| This is an interesting fight that pits two TUF alumni against each other. Tavares was also the biggest favorite on the fight card in Indianapolis.
The fight started off with Tavares landing some nice leg kicks followed by some nice straights. Then it was McDaniel that was working the crisp straights and even utilized some clinching to control Tavares when the two were in close. About midway through the opening frame Tavares grazed McDaniel with a hook that dropped him. It may have been a slip but it didn’t matter because he came right back up. It was then apparent that McDaniel was looking to get the fight to the ground as he continued to initiate the clinch and was taking some double-leg shots. He wasn’t able to get any down but he looked decent on his feet. I was expecting Tavares to be outclassing Bubba on the feet but he stayed tough and in the face of Tavares the entire round. Still, with the kicks that Brad was landing throughout the round, I think Tavares took round 1, 10-9.
The second round saw Tavares come out with a sense of urgency as he landed some big combos and heavy kicks on McDaniel. About two minutes in Tavares rushed in and butted heads with McDaniel and gave up a takedown, but he composed himself and came back up to his feet moments later. Tavares then landed a straight kick to the gut of McDaniel and the fight was starting to turn in to a kicking battle. McDaniel rushed in late in the round but could not connect clean on Tavares. Brad landed some good jabs and a few hooks but nothing extremely significant landed throughout the round for either men. From a clinch late in the round Tavares scored a takedown but let Bubba up. The biggest things that landed in round 2 were the kicks by Tavares. I gave round 2 to The Hawaiian as well.
The third round started with McDaniel landing a good combo and he was pressing the pace, knowing he needed a finish to win. However, he got caught with a kick to the groin and the fight had to be stopped for a moment. When McDaniel was able to continue the men went back to work and it was McDaniel who moments later scored a takedown on Tavares. Tavares worked for a kimura but Bubba was able to pull out. After some good scrambles McDaniel was able to maintain control and apply pressure from the top. McDaniel wasn’t able to land anything huge to help him dig his way out of his two round deficit. McDaniel ended the round on top and absolutely won the third frame but it was not enough to get him the win.
McDaniel really poured it on in the third and showed a lot of heart but Tavares had already notched the first two rounds under his name, and all three judges saw it the same way: Tavares wins via unanimous decision (29-28 X3).
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