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November 17. 2012 11:48PM

Hooksett's Filkins wins national MMA debut

Another few seconds and Perry Filkins probably would've had a knockout. Instead the Hooksett brawler will have to settle for a unanimous decision in his national television debut.

Filkins had Jonas Billstein mounted and was landing numerous punches to the German's head as time expired in the third round. The fight went to the judges, two of whom had Filkins winning 29-28 and one of whom scored it 30-27 at Bellator 81 at the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center on Friday.

"Like another two seconds and I think the ref was going to step in," said Filkins of the fight, which was aired live on MTV2.

It was a close fight until midway through the third round when Billstein (10-3) landed a kick to the chin of Filkins (7-1). That set Filkins off and he unloaded on Billstein after that, eventually getting him on the mat for a ground and pound.

"Right after the kick to the face Perry got in that kid's mind," said Ed Carr, Filkins's trainer.

The kick almost seemed to wake Filkins up. He became energized and very animated, exchanged some words with Billstein and then went to work with his punches.

"Once people hit me I get riled up," Filkins said. "Once I get riled up it's like nothing can hurt me."

Filkins controlled almost the entire fight by counter punching with his left hook. He landed several of those to the head of Billstein, who showed he has a good chin. Billstein would lead with a jab and Filkins would respond with a hook.

"I was trying to make him come to me," Filkins said. "I noticed he kept putting his right hand down after he threw a punch."

In the second round, Filkins went for a takedown to keep Billstein on his toes. He said he never intended on taking Billstein down with it, but wanted him to guard against it.

In the end it was the superior striking skills of Filkins that was the difference. He had Billstein wobbled with a bloody eye in the decisive third round, then the final ground and pound sealed the deal.

It was the first fight Filkins won by decision. All six of his previous wins were via knockout.

"I'm pretty surprised (it went the distance), he's a pretty tough guy," Filkins said. "I tried to finish, that's what I try to do every fight. Some guys are just tough."

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