DCU alumni Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred continues to be one of the biggest stars of Irish MMA as he extended his unbeaten UFC record to 2-0, narrowly defeating Russian Gasan Umalatov in a split decision victory in Stockholm.
Coming off a heroic comeback win in Dublin against Mike King three months ago, the judges awarded the former Analytical Science student for his heart and aggression as he grinded his way to his second win in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, much to the delight of a loyal group of travelling Irish fans.
Pendred got the better of his Russian opponent in the first round, landing a number of significant strikes and the only successful takedown of the bout. An inside leg kick knocking Umalatov down was among the highlights of the round.
The 27-year-old failed to find the same success with his striking in the second round. Umalatov was able to counter Pendred’s wild hooks to do a considerable amount of damage. The Russian landed a hard counter hook to put Pendred on his back and put his undefeated UFC record in jeopardy. Despite absorbing a number of punches, Pendred showcased his granite chin to weather the storm and survive the round.
In the decisive third round, Pendred found it difficult to find any openings in his opponent’s game. While the Irishman attempted to push the pace of the fight and create opportunities, Umalatov preferred to stay distant and counter punch his way through the final five minutes. The round was predominantly a stalemate between the two welterweights and the outcome was left to the judge’s scorecard.
Having never lost a fight by a judge’s decision, Pendred extended his winning streak to six fights when the judges scored the contest 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 in favour of The Punisher. Although the decision was somewhat controversial, Pendred explained that he was confident he had won the fight. “I was the one pushing forward and pushing the fight the whole time,” he said in his post-fight interview. “It was an awkward fight but a win is a win”.
While it may not have been the dominant display Pendred would have hoped for, a win at his preferred weight class will give the DCU graduate plenty of momentum as he eagerly awaits his next fight. “I want to get in there as soon as possible. I’m hoping to get in there before Christmas” Pendred said.
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