On the UFC 169 FS1 prelims, middleweight Nick Catone took on UK brawler Tom Watson. Throughout the three round fight, Watson punished Catone with leg kicks. He landed some solid blows standing as well, but had no answer for Catone's takedowns. Catone landed good strikes standing too and clearly won the grappling game to take the split decision.
both fighters were happy to trade on the feet through the first round. Watson relied mostly on active leg kicks that showed their effects quickly. Catone worked a mostly counter punching game landing hard when Watson missed. Late in the round he ducked under a punch from Watson to score a takedown. He didn't deal out a lot of damage but controlled the remainder of the round.
"Kong" Watson continued his leg kick assault in the second round. Catone Mixed in some body kicks with his punches but neither fighter landed any really damaging blows through the first half of the round. Catone rushed in for the takedown. He got Watson to the mat but didn't do anything with it before Kong got back up. Just a few seconds on the feet before Catone hit another takedown. Blood was leaking from Catone in the clinch as the round ended.
Watson returns to the leg kick attack in the third. Catone moved in for the clinch, but backed off saying he'd taken an eye poke. Referee Herb Dean tells him to continue as he didn't see the offense. Another leg kick buckles Catone. Watson more active with his hands and kicks to the body and head as Catone's movement looks inhibited by the low kicks. Quick combo landed for Catone before he charged in for another takedown. Back on the feet Catone lands a straight right before scoring another takedown that he takes right into back control. Kong avoids any damage and returned to his feet just before the final bell rang.
Nick Catone takes the split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27) over Tom Watson.
At 3-4 in the UFC and riding a two-fight losing streak heading into tonight, Catone was in a must-win situation. Kong Watson was on only somewhat less thin ice with a 1-2 record inside the Octagon.