Easton Retains UWC Gold in Controversial Main Event

By Brian Knapp Oct 3, 2009
Chase Beebe might demand a recount on this one.

The judges smiled upon defending Ultimate Warrior Challenge bantamweight champion Mike Easton, as he retained his crown with a controversial split decision over Beebe in the featured bout at UWC 7 “Redemption” on Saturday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.

Scores were 48-46, 48-47 and 49-46, as two of the three cage-side judges sided with Easton in a decision many observers viewed as bogus. Beebe spent almost three full rounds on Easton’s back but went unrewarded for his efforts. He has now lost four in a row, two of them by split verdict.

“That was a close fight,” Easton said. “I walked away with the win. I’m ready to fight again and do what I need to do.”

Easton was effective while standing, but Beebe, a decorated amateur wrestler, closed the distance with ease, scored with takedowns and captured back mount multiple times with his hooks in. Though he did not exact much of a toll from behind, the former World Extreme Cagefighting titleholder peppered Easton with strikes and threatened him with chokes. Still, it was not enough to sway the judges.

A 25-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who has rattled off five consecutive victories, Easton enjoyed his most productive round in the second, when he chopped away at Beebe with leg kicks and popped him with left hooks to the body. He was booed lustily in his hometown after the decision was announced.

“I was killing him standing up,” Easton said. “It was a close fight, but it is what it is. It was controversial. I love those kinds of fights. I’m the champ. Gotta beat the champ.”

Runez Reigns

In what most insiders hailed as the most significant flyweight fight in mixed martial arts history outside of Japan, Pat Runez displayed remarkable resilience and grinded out a split decision over John Dodson to become the UWC’s first 125-pound king. Scores were 48-47, 48-47 and 48-46.

The unbeaten Runez survived a harrowing exchange in the second round in which he absorbed a left hook and fell face first to the canvas. Dodson, a Greg Jackson disciple, swarmed his wounded foe but failed to finish, as he tried everything from punches and ground-and-pound to a standing guillotine choke.

“I don’t even know what hit me,” Runez said. “Next thing I know I’m covering up. Dodson deserves respect. He’s a warrior.”

Later in the round, he doubled over Runez with a liver kick, but the Arizona Combat Sports thoroughbred stood firm and made it to the end of the period with his wits intact. Dodson thought he had the fight won.

“He was a tough opponent,” he said. “I thought I had him rocked, thought I had him out in the second. He came back strong. That’s a true champion right there.”

For much of the five-round tilt, Runez was the aggressor. He stalked Dodson methodically, picked his spots and made his shots count. The 30-year-old Palace Fighting Championship veteran bounced back from a pair of takedowns in the fourth round and flurried in the closing moments with knees and punches. Round five followed a similar path, as Dodson backpedaled and Runez advanced with relentless purpose.

“I’m just going to enjoy my belt while I’ve got it,” Runez said. “My goal is to face harder and harder opponents and work my way up the ranks.”

Baker Mauls Truex

One of the sport’s most feared clinch fighters worked his magic yet again, as Kyle Baker wore down Tommy Truex and iced him with one second left in the first round.

Baker weathered some early power punches from Truex, dragged the Sportfight veteran into the clinch and sapped his will one strike at a time. Pounding the head and body with knees, elbows and punches, Baker chipped away at Truex and took him out with a series of knees to the head against the cage.

“I’m wonder when the UWC will give me a little gold to wear around my waist,” Baker said. “He was tough. I got caught a few times. I heard ’10 seconds left’ and I just let the knees go.”

Baker, 28, has delivered six wins in his past seven bouts. The defeat snapped a four-fight winning streak for Truex, who trains under the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts banner in Albuquerque, N.M.

Other Bouts
Timothy Woods def. Ryan Sturdy -- TKO (Punches) 0:35 R3
Jacob McClintock def. Beau Baker -- TKO (Punches) 3:30 R1
Kris McCray def. Igor Almeida -- TKO (Punches) 0:49 R1
Iman Achhal def. Sumi Sakai -- TKO (Punches) 2:30 R2
Jessie Riggleman def. Josh Ferguson -- Split Decision
Freddy Assuncao def. Felipe Arantes -- Unanimous Decision
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>