Monday, October 15, 2012
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Another tough opponent spelled a second straight loss for Saugerties High graduate Joey Gambino in Saturday night’s featherweight mixed martial arts bout on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 153 undercard at HSBC Arena.
Gambino drops to 9-2 for his career after losing a spirited three-round unanimous decision to The Ultimate Fighter season 14 winner Diego Brandao, who defeated fellow Saugerties native Dennis Bermudez in the reality show’s 2011 season finale to earn that title.
Brandao won all three rounds against Gambino for identical cumulative scores of 30-27 on the three judges’ cards.
BRAZIL NATIVE Brandao, who often employs a high-energy, go-for-broke style that leaves him tired and more vulnerable in the later rounds — as evidenced by his loss in his previous fight on May 26 to Darren Elkins — tempered his aggression against Gambino. Brandao knocked down Gambino twice in the fight and also had three takedowns over the 15-minute fight.
Gambino stayed close to his opponent in the first round, and opened a cut over Brandao’s right eye near the end of the round.
In the second round, Gambino landed a combination and also placed a jumping front kick and a strong left jab. Brandao turned aside Gambino’s try for an armbar and landed a hard left hook that buckled Gambino.
AFTER KNOCKING Gambino down with a right hand in the final round, Brandao screamed at Gambino to get up, clearly wanting a knockout in his first fight in his home country since 2009. But Gambino had no problem lasting the round despite going the final five minutes with a bloody nose.
Gambino posted a thank you note to his supporters and to his opponent on his Twitter account (@RagingWarrior) on Sunday morning.
“Thank you everyone for your support I will always be ready for a war when I step in that cage and fight till the end!” Gambino tweeted. To Brandao he wrote, “Thanks brother great war good luck in your future!”
The 23-year-old Gambino suffered his first professional loss to Steven Siler in his UFC debut on June 22. In that match, Gambino lost via submission in the first round shortly after Siler’s knee opened a gash over Gambino’s left eyebrow that required 12 stitches to close.
That forced a required medical suspension to allow the injury to fully heal.