Frustrating Umalatov bout has lit a fire under Cathal Pendred

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Nobody wanted to impress more than Cathal Pendred in Stockholm on October 4. Without the pressure of his hometown crowd, back at his preferred welterweight class and having already banked his UFC debut win, the only thing left to do was to see off Russian Gasan Umalatov. Having promised a first round finish, Pendred had every intention of doing so.

Although Pendred would claim the only victory out of three SBG team mates that were in action on the night, the contest itself was quite an anti-climax. Umalatov seemed uninterested in attacking about from halfway through the first round and contented to crack Pendred with his left hand as the Irishman struggled to find range against a constantly retreating target.

Pendred looked perplexed himself at times during the bout. Perhaps he was pausing for action from his counterpart or simply fed up exchanging with air. Now matched with Sean Spencer for Boston’s January card, the former Cage Warriors champion revealed how he was “bitterly disappointed” with his last outing where he felt his opponent denied him of a chance winning a bonus.

“I’d never experienced a guy that would literally not throw a punch when I moved forward,” said Pendred. “I remember thinking in my head ‘what do I do here’. He wanted me to come forward, he wasn’t going to do it, but you never want to play into your opponent’s game. I was being a bit tentative and hoping that he would start to fight, but he wouldn’t.

“I didn’t want to be involved in a fight where both of us are just circling around. It was frustrating, but I’ve learned how to deal with that now. I know what worked and what didn’t work. Up to that point I’d never seen someone constantly step back like that, not even in sparring.

“It’s nearly impossible to take people like that down because every time you come forward they step off. It’s impossible to even throw a jab. I don’t think anyone else in UFC will do that to me. I felt I had the better of him everywhere, I thought I’d make a statement, I thought I’d get a bonus and I feel he denied me of all of that. I was bitterly disappointed. The fight wasn’t much of a spectacle.”

When it came time for the decision to be read out for the bout, it was quite difficult for most of the spectators to distinguish whose hand would be raised.

Specifically, a shot that appeared to have dropped Pendred midway through the second round brought parity to the pairs’ cases for victory. However, the SBG welterweight is adamant that it wasn’t a solid connection that saw him meet the canvas, but a simple loss of balance as he attempted to force action from his counterpart.

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“The thing that annoys me most about that fight is that people think I got dropped in that fight, I did not get dropped. I was trying to figure out how to get him, I couldn’t even hit him with a jab because he kept moving off. I faked a kick and threw a superman punch.

“As I landed with my two feet square, I was ready for the left hook because that’s all he was doing, I ducked the left and he threw a right – with my feet square I was just knocked off balance. People gave him the second round because of that knockdown, really it was just me being off balance,” revealed Pendred.

The Dubliner also pointed out some discrepancies he had with one of the judges on the night, claiming that a certain member of the panel should never be selected in that capacity again.

“I couldn’t believe it was a split decision. I know the judge that gave that split decision, it was the same ref that gave Story the 50-44 against Gunni. I think he should never be allowed judge a fight again and to be honest, there was a bit of a conflict of interest with him judging on the card to begin with.”

Pendred seems hell bent on banking an impressive performance against Sean Spencer. Although the Umalatov performance didn’t turn a lot of heads, there is no doubt that the TUF 19 semi-finalist will use the October bout as fuel for his fire heading into the Boston showdown.

@PetesyCarroll

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