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Buried on the prelims of UFC Fight Night 121, losing streak met losing streak as Damien Brown and Frank Camacho stood across from one another in the cage. Camacho had lost his UFC debut up a weight class while Brown had just suffered the first knockout loss of his career to Vinc Pichel a few months prior.
Despite their relatively unimpressive previous outings, there was still a good chunk of hype surrounding this fight: two brawlers with serious durability. The two did not disappoint.
The opening round was the least eventful of the fight as both fighters spent a large amount of time up against the cage and working strikes in the clinch. Despite a lack of movement across the cage, a grinding pace was set from the get-go in the clinch. Brown consistently hunted the takedown while Camacho was happy to reverse position and throw body shot after body. The most notable moment of the round came in the form of Brown getting Camacho down and locking in a rear-naked choke with 25 seconds to go. Despite the submission looking tight, Camacho reversed the position and ended the round in mount.
The second round was when the fight began to deliver on its promise. Camacho's pursuit of the body shot was starting to get thwarted by Brown's lead elbow. Every time Camacho would close distance, Brown would put a lead elbow behind one of his shots to punish him.
In this 'take-two-to-give-one' game plan by Brown, he started to absorb a lot of punishment. Camacho was landing clean with most of his shots as Brown rested on his toughness and durability to walk through shots. The most fascinating thing about this fight is that, even though Brown was absorbing the more impactful strikes, he was still able to make smart and calculated adjustments offensively. He didn't return to the takedowns he had attempted in round one but he started to fake the level change to force a reaction out of Camacho and then land an uppercut. But amidst the savviness of Brown's striking, there was Camacho landing concussive strikes over and over.
Heading into the third round, it was likely 19-19 and both men fought as though it was. Despite a swollen eye and a bloodied face, it was Brown who led the dance in the opening moments of the round. His step-in elbow disrupted Camacho's flurry which saw the fight break into a slugfest. If there had been even a single iota of defence on show from either fighter in the previous rounds, it was now null. At one point, commentator John Gooden even exclaims "defence? what is defence?" Camacho and Brown were defending punches with their skulls.
Fought at a truly unrelenting pace, Brown and Camacho would be awarded with Fight of the Night honours for their gnarly slugfest.
UFC Fight Pass subscribers can watch the fight here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/60826/frank-camacho-vs-damien-brown-ufc-fight-night