HOUSTON – Despite getting poked in the eye on two occasions, Tim Boetsch managed to overcome and win a split decision over C.B. Dollaway.

In a fight with divergent scorecards, a point deduction for Dollaway wasn’t as big a factor as one might expect.

The middleweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC 166 event at Toyota Center in Houston. It aired on FOX Sports 1 after additional prelims on Facebook and ahead of the pay-per-view main card.

Two of three judges gave all three rounds to Boetsch by scores of 30-26, while one gave all three to Dollaway, 29-27.

According to the UFC’s official stat provider, Fight Metric, Boetsch edged Dollaway in significant strikes, 54 percent to 48 percent. However, he gave up several takedowns and spent significant amounts of time in inferior positions on the mat.

From the outset, Dollaway also enjoyed an advantage in speed, which he used to brilliant effect as he countered Boetsch’s lumbering power punches. When Boetsch attempted to turn the fight into the close-quarters slugfest he favors, Dollaway escaped or secured a takedown.

Several times, however, Boetsch was able to corner Dollaway and land thudding knees in close.

Meanwhile, Dollaway channeled his inner Nick Diaz, frequently holding his hands in the air and goading Boetsch into attacking. Unfortunately, his fingers did much of the talking when it came time to engage.

Early in the third round, Dollaway sent Boetsch to the mat with an eyepoke. After a restart, Boetsch tried to win back momentum by charging forward with punches, but before he could turn the fight in his favor, he was again poked in the eye, which prompted the referee to take a point.

A mad scramble for position made up the final moments of the fight. Afterward, the audience lustily booed Dolloway while cheering Boetsch.

Boetsch’s (17-6 MMA, 8-5 UFC) win puts him back on the right track after back-to-back losses in the UFC, while Dollaway (14-4 MMA, 7-5 UFC) sees a two-fight streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 166 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 166, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Houston.

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