Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
Diego Brandao used a more measured approach to take a decision win over Joey Gambino in their featherweight bout at UFC 153. Brandao, who normally goes buck wild in the first and fades later in fights, did plenty of damage early but didn't wear himself out. He dropped Gambino in the second and third with big rights and controlled the fight for most of the 15 minutes. Gambino showed that he has a great chin and a lot of heart, but he came up short. All three judges had the fight 30-27 for the Ultimate Fighter winner.
Brandao landed a big head kick early and tried to take advantage, but Gambino spun away. Brandao switched it up with leg kicks and threw another head kick, which missed. Gambino looked to close the distance, but ate some punches and a side kick from Brandao. Gambino landed two nice straight rights. Brandao scooped Gambino up and deposited him on the mat in side control. Brandao landed a few elbows, but Gambino got back to full guard, then used an upkick to get up. Gambino landed a nice left hook and looked for a takedown late, but the horn sounded.
Both men went back to scrapping in round two. Brandao landed a huge winging right that dropped Gambino a minute it. Brandao looked to jump into mount, but Gambino spun away and got back to full guard. Brandao landed two nice elbows, then missed with one and smashed the ground. Gambino spun for an armbar that made Brandao back out of his guard. Brandao landed a nice body shot and looked for a takedown, which he eventually got with a slam. The ref stood them up 30 seconds later, as expected in Brazil. Gambino landed a nice head kick. The pace slowed near the end of the round.
Gambino was active early in the last frame, but Brandao caught a kick and dropped Gambino with a right. He then asked him to get back up. Gambino did, and looked for a takedown. Brandao reversed though and got his own takedown. Gambino postured up for a triangle attempt but Brandao pushed him away. And the ref stood them up again. Gambino didn't show a lot of urgency over the final 90 seconds, while Brandao was in cruise control.