Cholish and Castillo engaged in a closely contested match-up (Photo courtesy of Team Cholish).
Lightweight Sees Eight-Fight Winning Streak Snapped
Lightweight John Cholish (8-2) entered his second bout in the UFC on Saturday night with an eight-fight winning streak intact, but he knew that he was facing a more than formidable opponent in WEC/UFC veteran Danny Castillo (14-4). The two skillful mixed martial artists fought a very tight chess match over the course of three rounds, and it was the tiniest of margins that gave Castillo the edge from the cageside judges to eventually emerge with a unanimous decision victory.
“That was a very technical battle, and we had some great back and forth,” Cholish said after the fight. “I have a lot of respect for Danny as a true veteran of the sport, and it was an honor to fight him. It was great to fight with hometown fans behind me, but I just wish I could have given them a better performance. I’ve just got to get right back in the gym and work on getting better.”
Both competitors showed noticeable respect for one another’s ability throughout the entire encounter, as they each approached confrontation cautiously to avoid creating any type of vulnerability for themselves. In the opening round, they engaged in a clinch battle for positioning over the first half of the frame before carefully plotting an attack from the standing position. While Cholish looked loose and was moving well, Castillo showed veteran savvy in making sure he was not left open for a significant attack.
Early in the second round, Cholish found success when a quick switch foot confused Castillo mid-punch, and the Cornell graduate rolled under the strike to secure a takedown. The action did eventually return to its feet, but Cholish appeared to have the frame in his bag until Castillo scored a late slam in the waning seconds to steal the round.
In the final frame, Cholish tried to faint Castillo into taking an offstep forward, but the California native was not biting and remained firm in his stance. While in the standing position, a Muay Thai engagement occurred during the middle of the round with Cholish gaining control of Castillo’s neck and looking to start the preliminary stages of setting up a submission attempt. However, he was unable to find the opening he needed, and the duo continued to grapple for the advantage until the horn sounded to conclude the fight.
With 15 minutes in the books, the cageside judges revealed their decision, which was flush 30-27s in favor of Castillo.
“It’s always great to get a win,” Castillo remarked. “It wasn’t my best performance, but I’ve been working hard in the gym. I should be knocking guys out, but for some reason I’m not. My next fight will hopefully get me one step closer to the strap, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m not young anymore, and I’ve got to start working harder and start getting these finishes again.”
The win by Castillo ended a highly impressive eight-fight winning streak for Cholish, also marking the first time since his second professional bout that the action went the distance.