DES MOINES - Michael McBride endured a lot of firsts inside the cage Friday night at Hy-Vee Hall.
Most of them didn't work in his favor either.
The Webster City native and mixed martial arts professional lightweight saw his perfect record go by the wayside in front of a packed house and nationally televised audience, as Emmanuel Sanchez stood toe-to-toe with McBride and fought off repeated takedown attempts to earn a three-round unanimous decision at Resurrection Fighting Alliances' RFA 10.
The judges' scores weren't released following the fight. Television commentator and MMA legend Pat Miletich scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Sanchez.
McBride (4-1) suffered a deep cut over his left eye early in the third round courtesy of a Sanchez (5-1) elbow, and he admitted the punishing shots inflicted by Sanchez took their toll. But neither the momentary pain nor the setback will sideline him for long.
"The cut is definitely sore and my whole body is just kind of sore from the punches and kicks, but nothing out of the ordinary," McBride, who had never gone the distance in any of his previous 10 amateur and pro fights, said 24 hours after the fight. "But I saw my blood dripping all over the place and it motivated me. Some fighters might have gotten scared and wanted to give up, but I wanted to keep pushing forward.
"This is definitely a setback, but I'm going to get past this one and start getting ready for what's next."
Sanchez got the better of the exchanges from the feet, particularly in the first and second rounds. But McBride was the more active fighter on the ground, most notably in Round 3 when he picked Sanchez up, put him on his shoulder and slammed him to the mat.
McBride felt the fight was a toss-up when it went to the judges. But he also says he didn't stick to his game plan enough to make the decision a clear choice.
"I don't feel like I fought my fight and I don't think I fought to the best of my abilities," he said. "I knew it was close though and I felt like I did enough, but that's why you don't leave it to the judges."
McBride scored a pair of takedowns in the third round, but Sanchez did enough in guard to thwart any potential submission holds.
"I was going for it. I don't think I was really close to any submissions in the third, but I wanted to make something happen and I just came up short," McBride said.
What's next for McBride is still up in the air. His contract with RFA was for just one fight, although he said he would welcome another chance to compete in the organization. He's also one of the premier fighters in the Midwest Cage Championship.
"We'll see what happens," McBride said.