UFC Phoenix main card carries on with a welterweight bout between two who look to prove they belong in the tough welterweight division when Court McGee faces Ben Saunders
Court McGee has been around the UFC stage for quite some time now, but hasn’t been able to really get much going. McGee is looking to string together consecutive wins for the first time since 2013. The former TUF winner has won four bouts at welterweight, latest a thrilling decision victory against Dominique Steele, and will look to continue his rise up the welterweight ranking with a victory over the fan favorite Ben Saunders
Back in the octagon after a brief cut, Ben Saunders is coming off of a 17-second armbar victory at a regional event against Jacob Volkmann. In his last Octagon outing, Saunders was finished by Patrick Cote and was surprisingly cut from the roster.
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Saunders was on a three-fight winning streak before the loss to Cote, leaving many surprised at the promotion’s decision to let him go (it was revealed that Ben Saunders simply failed to sign a contract offer). Luckily, once Saunders dispatched Volkmann, they picked him right back up. Saunders will look to rebound against the tough Court McGee after proving that only the UFC has the right competition for him.
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The first round began with a quick clinch from McGee as he let loose with some knees. McGee had Saunders backing up with pressure early and often but Saunders was connecting with some solid shots of his own. Saunders looked to turn the tide in his favor with a sweet body kick right to the gut, but McGee answered with a large head kick.
The action continued at a consistent pace in the first round, and it was hard to tell who really had the upper hand. McGee bled slightly from his eye as the round ended, but he was the one pushing the action a the end of the round. Saunders on the other looked like he landed the better shots.
Round number two began with the same amount of pressure from both, McGee pushing the pressure but Saunders still connecting on the back foot. Saunders answered McGee’s pressure with some strong kicks to the body and head. Saunders strikes at this point looked efficient and crisp, while McGee, on the other hand, threw punches in bunches that did damage, but likely expended lots of energies.
McGee was busier at this point, but Saunders has been more accurate, and that is where the questions of how you judge a fight comes into effect in a fight like this where it is not to clear who is winning. McGee ended the round by getting Saunders against the cage and wearing him down before the bell. Interesting round to score as we headed into the final round.
The third round was clearly the round that would make a difference if they headed to judges scorecards. Saunders pushed the pace early, almost reversing the roles of what we saw in the first two rounds. McGee buckled Saunders ever so slightly with a hook, Saunders seemed ok but he looked a little wobbled and foggy. McGee never seemed to realize it and Saunders was able to recover for the time being.
McGee looked to turn the tides in his favor with a massive takedown that could sway the judges big time in such a close fight. McGee took top position as Saunders did his hardest to generate offense on his back with a triangle that didn’t seem to be putting McGee in any danger. Time began winding down and McGee ended the fight on top position, a huge round for Court McGee as we headed to the scorecards.
The judges’ scorecards read 29-28 all in favor of your winner… Ben Saunders. A real interesting decision but far from a robbery. The second round made all the difference, and the fighting community seemed to disagree with it. It was a question of McGee’s pressure vs. Saunders’s accuracy, and the judges saw the cleaner strikes of Saunders making the difference. Not a robbery at all.