UFC bid for Cove’s Pati falls short
By TJ MAXWELL
The night may not have went as planned for Copperas Cove alum Jhonoven “The Samoan Savage” Pati in his bid to earn an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract Tuesday night during week 4 of the Dana White Contender Series.
Despite landing some solid strikes against his opponent Jamie “The Night Wolf” Pickett in the opening round, Picket landed some clean shots of his own in round two to earn the TKO victory.
“I’m okay guys. That one hurt real bad,” Pati said in a social media post after the fight. “Jamie was the better man tonight. I’ll be back.”
After Pati landed some early leg kicks, Pickett took advantage of his five-inch reach advantage to land some punches.
Pickett took the fight to the mat at the 3:06 mark after he ducked under a Pati jab.
Pati threatened a triangle choke but Pickett quickly passed to side mount where he inflicted some damage with the ground and pound. Picket then transitioned into a guillotine choke where he held Pati for nearly a minute, despite a slam by Pati.
The Samoan Savage escaped with just over 1:20 left in the first round and engaged in some ground and pound of his won before Pickett escaped to his feet with one minute remaining in the first round.
A hard right to the body by Pati backed Pickett up. Pati then just missed on a couple power shots before landing an elbow, a knee, another body blow in the clinch and just missed on a spinning back fist with less than 30 seconds left in the round.
Pati then landed a left elbow and a left hook to close the round with some momentum.
It didn’t take long for Pickett to find the mark in round 2. A hard right followed by a left put Pati on the retreat before a flurry of 22 punches, with most of them landing, forcing referee Mark Smith to call a halt to the bout just 33 seconds into round 2.
“My coach was like go, you’re a powerhouse so I did what he said and I just turned on the gas,” Pickett said in his post-fight interview with Laura Sanko. “I just fought like I knew I could fight.”
Pati, the consummate professional, quickly jumped up and congratulated Pickett on the win.
“Good fight Jamie,” Pati repeated before giving Picket a hug.
The third time on DWCS turned out to be the charm for the North Carolina native Pickett.
“It feels amazing,” Pickett said about winning his third attempt in the DWCS.
Pickett had all but given up on making the UFC when he got the call for one last opportunity to earn a contract.
“I get up at 12 o’clock in the morning and I get off at 5:30 in the afternoon driving trucks trying to provide something for my daughter,” said Pickett. “I was like, ‘I’m done fighting.’ I went to sleep and woke up to a text message from my manager telling me to call him back. He said I have fight on Dana White’s Contender Series, do you want it? I said yes. I jumped down, prayed and cried. I haven’t cried since I lost my mom in ’06.”
Dana White rewarded four fighters on the night with contacts, including Pickett.
“Jamie Pickett finished this fight with a 22-punch combination,” said White as he rewarded the contracts. “This is his third time on the Contender Series. His dues have been paid in full.”
Pickett got an early birthday present with the final contract of the night. He turns 32 on Saturday.
“I’m just torn to pieces right now,” Pickett said about earning the contract. “The only thing I can think about is my daughter. She’s my everything.”
Colin Huckbody earned his with a quick submission win in the first fight of the night. Jeff Molina was awarded a contact after winning a three-round war. Rafael Alves won by guillotine choke with 2:07 left in the second round of the fourth fight of the night to earn his contract.
The Coryell/Bell County area will have one more opportunity to put a local fighter in the UFC when Jose Johnson battles on the Contender Series this Tuesday on the DWCS on ESPN+.
Johnson will fight Ronnie Lawrence in the third bout.