Brad Pickett didn’t win his final dance at UFC Fight Night 107, but he’s content he didn’t play it safe and left everything in the Octagon.
Brad Pickett wanted to leave everything in the Octagon in his last fight. So he’s (somewhat) satisfied.
From his first fight to his last, Pickett has always been known as a fighter who will show up to give the fans what they want: a fun scrap. He racked up five performance bonuses in the UFC and never liked to “play it safe.”
That might have cost him in his retirement fight on the UFC Fight Night 107 main card against Marlon Vera at The O2 Arena in his hometown of London, England, as he was having success with takedowns in the first two rounds but chose to stand with his opponent in the final frame. And he knows that. But he also knows that fans have recognized him as a man who always comes to put on a show, and he didn’t want to shy away from that accurate label.
“It’s me, it’s my fighting style – live by the sword, die by the sword,” Pickett said at the post-fight press conference (transcript via MMAFighting.com). “I fight for the fans. I didn’t have trouble taking him down when I went for the takedown, so I could’ve just taken him down, laid on him and make it boring. But for me, I wanted to be in a typical Brad Pickett fight, and a typical Brad Pickett fight would’ve been to get up from that and kept on fighting, but unfortunately my age didn’t let me get up as quick as I could. I told the referee before the fight, ‘Let me go stiff,’ and I felt I was OK a little bit, but obviously I have to look at it back.”
The scorecard later confirmed that Pickett was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards going into the final round, and barring a 10-8 third round for “Chito” on multiple scorecards, would have indeed won had the fight gone the distance. But Vera likely figured he needed to stop Pickett to walk away victorious, and that’s exactly what he did. With just over a minute remaining in the bantamweight bout, Vera landed a head kick, followed by some ground-and-pound, to force the referee to intervene.
Pickett’s third straight loss reassured the Brit that hanging the gloves up was the right decision to make and one he likely won’t rethink down the road.
“It just shows basically I made the right decision before going into this fight,” Pickett said. “I was winning the fight for 14 minutes and then I got head kicked. And to be honest, the younger me would’ve chewed that up and just carried on going. So it’s definitely the right decision and obviously it’s not the fairy-tale ending that myself and probably everybody else wanted. I think everyone in there was rooting for me to win apart from Marlon and his corner, but I’m happy for him, he gets to feed his kids.”