PHILADELPHIA --With repeated use of his right leg, Ivan Menjivar dictated the flow and controlled his UFC 133 bantamweight fight against Nick Pace of Staten Island.
Menjivar's leg kicks served a three-fold purpose:
1) They caused damage.
2) They set up his above-average striking and good combinations
3) They negated Pace's takedowns.
All that, and Menjivar couldn't see out of his left eye for the final minute or so of the first round afer Pace connected with a big knee. Menjivar won by unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring it 29-28.
In the first round, Pace (6-2) hung on the standing Menjivar's back with 90 seconds left in the round. It took him nearly a minute to get the rear naked choke hold on, but Menjivar was able to move Pace's arm to his chin and get out of the submission attempt near the end of the round.
“I happy with the win, he took me down so it was a very close fight. I think I punched him more than he did so I was more in control, but he hit me hard twice and that made my legs shake," Menjivar said.
Menjivar (23-8) came back in the second round to dominate, mixing in leg kicks, good stand-up and several knees in the clinch.
Menjivar asserted himself in the third round until Pace landed that knee. After that, Pace launched into a frenzy, chasing Menjivar around the cage. He wasn't able to land another clean and punishing blow.
“I hate losing more than I like winning, and I want to be the champion," Pace said. "It was very unlucky, but that’s MMA and that’s life, it's not always fair.”