Stinson comes out punching, clearly the superior boxer. James attempts to respond with a kick, but Stinson catches it, trips him up, and takes his back. Stinson instantly looks for the choke, but can't get it. James shakes Stinson off and winds up in his guard, but is caught in an armbar. James manages to free his arm, and starts chipping away with punches to the ribs. Stinson controls James head, and his foe is forced to idly punch at his midsection from the guard. As the round winds down, James turns Stinson away from the fence, and it's Stinson from the bottom landing clean elbows. Sherdog.com sees the opening frame 10-9 James.
Stinson lands two hard hooks, but as he moves in to follow up, James puts him on the mat. James sets up in half guard, and resumes punching away to the body. The pace slows, and the pair are stood up. Upon standing, Stinson jumps in with a right hand, and James ducks under and puts him on the canvas again. Stinson's guard is aggressive, but he can't find any submissions. Stinson punches back from the bottom, but that's the only activity, so the bout is restarted standing once more. Stinson attacks, and the pair clinch up. Stinson cracks James, and James puts him on the mat. Stinson immediately starts framing up a triangle. He has James caught, and is pulling his arm across as the horn sounds. Sherdog.com sees the second round 10-9 for Tyler Stinson.
The third and final stanza starts and Stinson lands an inside leg kick. James responds with a left body kick of his own, followed by two lefts. Stinson launches a telegraphed left which James deftly dodges. James pushes Stinson to the cage and then the separate, Stinson keeping James at bay with his right jab. James takes his turn to push the pace, landing some crisp combinations, then missing an attempted takedown. More tentative punches until Stinson lifts up James and slams him to the cage floor, causing the local crowd to let out its approval. James returns the favor and gets into side control. Bell. Sherdog.com sees the round 10-9 for Tyler Stinson, and the fight for him 29-28 overall.
Official scores: Judge Gary Ritter sees the bout 29-28 for Nathan James. However, David Sutherland and Jim Lambert see it 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Tyler Stinson.