Heading into Saturday night, Ross Pearson predicted that his opponent Gray Maynard would abandon the boxing-heavy attack from his last few fights and instead depend on his wrestling instead. Considering Maynard was coming off two straight knockout losses and three KOs in his last four fights, taking the fight to the ground wasn’t the worst idea.
As the fight got underway, Maynard found his rhythm, mixing in a couple of quick takedowns in the first round and showing confidence in his hands after working with his new team at Power MMA & Fitness in Arizona.
But Pearson stayed patient and fended off Maynard’s ground work by bouncing back off the mat every time he gave up a takedown.
As the second round got underway, Pearson found his range and timing as he started to look for the shot that would put Maynard away. It only took one good shot when Maynard leaped in for a punch and instead caught a short counter from the British fighter that put him on wobbly legs.
With Maynard stunned, Pearson capitalized and smashed the former lightweight contender with another quick punch that dropped him to the ground on all fours. Pearson jumped on his back and threw a couple of more shots, but the fight was already over.
The referee got Pearson off of Maynard’s back and he was handed the knockout victory — his third out of his last five fights. The knockout also kept Pearson away from the judges after he was robbed in his last bout when he was handed a defeat after dominating Diego Sanchez for three rounds in one of the most bizarre and controversial decisions in UFC history.
"I want the big fights," Pearson said after finishing Maynard. "That’s what I want."
Following a third knockout loss in a row, it’s hard to ignore that this could be the end of the road for Maynard. He openly admitted he contemplated retirement following his last defeat to Nate Diaz, and after another knockout it’s hard to imagine he’ll want to return or if the UFC would even allow him to fight again.