Dorchester’s John Howard Outsmarts A Much Bigger Opponent At UFC 189
A methodical John “Doomsday” Howard scored a split decision win in a surprisingly lively welterweight bout with Cathal Pendred at UFC 189 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
With the win the trim looking Dorchester fighter maintained his spot on the UFC roster by snapping a bruising three fight losing streak that included a TKO loss at the TD Garden in January.
Howard delivered one of the more intelligent fights of his career by neutralizing the much larger Pendred’s size advantage with smart spacing and effective striking.
With the exception of the third round, Howard (23-11) kept his strong right leg kicks to a minimum and focused primarily on stand up striking. Even though he minimized the use of his leg kicks he was effective in deploying them and injured Pendred (17-3-1) in the lower body to such a degree that he appeared to be limping at the start of the third round.
Howard solidified the first round for himself when he delivered a flurry of swinging punches to Pendred’s head.
In the second Howard closed the final ten second of the round with another blast of power punches to Pendred’s chin and upper body.
The third round saw Howard easily escape out of the only incident where he appeared to be in any danger when Pendred had him locked in a weak guillotine choke.
The Fox Sports 1 prelim fight was Pendred’s first loss in the UFC since moving up to the big boy promotion in 2014.
In his post-fight interview Howard said that he was “very nervous” about the traditional striker vs grappler fight going to decision.
Howard said that his main focus in the fight was avoiding any takedowns from Pendred.
“I did not want to get taken down by him because when he’s on top of you, you’re not getting him off,” said Howard, who described Pendred as being very strong in the clinch.
Howard had nothing but praise for Pendred and said the young Irishman will go far in his UFC career.
After his last loss Howard left Wai Kru in Allston and changed training camps for the first time in his UFC career. Howard said that his loss in Boston was so devastating for him that he bawled his eyes out after the fight.
“Sometimes it takes a loss to realize you did something wrong and get better,” he said.
The crucial win for Howard is his first with new trainer Mark DellaGrotte.
“He took me under his wing and helped me with this fight. I got the victory so obviously it’s working,” said Howard.
Howard said DellaGrotte helped him with his power punches and utilize his skills better than he has in the fast.
“It’s a brand new Doomsday,” said Howard.