Bushmills UFC star Norman Parke had to make do with a majority draw in his latest fight on Sunday night.
Parke was taking on fellow ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ (TUF) winner Leonardo Santos at UFC Fight Night 38 in Natal, Brazil.
Parke opened southpaw in the first round while Santos worked from the more traditional orthodox stance. As expected, both used kicks to establish range and distance in the early going.
Santos was able to land a punishing body kick and uppercut, but Parke responded by pressing Santos into the fence. The two traded strikes until Santos reached for a shot, but Parke was able to defend both in open space and against the fence. Referee Wernei Cardoso separated the two and again, both landed their own set of strikes: Parke with the short punches, Santos with the counter striking hooks.
The second round opened with a fury as Santos landed a hard uppercut, but Parke scored with his own leg kicks and short punches. Santos attempted a double leg in the center of the cage, but Parke had none of it, pressing Santos into the fence, tight on hip to hip control. Seemingly out of nowhere, Parke is docked a point for grabbing the shorts against the fence, although without warning. Both fighters dueled in the clinch, each landing their own shots, although Parke was totally unable to threaten with the takedown.
Parke opened the third frame aggressively, landing kicks on Santos’ arms and legs. Parke spent an awful lot of time pressing Santos in the clinch, albeit with very limited results even if he controlled the position. Despite a referee break, Parke went right back to the position and attempted everything he could, but could only manage minor trips and short knees or punches.
The two eventually separated and opened up momentarily, only for Parke to use Santos’ failed takedown attempt to yet again press him into the fence.
In the end, the judges saw it for 29-27 Santos, 28-28, and 28-28 to reach a majority draw. Santos’ record moves to 12-3-1 while Parke changes to 20-2-1.