Francisco Trinaldo used good movement and varied power striking to counter a pressuring Ross Pearson and earn a decision victory Sunday night. The two lightweights opened up the FS1 championship main card with a tactical bout largely fought on the feet.
In the end, scores were 30-27 (twice), and 29-28 for Trinaldo. Throughout, he showed patience mixed with spurts of aggression when opportunities arose.
The first round saw few connected strikes as Pearson stalked Trinaldo. The Brazilian did not meet the Brit in the center of the cage to slug it out, but rather used in-and-out, and side-to-side footwork to stay out of danger, while looking to land his left straight cross and left high kick.
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With 12 seconds left in the round, Trinaldo connected and stunned Pearson with such a high kick. Then, he followed up with the blow with a takedown slam.
In the second round, Pearson caught another high kick or knee attempt from Trinaldo and used it to slam the 37-year-old to the mat. Trinaldo was briefly pinned up against the cage on his back, but soon made his way back up to his feet.
From there, Trinaldo teed-off with punches and knees to the head, backing Pearson against the cage in his most aggressive sequence of the fight up to that point. The tough Pearson hung on, and defended takedown attempts against the cage.
Pearson kicked the third round off with a right shin to the head of Trinaldo before the Brazilian returned fire with strikes of his own. Trinaldo once again hurt and pressed Pearson against the cage.
After getting free, Pearson, bleeding from over his left eye, goaded Trinaldo on as he himself continued to press forward. Pearson connected with another right high kick, and then a punch to the head.
Trinaldo connected with another high kick of his own that landed flush and hard. Pearson caught it afterwards, however, and scored a takedown.
Trinaldo scrambled up with two minutes left, continuing to use feints and his lateral foot movement to stay out of danger. Trinaldo mixed in a left punch, left inside leg kick and then left high kick, along with his movement.
The win is Trinaldo’s fifth-straight, and improved his record to 19-4. The loss drops Pearson’s record to 20-10-1.