Having lost three straight fights, Argentina’s Laureano Staropoli was in must-win territory at UFC Vegas 41 on Saturday. The same could be said for opponent Jamie Pickett, who had lost both his fights after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series last year.
If nothing else, the middleweight showdown was likely to extend the winner’s career, and a big performance could instantly turn things around.
Things got off at a snail’s pace between Pickett and Staropoli on Saturday. The Argentinian middleweight pressed his opponent into the fence, and slowly, methodically went to work. Pickett appeared unable or unwilling to reverse position and most of the round would play out in this fashion. Towards the end of the frame, ref Mike Beltran had seen enough and re-started the action at center. Almost immediately, Staropoli put the fight back on the fence.
Round two saw Pickett start out aggressive, chasing the takedown. But a lot of the round would play out similar to the first: grappling exchanges by the fence. Staropoli showed some promise with his stand-up, until the final 90 seconds of the frame, when Pickett found success with a combo.
The third round saw a tired pair battling along the fence once again. Staropoli was in the driver’s seat, until a phantom low blow on the Argentinian halted the action. The knee in question appeared to hit the side of the leg, not the groin, but the delay was barely 30 seconds regardless. Back in the open, Pickett had half a round to make something happen. But it was Staropoli showing he still had gas in the tank in the dying seconds of the round. A much closer round than the other two.
Not the kind of performance Laureano Staropoli likely hoped for, and a win for Jamie Pickett in the end.
Official Result: Jamie Pickett def. Laureano Staropoli by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Updated to correct an inadvertent error in the result.