MONTREAL – Although they didn’t provide quite as many fireworks as expected, strikers John Makdessi and Daron Cruickshank did engage in a 15-minute striking contest, which “The Bull” claimed by unanimous decision.
The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of Saturday’s UFC 158 event at Bell Centre in Montreal. It aired on FX following additional prelims on Facebook and ahead of a main card on pay-per-view.
For Makdessi, the win continued a resurgence after a recent two-fight skid.
The two strikers drew the ire of the crowd in the early going as they were hesitant to engage. Still, Cruickshank was able to sneak in a few sharp leg kicks that brought a welt to Makdessi’s thigh. Both started to settle into a rhythm as the round closed, and Cruickshank looked extremely confident as he dropped his hands and switched his stances, lashing out kicks from all angles.
Cruickshank remained the aggressor to open the second frame, and he worked more with his hands than his legs. However, just as he started to settle into a groove, Makdessi came back with several counter lefts and rights after finding his range and seizing control of the momentum. Cruickshank finished with a flourish as he missed on a sprinting knee attempt, but Makdessi’s late work appeared the most impressive of the frame.
Both fighters picked up the pace a bit in the final frame, but Makdessi’s counter shots did the most damage. On a few occasions, Cruickshank looked to take the fight to the mat, but Makdessi easily defended the moves and answered with crisp strikes. The final minutes were marred by a blatant Cruickshank eyepoke, but it was Makdessi who kept the momentum on the restart. Cruickshank went for broke in the closing seconds, but Makdessi’s hands earned him the win, and all three judges gave him the fight with 29-28 scores.
After disappointing back-to-back losses, Makdessi (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) now boasts a two-fight win streak. Cruickshank (12-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC), meanwhile, sees a six-fight win streak snapped in his first octagon loss.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 158 results include:
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Matt Erickson and Ben Fowlkes contributed to this report on-site in Montreal.