Round 1 - Referee Frank Gentile the third man for this welterweight fight. Rocha points out some extra vaseline on Pierce's face, and we pause. Then, it's bombs away as both fighters fling punches before locking up and jockeying for position. Pierce tries a trip, and Rocha goes with a knee. Pierce pushes him against the fence and knees the legs. They trade knees to the body. Pierce pushes Rocha to another portion of the octagon cage. More knees from both. This should go over well with the audience. Rocha pulls Pierce back on top of him, and Pierce stays alert for sub attempts and pulls away. Rocha with a couple of floppy jabs. Then a big high kick. Pierce comes back with the same. then chases in with punches and hoists Rocha up. Rocha ain't going down, and they're back against the cage. Pierce working knees, and breaks off for a split second to try another takedown. Nope. He eats a knee to the body. Rocha tries to break free, but Pierce presses him against the cage and dumps him with a nice takedown. Pierce stands overhead and lets Rocha up. He misses a front kick and circles around. Round ends in a staring match. MMAjunkie.com scores the lackluster frame for Pierce, 10-9.
Round 2 - Pierce looking for an opening. A single punch is all he needs before charging in and stuffing Rocha against the fence. Can't get the takedown, but another exchange, and he's back in Rocha's face and the two are back on the cage. Double-leg attempt successful for Pierce, and Rocha angles for a leg, but Pierce escapes and stands overhead. He takes Rocha's feet and wings down a punch. Clearly, he doesn't want to get too close. Better to wing down the occasional right hand. Those are working well. Nice right elbow from up top. Rocha throws his legs up, but Pierce is ready. Rocha angling hips for something, but Pierce is playing well from guard. Body-body-head lands big for Pierce. Rocha wants a knee, but Pierce ain't having it. Punches from overhead keep coming. Rocha rolling to his knees, and Pierce is at his back. Rocha stands and fires off an elbow as he's stuffed against the cage. A throw attempt is blocked. Pierce with a punch inside, then short upward elbow. Rocha manages to escape in the final seconds of the round, but he's out of time. Boos greet end of round. MMAjunkie.com scores the frame 10-9 for Pierce.
Round 3 - Final round, and Pierce wants that takedown again. A punch and kick and he's got Rocha against the fence. Rocha gets away and tries to land a kick. Pierce considers a pursuit but reconsiders. Another flashy kick from Rocha at range, and Pierce resumes his charge. He nearly gets bowled over when Rocha changes levels at the cage, but he recovers to squash the Brazilian against the fence again. Referee separates them, and we're about halfway through the round. Rocha with a lazy kick. Pierce punches in and catches the leg of the retreating Rocha, using it to force the takedown. Punches up top from Pierce, and a series of hard elbows to the leg. Body-head for Pierce. He's wailing away, and Rocha isn't doing much to escape. Pierce, however, can't seem to land that one blow that's going to put a stop to the fight. Even when he stands over head and fires down, Rocha survives. The Brazilian certainly isn't winning, though. He's getting beat on, and with less than 30 seconds left, this fight is in the bag if Rocha can't turn it around. A flurry of hard punches from Pierce end the fight, sealing a 10-9 round for a 30-27 score on MMAjunkie.com's scorecard.
Mike Pierce def. Carlos Eduardo Rocha via split decision (27-30, 30-27, 30-27)