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Chivitchian says close loss will make him better

MMA: Glendale fighter uncertain of UFC future after Saturday loss, but contends he will only improve and be back.

December 10, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

GLENDALE — When Sako Chivitchian lost his first professional mixed martial arts fight on Saturday night in Las Vegas after having also made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at "The Ultimate Fighter" Finale, he had troubles clearing his head.

It wasn't due to any punch or kick landed by opponent Kyle Watson — in fact the only blow that has Chivitchian worried is a clash of knees that occurred.

Instead, it was due to the fact that the 26-year-old fighter had put so much time and energy into his time on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show and training for the subsequent bout with Watson only to come up on the short end of a unanimous decision after a fight in which he knew he didn't perform at his best.

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"I don't feel like it was my best performance," said Chivitchian, who fell to 5-1 with his loss to Watson (13-6-1). "I was focused a lot on doing damage in the striking. I wanted to knock him out so much. I kinda put aside my takedowns and wrestling, which was a mistake on my part.

"This was my biggest fight. You have a lot of pressure on you, this is your foot in the door and at the same time you want to put in an exciting performance.

"In the back of my mind, I was just thinking about knocking him out. I was just chasing the striking."

Watson claimed 30-27 scores on two judges' cards and won 29-28 on a third. The News-Press had it 29-28 for Chivitchian, however, giving him the first two rounds, which were decidedly close, but in which the Glendale fighter appeared to have done more damage with his striking.

"I definitely thought it was close. I felt that I did cause more damage, I thought I had the bigger strikes," Chivitchian said. "Anytime you go the judges' hands, you can blow it. This time I came up short."

Chivitchian's striking, while vastly improved, had always taken a backseat to his ground game, which often featured his judo skills, coupled with ground and pound and solid submission skills. But on Saturday, the game plan was to stay standing to refute Watson's jiu jitsu skills. Chivitchian believes he should have done more to mix in his takedowns and ground game. And, as his cornerman Dave Camarillo said on Saturday, did a better job on getting off first with his striking, particularly in a third round that was clearly won by Watson.

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