UFC 220 results: Takedowns help Enrique Barzola to unanimous decision over Matt Bessette

21 January 2018

BOSTON – Matt Bessette was a game opponent who presented some challenges for Enrique Barzola – when he wasn’t getting dropped to the canvas.

Barzola (14-3-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) won a unanimous decision against Bessette (22-8 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who was making his UFC debut. Barzola won with a pair of 29-28 scores and a 30-27 against the Connecticut-based Bessette, who came over as the former CES MMA featherweight champion.

The featherweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 220 event at TD Garden in Boston. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of additional prelims on FS1 and a main card on pay-per-view.

Bessette tried to get his jab working after the early feeling-out process, and Barzola looked for low kicks. Bessette mixed in some kick attempts up high and to the body, as well, and 90 seconds in briefly backed Barzola to the cage with a short combination. But the Peruvian didn’t seem hurt much by it and worked his way out. Once back in the center, he had to contend with the increasing confidence Bessette brought with kicks and he again backed Barzola up. But Barzola stayed right in the pocket to exchange while cautiously shifting side to side.

With 90 seconds left in the round, Barzola was able to change levels to scoop Bessette up for a slam. Bessette worked back to his feet 50 seconds later, then avoided Barzola’s second takedown attempt late in the frame and landed a head kick that Barzola smiled at before showboating with his arms down.

Bessette came out more aggressively in the second. When he backed Barzola to the cage and fired off a combination, Barzola again put his hands down and gestured Bessette’s way – so Bessette did it right back to him. Just ahead of 90 seconds into the round, a big Barzola low kick took Bessette right off his feet, and he landed some punches to the face when Bessette got up.

Midway through the round, Barzola again dropped for a takedown, and again pretty easily scooped Bessette up to drop him in the center of the cage. He didn’t fully drop to the canvas with him, but landed some punches while Bessette tried to work for a leg lock. Bessette got up with 80 seconds left in the frame, but again found himself fending off a takedown attempt that Barzola eventually landed. A third big slam came for Barzola just before the horn at the end of the round.

Bessette’s corner implored him at the start of the third to give “everything you’ve got,” no doubt believing he was down two rounds thanks to the takedowns. Bessette landed early, but it was nothing heavy enough to pose a true threat. Instead, it was Barzola who landed cleanly 90 seconds in and popped Bessette’s head back with a left. Midway through, Barzola put a good combination on Bessette just to remind him he wasn’t all takedowns. But with a minute left in the round, Barzola again picked Bessette up for a slam to put a cap on the solid performance.

Barzola won for the third straight time and fifth time in his past six fights. Bessette had a seven-fight winning streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 220 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 220, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Boston.)

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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