Josh Koscheck (17-5) defeats rising prospect Mike Pierce (13-5) at UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events center in Las Vegas, NV. It was a grueling three round boxing, and grappling match that ended in favor of the ‘real’ curly haired villian. Here is the full play-by-play.

Round One:
Kos ignores the touching of gloves offer. Pierce goes for a single quickly and it is stopped by Koscheck. Pierce with one under hook has Kos against the fence. Kos gets the knee to the body. Kos attempts thai plum and Pierce uses it to counter as he exits. Pierce comes forward with the jab, shoots and again it’s stuffed. Koscheck starts to work the jab, and Pierce responds with a right. Kos lands his own right. Stiff jab lands for Pierce.Pierce comes forward with left hook and is caught with counter. Pierce shoots in for the single and failed as the round ends.

Round Two:
Pierce lands first with a right hand. Pierce shoots the single and gets it to the fence. Pierce catches Koscheck with the jab, and does again. Kos not seeming tentative. Kos looking to land big hooks and Pierce dodges. Pierce is cut from an accidental head-butt as blood starts to roll from hairline. Ref. Dean stops fighters and gives verbal warning to Koscheck for pawing with open hands. Kos shoots and gets the takedown with ease. Kos takes the back briefly and Pierce stumbles to standing.

Round Three:
Koscheck starts to work the jab, Pierce takes advantage and gets his own takedown. Kos shakes off Pierce and back up. Kos lands an elbow against the fence. The two tie-up and Pierce gets in some dirty boxing. Kos attempts the single leg and Pierce stops it against the fence. Dean stops the clinch and resets them in the center. Pierce is eye gauged by Kos as he holds his fingers out. Dean gives him his ‘last warning.’ Reset and Kos gets a double to take Pierce down. Pierce pops up with Kos holding Pierces back. Pierce throws a spinning elbow to end the round.

Official: Josh Koscheck defeats Mike Pierce via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

34-year-old Koscheck, a former top welterweight contender and TUF season one semi-finalist will look to either continue his climb back to the top of the division or move up to light heavyweight should Georges St-Pierre continue to reign the division. The issue for Koscheck is that a third bout may come hard as he already holds two losses to the current champion.