As expected, Mike Pierce's relentless work ethic paid off as he grinded out The Ultimate Fighter alum Paul Bradley, winning a split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).
Pierce and Bradley went toe-to-toe in the first round after Bradley defended Pierce's initial bullrush to the clinch. Bradley landed a few solid shots early, but Pierce seemed to settle in as time passed, landing better punches and a few kicks later in the round. Bradley was able to secure a brief takedown late, making the round difficult to judge.
Pierce was able to keep it standing in the second round. Both men landed their fair share of blows, but Pierce was definitely the more grinding fighter, constantly moving forward and landing on Bradley.
The third, as expected, was more of the same from Pierce. Bradley was able to get a takedown with a minute-and-a-half left in the round, but Pierce quickly regained his feet. Back at center, Pierce continued his dominance to the bell.
Pierce entered tonight's contest following a loss to NCAA Division I wrestling champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 133 in August. He had previously rattled off three consecutive wins after dropping an unanimous decision to Jon Fitch in only his second appearance inside the Octagon at UFC 107 in December of 2009.
Bradley was a cast member on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, famously known as the man who was removed from the house due to an outbreak of herpes gladiatorum on his skin. Despite the setback, Bradley has impressed, only losing twice in twenty fights outside of the UFC. Unfortunately, he lost in his debut at UFC 133 by unanimous decision to Brazilian striker Rafael Natal, making tonight's match-up a must-win.