Evan Dunham — who had not competed in more than one year — looked to extend his win streak to five straight inside the Octagon tonight (Sat., Oct. 7, 2016) when he locked horns with Beneil Dariush at UFC 216, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And while he didn’t achieve that goal, Dunham didn’t go home a loser, battling back from a brutal first round to score a majority draw.
Dariush looked to set the tone early, stalking Dunham around the cage and daring him to exchange leather. Dunham, of course, was more than willing to oblige. In addition to winging looping punches, Dariush attacked Dunham with low kicks. He eventually cornered Dunham along the fence and cracked him with a series of vicious standing elbows that sent him to the canvas. Dariush rained down some serious follow up shots as Dunham rolled and squirmed to avoid the punishment. Dunham tried to sit up, but Dariush drilled him in the chest with hard knees. Dunham actually rolled for a leg lock, but Dariush shook it off easily and continued to drill him with hard shots to the temple. Dunham was able to get back to his feet with about 20 seconds remaining in the round, but Dariush put it on him for a solid four minutes.
Dunham came out for the second round looking to score early, but Dariush drilled him with a hard counter shot. He was able to take down Dariush, but his arm was trapped and he was unable to do anything with the position. Dariush angled for an omoplata submission, but Dunham defended well; however, he let Dariush get back to his feet in the process. Dariush, who was visibly not as fresh as he was in the opening frame, landed several hard low kicks as Dunham continued to circle away from his power hand. It was clearly a much better round for Dunham, but it was by no means dominant.
In the third and final round Dunham was able to score with a nice head kick to get the action started. He then cracked him with a looping counter left hook, but Dariush walked right through it. Dunham dove in for a takedown, but had to settle for boxing up Dariush along the cage for about a minute instead. Both fighters traded some nice shots with about one minute remaining in the fight, with Dunham telling Dariush to bring it on. The fight ended in a blur of flailing punches, non of which seemed to land clean or do any damage whatsoever.
Dunham did a great job of weathering an early storm — he was almost finished — and mounting an admirable comeback. Dariush, meanwhile, appeared to empty his tank after the lopsided first round and didn’t have enough to close the show.
Oh well …
For complete UFC 216: “Ferguson vs. Lee” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.