Chris Cariaso vs. Michael McDonald: Round 1
Josh Rosenthal is in charge of this bantamweight tilt. McDonald cracks Cariaso with a kick and Cariaso shoots. They clinch up briefly and McDonald cracks his man with a right hand as they disengage. Cariaso flicking out nice leg kicks, but McDonald is timing them and answering with hard combos down the middle. McDonald lands an outside thigh kick of his own, then stumbles Cariaso with a left hook. Cariaso gets off a good right hand as he wades inside, but McDonald grabs the neck and considers jumping guard with a guillotine. He doesn’t and circles away from the cage, where Cariaso continues to give chase with low kicks. The momentum from one kick causes Cariaso to slip and McDonald gives chase. Hard elbow from “Mayday” on top and he stands back up with a minute to go. McDonald ducks under a high kick just before the horn and plows Cariaso to the floor, where Cariaso tries for a heel hook as the round ends.
Round 2: Kicks continue to comprise the bulk of Cariaso’s offense as round two begins; McDonald continues to try and time it for a takedown or home run shot. Cariaso ducks inside on the much taller McDonald with a one-two and Rosenthal warns them about clashing heads. McDonald times a kick and sweeps the back leg out from underneath Cariaso. He pops right back up. McDonald is keeping his distance, using his range as he picks his shots. Left inside thigh kick from Cariaso finds McDonald’s cup and the Californian is given time to recover. Cariaso’s corner tells its fighter that they believe McDonald has injured an arm. McDonald recovers and they resume with two minutes to go. McDonald takes a kick on the forearm, goes for a shot and is stuffed. He bullies Cariaso against the fence and exits with a sharp right inside. He times a kick and takes Cariaso straight down, then moves to side control. McDonald nearly gets mount, but Cariaso squirms out and stands just before the end of the round.
Round 3: Kicks to the body are again the weapon of choice for Cariaso. McDonald tries to catch another, but winds up on the underside with Cariaso in his half-guard. McDonald ties up the right arm of Cariaso, who’s being kept at bay by McDonald’s long butterfly guard. McDonald regains full guard and closes it up. McDonald throws up a triangle that forces Cariaso to stand. Two minutes to go in the fight. McDonald drives Cariaso down and gets his right arm trapped in an omoplata. Cariaso has the limb triangle with 90 seconds to go, but McDonald stays calm and is able to extract it quickly. Cariaso tries to close it out with more kicks, but McDonald stays away and the final minute winds down without much landed.
Official scores: Judge Tony Weeks has it a clean sweep for Cariaso, 30-27. However, judges Adalaide Byrd and Glenn Trowbridge see it 29-28 for Michael McDonald, the winner by split decision.