The only thing missing for Matt Frevola from his fight with Lando Vannata was the victory.
Huntington’s Frevola threw a little bit of everything at Vannata, who gave it as well as he took it in a wild lightweight bout that was ruled a majority draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-28 Frevola) at UFC 230 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
After losing his UFC debut earlier this year, Frevola got a chance to display his skills on the biggest of stages over a full 15 minutes, entertaining an MSG crowd that was on his side throughout the bout. Frevola won the first and third rounds, 10-9, on all three scorecards, but lost the second round 10-8 on two judges’ cards for a pair of 28-28 scores that decided the result. The remaining judge scored the second round 10-9 for Vannata, giving the fight to Frevola, 29-28.
“I think I won. I knew I won Round 1. Round 2 I knew I lost, and I thought I won Round 3,” Frevola said. “At the end of the day, I’m just glad I think I earned another fight in the UFC so I’ll get back to work and get ready for the next one.”
The Serra-Longo fighter now is 6-1-1 in his professional career as he continues to search for his first UFC victory.
Frevola and Vannata traded heavy shots to start the fight before Vannata momentarily dropped Frevola with a head kick that knocked out Frevola’s mouthpiece. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Frevola landed a spinning kick of his own, followed by a knee that sent Vannata stumbling. In the final 30 seconds, Frevola clipped Vannata with a punch and went to the ground, mounting Vannata and looking for a choke, but was unable to finish the fight.
Frevola said he thought he had a shot at the finish the end of the first round, but held off to avoid gassing out.
“I hurt him, I was just being patient with it, but I knew he was tough so I didn’t want to go out there and blow it,” Frevola said.”
Frevola looked game again to start the second, but Vannata soon took control, landing an impressive front kick to the face. Vannata dropped Frevola about a minute into the round and appeared to have little issue picking his shots. Frevola recovered but was a step slower as the blood streamed from his nose. A Frevola takedown attempt in the final 30 seconds failed to land, and another almost led to a Vannata submission as the round closed.
With a second wind to start the third, Frevola went back to the high kick. When Vannata caught a Frevola kick, it was the Huntingtonian landing heavy punches as they went to the ground. Frevola stayed patient as a fatigued Vannata failed to land a clean shot and with about a minute left, Frevola briefly took Vannata to the mat, but couldn’t keep him down. Frevola landed a few more clean punches in the final second, but the horn sounded and the fight ended with both fighters throwing their hands in the air in celebration of an expected victory that never came.
Frevola said he wasn’t all that satisfied with the draw, but that would change if a $50,000 post-fight bonus came his way at night's end.