Round 1 - Referee Shawn Gregory calls this lightweight fight. Touch of glovers and Duarte advances with a body jab. Couture kicks the leg. Duarte back with a combo. Couture circling and firing off leg kicks. Duarte attempting to make him pay with counter. Nice body shot for Duarte. Duarte catches kick and lands punch. Couture shoots and they hit the cage. Duarte countering with a modified guillotine, but gives it up. Couture has a leg, but gives it up, and Duarte escapes. Couture circling. Duarte rigth blocked. Couture jab blocked. Front kick lands. Duarte chases and fires off a combo that's blocked. Nice leg kick for Couture, and Duarte comes back with same. Duarte combo blocked. Duarte jabs in and Couture's counter hits air. He's lunging and missing. Duarte punches in, and they briefly lock up before COuture is out. Nice kick-jab combo for Couture. Duarte stalking in. Front kick for Couture. Nice counter right lands for Couture. They trade rights, and Couture's left follow-up misses. Duarte lands a glancing left, and then a nice left to the body. Couture's right misses. Another front kick, and Duarte's counter is blocked. Duarte leaps in with a knee and finishes with a one-two. Right hand lands for Couture. Body kick follow up. Duarte catches and leg and gets the fight down. Couture with an oma plata, and the crwod loves it. Space, and Couture kicks Duarte off with 10 seconds to go. MMAjunkie.com scores the frame 10-9 Duarte.
Round 2 - Duarte stalking in, and a Couture jab lands. Front kicks follow, and Duarte's counter misses. Duarte marches into clinch, but Couture pushes him off. Couture in turn shoots and gets the takedown, but he can't get far before Duarte pops up. Couture has a leg against the cage and loses it. Duarte resets, and Couture circles. Jab lands. Duarte catches kick and lands one of his own, prompting a touch of gloves and smiles. Duarte's combo ends with a landed kick. Couture charges back, lands a front kick and punch. Duarte's punch blocked, but leg kick lands big. Couture with front kick. Both miss with punches, but front kick punch is working for COuture. Duarte closes and gets takedown, but Couture pops right back up. Nice left for Coutre, and he presses things to the cage. Working the body and Duarte escapes as Couture misses with elbow. Right hand narrowly misses for Couture, and Duarte is stalking. Right hand for Duarte, and he catches a kick, but can't do anything with it this time. Duarte in with hooks that are blocked. Couture shoots again and stalls against the cage briefly before body lock does the job. Couture works to the back and gets in position for a choke, but Duarte turns to avoid. But Couture does it again, and this time, he's go the position. Duarte escapes again, but takes big shots from the bottom as the round closes. MMAjunkie.com scores the frame 10-9 for Couture. It's even at 19-19.
Round 3 - Touch of gloves, and it's anyone's fight. Elder Couture screaming, "Be first." Couture kicks the legs, and Duarte ties up. Couture hits him with a big knee to the body, and they break off. Duarte turns up the heat and stalks. Body kick lands for Duarte. Couture circling, picking his shots. Duarte has a power advantage, but most of his big shots are blocked. Couture ties things up and presses to the cage. Duarte gets space and escapes. High kick from Couture is blocked. Duarte shoots for takedown and gets it. He switches to front headlock and goes for a Peruvian necktie. He can't get it, but he stays in half-guard as Couture tries to escape. Couture almost gets a toss takedown after righting himself, and they lock up as Couture punches in with a body shot. Couture presses to the cage, but Duarte pushes him off. Duarte looks tired. His punches don't have the same sting. They lock up again, and Duarte misses on a trip, briefly giving Couture top position before he gets up. Couture drives for a takedown and gets it, but he's defending a triangle. Posturing out of it, Duarte somersaults and rights himself. Duarte catches kick but can't take the fight down. Couture knees from the clinch and presses for the takedown. He gets it, but Duarte sits against the cage. Couture working to flatten him out. Duarte finally gets to his knees and gets up. Couture lands a knee to the body at the bell. MMAjunkie.com scores the final frame 10-9 to Couture, giving him the win, 29-28. Ryan Couture def. Joe Duarte via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)