Photo by Scott Petersen via MMA Weekly
In a hard fought, gutsy performance by both fighters, Clay Harvison and Justin Edwards went the distance in the first bout featuring The Ultimate Fighter season 13 alumni. Harvison won via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Edwards started quickly, immediately rushing at Harvison with kicks and punches and pressing the clinch. After a brief battle for position along the fence, Edwards hip tossed Harvison to the ground. Harvison escaped quickly to his feet, eating a few blows as he evaded Edwards. Edwards once again took Harvison down a few moments later, and Harvison again regained his feet only to be dumped back to the ground. Harvison worked his way back to his feet, and both men swung for the fences, glancing shots off each other. A crazy scramble at the two minute mark lasted for the rest of the round as both men attempted submissions and landed choice shots. Edwards nearly sunk in a choke and heel hook attempt while Harvison attempted a guillotine choke with seconds left in the round and almost locked in an armbar. Great round of action.
The second round was much more tame in terms of pace. Edwards was visibly slower while Harvison looked fresher. That didn't stop Edwards from landing the better shots early, beating on Harvison with wild punches and a nice spinning back kick in the latter part of the round. Harvison wasn't able to take complete advantage of a tired Edwards however, also showing signs of fatigue.
Harvison came out strong in the third, blasting Edwards with everything he could throw at him. Edwards managed to stay conscious for the round, eventually finding a way to gain the top position with two minutes left after Harvison dominated the round. Edwards attempted a guillotine choke, but Harvison popped back up to his feet. With ninety seconds left, both men went toe-to-toe, exchanging kicks and punches. Edwards powered through Harvison for a takedown with only a minute left, attempting to take Harvison's back. Edwards slipped off, falling to the bottom as Harvison hovers. Surprisingly, Edwards kicks Harvison to the mat from his back, jumping him, then dumping Harvison to the mat as he tried to get back to his feet. The round ended with Edwards wrapped around Harvison's back.
Both fighters were competitors on this season's The Ultimate Fighter. Harvison was the slightly more successful fighter during the show, defeating Mick Bowman in the preliminary round to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, he lost via submission to eventual finalist Ramsey Nijem.
Edwards replaced Keon Caldwell on the show after Caldwell left because he missed his daughter and family. Unfortunately, Edwards was knocked out by a stunning upkick from Tony Ferguson in his preliminary fight. Edwards was undefeated at 6-0 entering tonight's contest with a Bellator bout under his belt along with two wins in one night at an IFC event in January of last year.