A very bloody Evan Dunham battles TJ Grant during UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre on Sat., Sept. 22, 2012 in Toronto. Photo via Esther Linn of MMA Fighting
Leading in for the preliminary headliner, Lightweights Evan Dunham and T.J. Grant squared off for a bloody brawl. Grant gave Dunham a three round beating to win the unanimous decision. Grant extended his current win streak to three fights and is now 6-3 in the UFC (19-5 Overall). The loss has Dunham matching Grant's UFC record of 6-3 (13-3 Overall).
From the opening bell this bout was a "stand-and-bang" fan's dream. Throughout the first round, T.J. Grant backed Dunham into the cage and punished him with punches, kicks and knees. Dunham repeatedly tried to fight his way out, but Grant stood his ground, clinched up, and battered him some more. Very late in the round, Dunham scored a takedown, but failed to do much with it. The second round was more even, but the biggest strike was a knee from Grant that opened a huge cut on Evan. The third round featured both men, covered in Dunham's blood, still fighting with every thing they had. Grant won on the score cards, but you can't take anything away from Dunham display of heart and tenacity.
What was the high point of the fight?
In the second round, after Grant landed the knee that opened Evan's forehead, Dunham postured in front of his opponent and came right at him for more.
Where do they go from here?
This is T.J. Grant's third straight win as a UFC Lightweight and by far his most impressive. I'd like to see him against the winner of Rafael dos Anjos vs. Mark Bocek after UFC 154.
For the second time Dunham has fallen just as he looked to be building steam. The first time, he lost a very close and very controversial split decision to Sean Sherk at UFC 119. The decision was largely decried as incorrect and it didn't effect Dunham's progression in matchmaking, but he followed it up with a loss to Melvin Guillard. Now, he's lost again after a two fight comeback streak. Evan Dunham has definitely showed how talented he is and I'm sure he'll get back on track with a fight against lesser competition.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Watch it now. This is a high-paced, bloody brawl where neither fighter takes a step back.