Bryce Mitchell aimed to bounce back from his first professional loss as he squared off against Dan Ige.
Ranked tenth in the featherweight division, Bryce Mitchell sought redemption following a tough defeat to rising star Ilia Topuria.
Meanwhile, Dan Ige, positioned twelfth in the rankings, had managed to break free from a losing streak with consecutive victories against unranked opponents Nate Landwehr and Damon Jackson. Mitchell’s elite wrestling and grappling skills were well-known, while Ige was recognized for his striking abilities but possessed a well-rounded skill set.
@ThugnastyMMA holds up the Bible and yells "Freedom" as he was being announced before his top contender fight with Dan Ige #UFC #FightNight #BryceMitchell #MmaInspired #MMA #Bible #Freedom #Braveheart #quote #USA pic.twitter.com/GJOqVhdcZ7
— MMA Inspired (@MMAinspired) September 24, 2023
Consequently, fans anticipated that Mitchell would focus on securing takedowns, while Ige would aim to keep the action standing.
Bryce Mitchell's back take was borderline sorcery. pic.twitter.com/ZSV20KMhAX
— RJ Clifford (@RJcliffordMMA) September 24, 2023
The bout commenced with Bryce Mitchell, clad in his distinctive camouflage-patterned Venum shorts, adopting a southpaw stance. Ige swiftly landed a solid left hook. Just over a minute into the round, Mitchell delivered a right hand and immediately transitioned into a takedown attempt. Although he initially managed to bring Ige to the canvas, Ige maintained his posture and swiftly returned to his feet. Subsequently, during their exchange on the feet, Ige connected with a right hand, causing blood to appear on Mitchell’s cheek.
Mitchell executed another takedown attempt, successfully grounding Ige with his chain wrestling after an initial struggle. However, Ige defended well, initiated a whizzer, and escaped from the clinch.
Ige countered with a left straight while absorbing a groin kick, displaying sportsmanship by brushing it off. Shortly thereafter, Bryce Mitchell initiated another takedown and secured a rear body-lock on Ige. Although Dan attempted to turn and face Mitchell, he was tripped and subsequently mounted. Ige nearly escaped with a burst of energy but found himself beneath Mitchell, who continued to land ground strikes until the round concluded.
Round two commenced with Ige delivering a powerful left hook followed by a right hand that caused Bryce to retreat to the fence. Mitchell quickly recovered and aimed for a takedown, coming close but ultimately settling for clinch control, which Ige swiftly escaped.
A new cut appeared above Mitchell’s eye on the right side as Ige landed another significant left hook. Concerns arose about Mitchell’s eye as it swelled, leading the referee to call for the doctor’s assessment. However, the doctor deemed Mitchell fit to continue.
Upon the fight’s resumption, Mitchell attempted another takedown but absorbed a shot and fell onto his back, opting for a guard position. Ige briefly gained top control before opting to return to striking. Bryce regained momentum by landing a powerful punch and subsequently taking Dan Ige down, securing full mount once again. Although Ige demonstrated improved mount escape, Bryce latched onto his back with one hook in as the fence prevented the other.
Mitchell attempted an arm lock under the neck while maintaining the single hook, but as Ige attempted to shake him off, Bryce found himself too high on the back. Ige turned back to face Mitchell and entered the mounted position. Bryce initiated a head-and-arm choke attempt with thirty seconds remaining, briefly placing Ige in a precarious situation before releasing the hold just before the round ended.
The final round began with Bryce’s eye nearly swollen shut. However, he maintained his approach, relentlessly pursuing a takedown within the opening moments. Mitchell secured a rear body-lock, almost taking Ige’s back, but Ige seemingly reversed the position and got on top. Bryce’s remarkable flexibility was on full display as he secured a body triangle and regained control of Ige’s back as he slipped off. Despite Ige’s escape halfway through the round, Bryce transitioned to maintain top position within half-guard.
Ige managed to free himself and returned to his feet, yet he remained ensnared in a body-lock position with Bryce attached to his back and legs intertwined. With ninety seconds left, Mitchell managed to lift Ige’s hips, slam him to the mat, but Dan swiftly recovered and reversed the position. Ige gained control of Bryce’s hips with Mitchell sitting against the fence while maintaining a Kimura trap.
Although Ige controlled the position for most of the remaining round, it was not a dominant one. He eventually transitioned to mount with ten seconds left, unable to land strikes as the fight proceeded to the judges’ scorecards.
In a unanimous decision, all three judges scored the fight in favor of ‘Thug Nasty,’ Bryce Mitchell, with one of them awarding him all three rounds. Following the fight, Bryce demonstrated his sportsmanship by embracing Dan Ige and pledged to donate $5,000 to assist Hawaiians affected by recent fires.
He attributed the fires to Satan and expressed his belief in the power of Christ to overcome them. Bryce also contended that the fires in Hawaii were human-made, aimed at seizing land from Native Hawaiians. The fight concluded with a joint prayer in the center of the octagon, offering a unique and thought-provoking end to an intriguing contest.
Official Result: Bryce Mitchell defeats Dan Ige by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)