Photo via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
The welterweight Strikeforce vets got UFC 157 started with an exciting back-and-forth fight.
UFC 157 opened up on Facebook with a Welterweight tilt between Nah-Shon Burrell (9-2) and Yuri Villefort (6-2). After 15 minutes of almost on-stop action, Burrell was awarded the unanimous decision victory to claim a win in his UFC debut. Villefort was also making his promotional debut and is now 0-1 in the UFC.
Burrell and Villefort battled back and forth on the feet and on the mat. Villefort was competitive throughout the fight and even took a round on two judges' scorecards. He went for submissions repeatedly, but Burrell always found a way to survive then punish his opponent with strikes. After the final bell, Burrell had his hand raised taking scores of 30-27 and 29-28 x2.
What was the high point of the fight?
Villefort committed to a leg lock in the 3rd round that required both his hands to torque. Burrell showed him exactly why those subs are so risky when he blasted him over and over again with punches to the face.
Where do they go from here?
As Burrell came in almost 5 lbs. over the Welterweight limit, the win and his exciting performance probably saved him from being cut from the UFC roster. Now that the Strikeforce veteran has proven he can compete at a high pace for 3 rounds he'll get another chance to compete in the Octagon.
Hard to say what will happen to Villefort after being defeated in his UFC debut. With UFC president Dana White promising 100 more cuts, he may be on the chopping block. However, the brass loves guys who can put on an exciting fight and Yuri did just that so I'd say he's safe for now.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Watch it now, the fight was action-packed and exciting from start to finish. A great way to get you primed for the event.