Chris Duncan Grinds His Way to Decision Victory Over Omar Morales

Chris Duncan and Omar Morales at the UFC 286 weigh-in. Photo: Jamie Theodosi/Cageside Press

Chris Duncan Makes UFC Debut at UFC 286 Dana White’s Contenders Series Omar Morales alum and five-fight UFC vet.

Scot Duncan was nearly snubbed when the final blow knocked him out, earning him a UFC contract. His debut opponent, though, is a tall order, with Venezuelan kickboxer Omar Morales a recognizable opponent. On paper, the battle appears to be infallible.

When the opening bell rang, Kris Duncan pressed forward and Morales basically let him in without much resistance. Both were tentative and didn’t feel right with each other, mostly just kicks at first. Morales was kicked by Duncan, throwing him off balance at one point, but there was nothing he could do before the Scot re-pressed forward and hit a right hand.

Morales just wasn’t active enough, allowing Chris to build a solid lead with her volume. Omar tried to fight back most of the time, but couldn’t pull the trigger fast enough, or Duncan wasn’t there to get hit when he pulled the trigger. Duncan didn’t do a huge amount of damage, and his only attempt at a knockout failed, but he was firmly in the lead. Suddenly, with 45 seconds left in the round, Morales knocked Duncan down with a huge right. As the Venezuelan tried to finish off his foe, he hit a right hand that sent him wobbling back. Duncan then stood up and closed the round with a big elbow.

Duncan came up with a wrestling plan to start the second round, and he was able to put Morales in the cage and then cut a lap with his knee. With three minutes left in the round, Morales surprised him with a switchover and was able to get the ball back. His right hand started there and ended up letting some punches go flying. Morales was sharp in the second quarter, blocking all of Duncan’s low shots, absorbing less damage and being more able to find counterattacks from attacking distance.

Kris Duncan solved that problem with a shot. He had his legs against the fence, but Morales spread out his base to maintain good technique. Duncan even switched to singles, but he still couldn’t finish. He hung on his lap for most of the remainder of the run, only separating in the final thirty seconds; Morales could only touch down once in that time.

The fighting was evenly fought, but the activity favored the Scots. Morales needs to be very tight in the final round, but Duncan is the one to push forward and make the offense. Both defended well, but Morales did kick a low shot that shattered Duncan; he then responded with a kick. He had Morales go down for a second, but the Venezuelan knelt on the fence during the scramble. Morales tried to get up, but Duncan’s pressure was too much for him at first, as his leg rode Omar into the cage.

Duncan continued to press and Morales couldn’t get up, even though he made a gesture of trying to get the referee to stand up for inaction. Morales just wouldn’t explode trying to stand up, even as the clock ticked past the minute mark. Duncan did little damage, but he kept putting pressure, backing up, and advancing his position. Morales, who was free with just thirty seconds left, did ask the question then. But it was too late, as Duncan made his final drive at the end of 15 minutes.

When the referees read the scorecard, Chris Duncan likely won, so no one was nervous. Maybe they should, since the first judge oddly scored in all three of Omar Morales’ rounds, despite barely scoring and largely dominating in the final round. The next two umpires corrected it, though, giving Duncan two rounds each, thus earning the win.

Official result: Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales wins by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

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