By Jake Donovan
Mykquan Williams remained perfect, following a dominant 10-round unanimous decision win over Rickey Edwards in their UFC Fight Pass-streamed main event Friday evening at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Conn.
Scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 100-90 were all in favor of Wlliams in a super lightweight contest which saw both boxers fighting in the first 10-round affair of their respective careers.
The difference in aggression and will to win was evident from the opening bell. Williams showed the benefits of having recently trained with former two-division titlist Danny Garcia, repeatedly taking the fight to Edwards who spent most of the night on the defensive.
It wasn’t at all the direction Edwards had envisioned heading in, sporting a ring outfit in honor of recently slain hip hop artist and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle who was shot and killed in his Crenshaw hometown this past March. Edwards couldn’t draw any inspiration from the gesture, as the Patterson (N.J.) struggled to untrack his offense.
There was no such issue on the part of East Hartford’s Williams, who rocked his foe in round two courtesy of a clean overhand right. He continued to press the action, as well as run his mouth; there was plenty of chatter during and after the bell in nearly every round, although the trash talk just as one-sided as was the ring action,
Edwards put in his best work in round five, doing a better job of Williams’ punches and firing back with right hand shots. Rather than remaining on the defensive, Edwards began sliding backwards which allowed him to draw in his unbeaten foe and connect with combinations.
Williams rebounded strong in round six, beating Edwards the punch and regaining control of the contest. He never looked back, controlling the action within a phone booth’s distance.
Edwards was effective whenever given the space to get off his punches, as was the case late in round nine when he scored with several straight right hand shots. However, those moments far too infrequent to slow down Williams’ attack or impact the judges’ scorecards.
Williams improves to 15-0 (7KOs) with the win, his second of 2019. The night marked the 11th career appearance at Foxwoods for the 21-year old prospect.
Edwards falls to 12-3 (3KOs), having now lost three of his last four starts.
In a significant upset, Elijiah Pierce stormed into New England and came away with a stunning 3rd round stoppage of previously unbeaten Irvin Gonzalez in a heated featherweight affair.
Pierce, a 22-year old southpaw from Oklahoma, came out guns blazing versus Gonzalez, who hails from nearby Worcestor, Mass. The visiting challenger struck early, twice flooring the local favorite in an opening round that set the tone for the rest of the night.
Gonzalez’s fighting pride was all that kept him in the fight for as long as it lasted. He was too brave for his own good in attempting to go punch for punch with Pierce, who never took his foot off the gas.
Relentless pressure from Pierce (9-1, 8KOs) had Gonzalez (12-1) in trouble along the ropes early in round three. A flurry of unanswered punches left Gonzalez wobbly before threatening to once again hit the canvas, only to be rescued from further punishment by the referee despite offering a mild protest upon the stoppage.
Heavyweight prospect George Arias remained unbeaten, but had to climb off the canvas in order to turn away the challenge of Kevin Barr in an eight round decision victory.
Scores were 78-73 (twice) and 77-74 for Arias, who was forced to overcome the first knockdown of his career.
Arias jumped out to a strong start, although he remains a heavyweight stuck between fighting styles. The Bronx-based Dominican spent much of the contest bouncing on his toes,
Sharpshooting power shots from waist level as he prefers to fight with his hands down.
His cute tactic cost him in round two, as Barr scored a surprise knockdown. The West Virginia-based journeyman was at his best when able to make it an inside fight, cornering Arias and sending him to the canvas courtesy of a .
Oddly, Barr (19-12-1) neglected to let his hands go in the ensuing rounds, allowing Arias to box his way back in control—and into the lead. The 27-year old prospect employed slick bob-and-wave defense to avoid additional punishment, although he struggled to escape Barr’s aggression in round five.
It was the southpaw’s last hurrah, as Arias banked rounds down the stretch. Barr tried to close the gap and force a firefight, but Arias (14-0, 7KO) frustrated him with lateral movement to avoid any threat of an upset.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox