It’s John Makdessi and Mehdi Baghdad’s turn at bat. Makdessi was once considered a badass striker, but he got completely destroyed by Donald Cerrone on the feet, so he needs to make up some lost ground.

Though shorter, Makdessi does a great job of staying a moving target while exploding forward with side-kicks and punches that score. Baghdad seems to have trouble with this, trying to find his range but missing often. Meanwhile, Makdessi keeps racking up the points.

Baghdad adds leg-kicks to the equation in Round 2 and starts seeing some success. But Makdessi is throwing feints and slipping punches to get inside, and it’s clear who the better, more experienced striker is in the cage. For his part, Baghdad doesn’t get discouraged, and instead of giving up and half-assing it, cranks up his output, throwing more and – eventually – landing more. They’re not hard strikes, but they count.

All it takes is one good strike to turn the tide, and in the first minute of Round 3, Baghdad lands that one good strike, stumbling his opponent. Baghdad pours on the kicks and punches, opening up a cut on Makdessi’s head, but he totally screws up by jumping for a flying armbar that is easily avoided. That’s gives the dazed fighter enough time to regain his senses. However, when they get back to their feet, Baghdad cracks and dazes him again. They brawl a bit, slow down, and in the final minute it’s Makdessi’s turn to stun his foe. Baghdad falls to his butt, and the horn sounds with Makdessi in his guard.


Result: John Makdessi def. Mehdi Baghdad via Split Decision