Josh Bryant VS. Kris McCray
The fighters trade a few shots to start, and McCray flies in with a knee. Bryant avoids much damage and clinches briefly. Neither fighter has an advantage, and Bryant breaks away.
On the restart, McCray lands a few solid punches and finished with a kick to the body. Another knee finds the mark, and the pair moves back into the clinch. McCray tries to drop for a takedown, but he can't elevate. A second effort a trip earns the desired result, and McCray takes mount. Bryant rolls, and McCray takes the back, even as his opponent stands. Bryant tries to slide out the back and nearly leaves an arm in, but he eventually works to his feet.
Both fighters trade uppercuts from a collar tie, though McCray continues to mix in knees. McCray tries again for a takedown, and he eventually gets it to the floor, though only briefly. Bryant continues to scramble free in each situation, though McCray keeps the pressure on consistently.
The action isn't high-paced, but McCray is controlling the majority of it. Bryant spins to top momentarily, but McCray again reverses and lands a right hand to the jaw. The pace continues to slow in the final minute. McCray throws some tired punches to the gut, but both fighters look tired. Bryant looks for a single in the closing seconds, but it's obvious McCray has taken the round.
As round two opens, it's obvious McCray has a bit less pep in his step. Nevertheless, Bryant has yet to really open up. A jab changes that, and right hand follows. Bryant lands an uppercut in the clinch, then a knee. McCray looks stunned by the blows, though he answers with a kick to the gut.
The two clinch, and Bryant lands a left that knocks McCray's mouthpiece out, then another stiff hook. Hackleman goes crazy in the corner yelling for more. McCray does answer with a nice knee in the clinch, but Bryant takes him down and works to the back. McCray on his knees, and Bryant grabs a crucifix. He rolls to the side, and the pair return to their feet.
Bryant again lands a solid shot with his hands then moves to the clinch. From there, he elevates McCray and slams him to the floor. Both fighters tiring on the floor, but Bryant working more. McCray digs deep and drags Bryant down and sets up in his guard.
McCray throws a few punches to the body and head on the ground, but there's not a ton of zip on the shots. Bryant works an open guard underneath, and he looks for an armbar with seconds left. His legs slip off, and the round comes to an end. It appears the fight is destined for a third round, though Hackleman seems to think Bryant may have won.
McCray collapses in his corner, while Hackleman keeps Bryant moving. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer quickly signals that the two will indeed head to sudden victory.
As the third opens, McCray looks exhausted. Still, he does press forward ad engage a clinch. Bryant spins off and pushes his opponent into the cage before dropping for a single leg takedown. McCray locks in a kimura grip briefly to defend, but Bryant eventually works him to his knees.
McCray pops back to his feet, but Bryant lands a few uppercuts inside. Bryant again looks for a takedown, but both fighters push to a stalemate. There's very little action at the halfway point of the frame. Both fighters look tired, though Bryant sneaks in an occasional punch to score points.
Referee Herb Dean call for a restart with a little more than a minute, and Bryant again lands a few heavy punches the stun McCray. The fight moves into a clinch and onto the floor, and Bryant is in top position. He look for a rear-naked choke with just seconds remaining. It appears tight, but McCray fights until the final bell. Nevertheless, the result seems apparent.
The scores are read, and Bryant is awarded the unanimous decision.
* Josh Bryant def. Kris McCray via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
McCray collapses on the floor after the decision is read. Tavares and McCray help him to the locker room, and Ortiz is beside himself at the results. Ortiz credits Liddell's success to a lucky "rabbit's foot up his ass."