back but had his best chance to end the fight with a choke before Bongfeldt was able to shake him off.
In the last round Natal appeared to be gassed and Bongfeldt attempted to capitalize. Not wanting any part of the stand up exchange Natal went to the ground but Bongfeldt continued to work for position. Bongfeldt was able to get to full mount where he began to tee off with punches and elbows and Natal appeared to be in big trouble. The Brazilian was able to work back to half guard momentarily but with the round coming to a close Bongfeldt once again regained full mount and desperately tried to finish the fight.
As the judge's scores were read the bout resulted in a majority draw. Bongfeldt was awarded a 10-8 round for his dominance in the third but it wasn't enough to secure the victory in his UFC debut. Natal on the other hand remains winless in the UFC as he has come up on both of his attempts with his first coming at the hands of Rich Attonito.