If you were up and about to watch UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson from Saitama, Japan, you were treated to a really good card filled with great periods of entertainment and brilliant finishes from the opening prelim to the main event. We've already recapped the prelims, but now it's time to look at what happened on the main card, which spanned 6 fights.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. Roy Nelson was knocked out for only the 2nd time in his career, and Mark Hunt delivered the killer blow. The 1st round that was largely contested (predictably) on the feet, with Hunt able to get off better combinations and avoid all of Nelson's takedown attempts. Nelson successfully landed a hard leg kick on Hunt which almost shattered humanity as we knew it.
The 2nd round started with a successful takedown from Nelson and a transition to the back, where he went for a choke but Hunt escaped and returned to his feet. Hunt was able to avoid Nelson's vaunted right hand for the most part, ducking away from the power shot and landing his own strikes. Midway through the round, Hunt clocked Nelson with a left hook that backed Nelson up. After another stuffed takedown, Hunt threw out his jab to set up a huge right uppercut that sent the ducking Nelson right into a faceplant on the canvas. Referee Leon Roberts called a stop to the contest and Hunt, 4 years removed from his submission loss to Sean McCorkle, picked up another KO win in the UFC.
The co-main event of the evening was a showcase performance by top 10 ranked lightweight Myles Jury, who became the first man to stop Japanese legend Takanori Gomi with strikes. Jury landed a hard right hand on Gomi's chin, which sent him sprawling to the mat. Several follow-up punches on the ground forced the stoppage. Jury remains unbeaten in his MMA career, which now extends to 15-0.
"Sexyama" returned to the Octagon for the first time since 2012 and he put in arguably his best performance in the UFC to date. It was a tough loss for Sadollah, who was also 2 years removed from his last fight, and has now dropped 3 of his last 4. Akiyama dominated the TUF 7 winner with crisp striking, which led to a busted nose for Sadollah, in addition to an early judo trip and some hard ground-and-pound that almost forced a TKO right before the final horn sounded.
Japanese WMMA star Rin Nakai saw her undefeated record come to an end in front of her home fans, as Miesha Tate picked up an expected but not all-too-dominant decision win. Tate largely outstruck Nakai and stopped all but 4 of her 19 takedown attempts, but there were a few nervous moments where Tate gave up her back to Rin in rounds 2 and 3, but the outcome was never really in doubt. Nakai's offense wasn't consistently generated and she never took advantage of the few opportunities she had when she put Tate in moderately vulnerable spots.
In a controversial call, Japan's Kunimoto heads to 3-0 inside the Octagon with a late rally and split decision nod over Australia's Richard Walsh. The 1st round was all Walsh's, who knocked Kunimoto down multiple times and stuffed all of the takedown attempts. Round 2 saw Kunimoto hurt and bloodied once again, but Walsh wasn't as ruthless as he was in the first 5 minutes. Again, Walsh didn't allow a takedown in what was a slower-paced 2nd stanza. Kunimoto finally scored a takedown (capping off a sterling 1-11 night) and actively worked for a rear-naked choke, but while he didn't get the submission he somehow got the victory. You could certainly argue a 10-8 1st round for Walsh and it's hard to see what Kunimoto did to take round 2.
The main card kicked off with another terrific performance by Japanese flyweight prospect Kyoji Horiguchi clocked Jon Delos Reyes with a hard left hook and then swarmed him standing and on the ground until referee Steve Perceval was forced to end the bout. It's Horiguchi's 3rd straight win in the UFC and a match-up against a top 10 opponent almost certainly beckons. Reyes drops to 0-2 in the UFC, with both losses by stoppage.