Erik Koch got pushed around a lot, but he did a great job fighting off takedowns and landed a lot of solid shots in his bout with Jonathan Brookins in the second televised fight at UFC Fight Night 25. The judges gave the nod to Koch, who won a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 in a fight that was closer than the cards made it look. It all came down to the judges preferring Koch's sporadic striking over Brookin's relentless work against the fence.
Brookins initially looked to engage on the feet, but quickly switched it up to a single leg. He switched to a double, but Koch fought it off. Brookins had him against the cage and was throwing knees and elbows, and was definitely the early aggressor. Brookins switched back to a takedown attempt against the cage, without success. Finally with two minutes to go, they separate and Koch landed a big left hand and a leg kick. Koch landed a few shots before Brookins backed him up against the cage again. He just couldn't get Erik to the floor though, until right after the final bell. It was a tough round to score.
Koch opened the second with a good leg kick and a couple of combinations. Once again Brookins tried to scoop a single and backed him against the cage. They separated quickly though, and Koch goes back to head kicks and jabs. Back against the cage, Brookins still couldn't get the takedown. Koch ended up on top briefly, but they popped back up. The same sequence of events happened again, but Brookins finally got the takedown with a minute to go. Koch got up after 30 seconds, but ate a punch on the way up and spent the rest of the round fighting off another Brookins takedown.
The final stanza opened with Koch landing shots and moving, exactly as his corner asked for between rounds. Brookins scooped a single again, but Erik was much more aware and circled away quickly. The crowd booed for some reason. Koch showed some B.J. Penn-like hopping balance to dodge the takedown, which was very impressive. Brookins kept him against the fence this time though, and landed a big elbow. Brookins leaned right into a head kick, but it didn't land squarely. Koch decided to get energized and charged at Brookins, who threw him down but couldn't take top position. Back up, back on the cage, back to the crowd booing. They exchanged solid shots with 30 seconds to go, but Brookins was relentless against the cage. The round ended uneventfully, and both fighters thought they had won at that point.
Koch was looking for his second straight win in the UFC and fifth straight overall. His only loss under the Zuffa banner was to Chad Mendes in a WEC event. Brookins, the TUF 12 winner, was making his UFC featherweight debut.