It wasn't pretty, but Matt "The Immortal" Brown was able to control and out work John Howard to earn a 29-28 unanimous decision win. The win secures his spot with the promotion for another fight.
The kicks were aplenty early as Howard tenderized Brown's thighs in the opening minutes of the round. Brown countered with a few choice shots, and initiated a clinch to land a few knees. After some close exchanges, Howard tried to turn up the heat with two minutes left in the round, but Brown was able to reverse his position along the fence and land a nice knee and follow-up combination. Howard bounced back with a powerful takedown with one minute to go. Unfortunately, he couldn't hold Brown down, allowing him to regain his feet and eventually escape his clutches.
Howard pressed forward for the clinch early in the second, but Brown stifled the attempt and landed in top control in the scramble that followed. From top control, Brown attempted to advance his position before Howard cinched up his leg and swept him. Howard couldn't take advantage, however, as Brown locked up his shoulder in an omoplata, stifling any attempt that Howard could muster. Very tough round to score for the judges.
Brown aggressively worked for a takedown early in the third. Unfortunately, Howard was able to stuff the attempt and get to Brown's back in the scramble along the fence. After a few minutes of defending Howard's advances, Brown escaped and chased Howard across the Octagon, landing a knee in the clinch. Howard regained top control moments later after taking down Brown with roughly thirty seconds left in the round. His conditioning wasn't enough to effectively damage Brown however. The round ended with the boos of a displeased crowd.
Howard came into the bout with Brown riding a two-fight losing streak. He was stopped by Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Versus 2 in August, and he dropped an unanimous decision to former UFC welterweight contender Thiago Alves at UFC 124 in December. Those losses ended a seven-fight win streak he had previously amassed, defeating notables Daniel Roberts, Dennis Hallman, Tamdan McCrory, and Chris Wilson.
Brown was a castmate on The Ultimate Fighter season seven, losing to current UFC fighter Amir Sadollah in the quarterfinals via submission. Following the show, he amassed a 4-1 record with wins over Matt Arroyo, Ryan Thomas, Pete Sell, and James Wilks. He had lost his last three fights, his most recent coming at UFC 123 where he was submitted by Brian Foster in the second round.