Manny Gamburyan

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Glendale-trained MMA fighter Manny Gamburyan picked up a unanimous decision victory over Cole Miller. (Courtesy of WEC / August 17, 2013)

Battered, bruised and busted up, Manny Gamburyan followed his Ultimate Fighting Championship bout up with a trip to the hospital.

It was well worth it though, because Gamburyan also emerged victorious, taking a unanimous decision from Cole Miller on Saturday evening at UFC Fight Night 26 from Boston’s TD Garden.

Gamburyan used strong leg kicks, takedowns and grappling to earn the decision, 30-27 and 29-28 (twice) on the scorecards. The Glendale News-Press scored it 30-27. He was reportedly taken to the hospital for stitches and an MRI, but was said to still be in good spirits.

“I’m feeling great after getting the ‘W,’” Gamburyan told the UFC after the bout. “You always feel good after winning a fight. It’s when you go home that you start to feel it.”

Gamburyan weathered some tough blows, enduring an illegal elbow to the back of the head after the first round, a big cut in the second round due to another elbow and a big knee to the head in the third.

Gamburyan collected his second win in a row, though they were separated by more than a year, as the Glendale-trained fighter had to recover from breaks in his thumb and elbow.

“It was very hard being out for the last year due to injury and now that I’m healthy again I’m ready to go,” said Gamburyan, who was cornered by the Glendale Fighting Club’s Edmond Tarverdyan and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who also trains in Glendale.

Gamburyan improved to 13-7, while Miller, who was a teammate of Gamburyan’s on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” fell to 19-8. Miller was given the first round on one judge’s card and the third on another and thought he did more damage with his striking and should’ve taken home a decision.

“I thought the decision was way off,” Miller told the UFC. “I’m here in Boston trying to box, kick, knee, elbow and play my game and I thought I would get some love from the judges here in ‘Mass.’ This is a fight town rich with boxing history. Respect to Manny. He fought his game and got the win. I’ll have to look at the tape, but look at my face and look at his face then tell me who won that fight.”

The most harmful blow was an illegal elbow to the back of the head landed by Miller at the end of the first round. With Gamburyan notably stunned, the bout looked to be in serious jeopardy.

“As far as the shot to the back of the head goes it was bad,” Gamburyan said. “I was hurting and they probably could have stopped it. With Ronda in your corner yelling at you to keep going there’s no way I was going to quit.”

Gamburyan took the center of the octagon from the outset, with Miller working behind a jab and establishing distance with kicks. Miller proved more active and accurate through the first half of the opening round, but only a right hand to Gamburyan’s head seemed to land with any real force.

With 1:29 left in the stanza, Gamburyan went for his first takedown, got a single leg, pushed Miller to the fence and then picked up Miller and slammed him down. Gamburyan was immediately in the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt’s guard and the ground and pound work was slow going for Gamburyan. With 30 seconds left, he landed a solid elbow and then looked to take Miller’s back, as the two rose they both exchanged knees.

Just before the horn, Miller elbowed Gamburyan in the back of the head. Gamburyan clenched the back of his head and was clearly groggy. Miller looked concerned and tried to help him up. Rousey and cut man Jacob “Stitch” Duran went to his aid and the bout appeared to be in serious doubt of being stopped. The cageside doctor came in to check Gamburyan, who said he wanted to fight on and he got the physician’s vote of confidence to continue.

“I was kind of hurting. It was the back of the head, I was kind of dizzy,” Gamburyan said. “I don’t bitch out.”

Looking more aggressive, Gamburyan started the second with some stinging right leg kicks. Gamburyan ate a kick to the body to secure another single leg takedown against the fence. Gamburyan landed a solid right as Miller attempted to scramble up against the cage. Miller then landed another elbow to the head and opened up Gamburyan and then landed a pair of knees. Miller scrambled to Gamburyan’s back, but Gamburyan freed himself and secured another takedown. Steady ground and pound from both hands followed from Gamburyan as he began to spray the octagon with blood from his head. Miller was able to use both feet to push off Gamburyan and stand up, but Gamburyan kept a clinch against the cage. Miller landed two more elbows though, but Gamburyan held tight to the clinch. After eating more elbows, Gamburyan landed his third takedown on a single leg. Miller was able to work up, but ate a left-right hook combo from Gamburyan. Gamburyan landed another solid leg kick before the round concluded.

Gamburyan started the third with a hard, inside leg kick, but Miller began throwing kicks in return. During a brief exchange, Gamburyan landed a good overhand right and later another very good right leg kick. But what was likely the hardest legal strike of the fight was landed by Miller in the form of a big right knee with Gamburyan ducking down. Gamburyan covered up to defend a left-right combo that followed and returned one of his own that he used to lead into a takedown. Gamburyan then worked more rights and lefts from inside Miller’s guard. Miller landed his share of rights and lefts from the bottom, but with little force. Gamburyan would land another takedown late in the round, which ended with the two exchanging on the ground.

As the horn sounded, Gamburyan helped up Miller and the two embraced before Miller lifted Gamburyan’s arm.

“He’s tough as hell,” Gamburyan said of Miller, “so give it up to him.”