If Che Mills had been able to keep the fight standing he would have won, because his stand-up was clearly several levels above that of Riddle’s. His distancing and timing were better and his overall striking game much cleaner. In the standing phases Riddle was generally being picked apart and, in the third round, outright power-bombed.
Unfortunately for Mills though, Riddle’s wrestling ability was several levels above his. In particular Riddle’s use of the single leg is outstanding and he was repeatedly able to catch it and to finish it from multiple positions. Perhaps the nicest example was when he caught the single, couldn’t run the pipe and passed the leg high outside to hit the trip.
At the same time as he did that, Mills jumped and used his standing leg to kick Riddle in the head. Had that resulted in a KO it would have been damn near the KO of the Century/World/Ever but instead it got a big ‘oooh’ from the crowd and landed Mills on his back, where Riddle was able to use a crushing top game to shut him down.
Riddle’s best chance of a finish came with a second-round back-take. With a body-triangle locked in and squeezing the air out of Mills, he was fishing for the rear naked choke but couldn’t quite find it. With about half a minute left on the clock he switched to mount and Mills rode the round out to avoid the damage and go into the third.
The third round had Mills’ best moments. He very nearly drew Riddle into a war but after taking a few hefty digs, Riddle was persuaded that his route to victory lay on the ground and he went back to the single leg hunt. In the last minute of the third, Mills was able to drop Riddle but was very static from standing, throwing a few snappy kicks into Riddle’s ass and not doing much more besides. He then elected to allow Riddle back to his feet and that pretty much marked the end of his chances.
I had it 29-28 for Riddle.
The judges came back with 29-28 Riddle, 29-28 Mills (?!) and 30-27 Riddle for a split-decision Riddle’s way.
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