The UFC Sydney main card witnessed Jessica-Rose Clark pick up a split decision over Bec Rawlings in the co-main event. Belal Muhammad earned a hard fought split decision over Tim Means in a rather technical striking affair, and made the most of his in-cage interview by calling out the controversial Colby Covington. Jake Matthews snapped a 2-fight losing skid in his UFC welterweight debut by besting Bojan Velickovic in a grapple-heavy split decision. Elias Theodorou received ample boos from the Australian crowd, as he picked up a unanimous decision over hometown favorite Daniel Kelly.
FS1 Main Card:
Jessica-Rose Clark def. Bec Rawlings by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): (W) Flyweight
Rawlings took the center of the cage as Clark skirted along the outside of the apron. Rawlings caught a kick and scored an early takedown as a result, complete with some ground strikes. Clark would pull off a sneaky reversal, and was able to accumulate some top control time before Rawlings returned to her feet.
Clark again used her footwork to dance around on the outside as her opponent tried to pressure forward. Rawlings would close the distance and force her foe against the fence, but Clark did a great job of listening to corner’s instructions, and reversed the position. Clark landed some solid knees in the clinch, and even found top position as a result. Clark locked up an Arm Triangle from half guard, but Rawlings defended well, causing Clark to bail on the sub attempt.
Clark landed some solid leg kicks to open up the final round. Rawlings pressed forward looking to throw her hands, but Clark was more than willing to stand there and trade with her. Clark was launching punches, kicks, and knees whereas Rawlings was more one dimensional with her boxing attack. Rawlings landed a heavy haymaker that appeared to jar her opponent, and followed up with a late takedown with just over a minute left in the fight. Clark made it back to her feet, and landed some knees from the clinch before achieving a takedown of her own in the final 30 seconds.
*It should be noted that Jessica-Rose Clark missed weight by 2 pounds (128 lbs.)
Clark showed that she could also score takedowns:
Peep this early takedown from Rawlings:
Belal Muhammad def. Tim Means by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Welterweight
Means came out pumping a crisp jab as he took the center of the cage. Muhammad looked to leap in with hooks as an answer to the length of Means, but appeared to miss a bit more than he landed. A takedown attempt was nowhere in sight as the welterweights exchanged for the entire first round.
Muhammad switched things up and scored a takedown in the first minute of the 2nd round, but Means was quick to return to his feet. Means went back to pumping his jab, keeping Muhammad at the end of his punches, forcing Muhammad to get creative if he wanted to land. Muhammad attempted to pick up another takedown, but Means was having none of it.
The welterweights continued to trade in the center of the Octagon, with the straight punches of Means appearing to be more effective. Means shot in for a takedown, but Muhammad shucked it off with ease. Muhammad shot in for a late takedown attempt of his own, but Means was wise to it and remained vertical. Means and Muhammad went strike for strike down the stretch, with each athlete landing descent shots.
Peep this mean 1-2 from Muhammad:
Check out Muhammad’s corner encouraging fun:
Jake Matthews def. Bojan Velickovic by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Welterweight
Matthews shot in right away on his opponent, but struggled to realize the takedown as Velickovic did a swell job of remaining vertical with his back to the cage. Velickovic would chip away with elbows and knees, but Matthews stayed after the takedown, and found top position with just over a minute left in the opening round.
Velickovic landed a clean knee to open the second frame, and followed up with a tight Guillotine attempt. Matthews defended well, but Velickovic bailed on the sub in exchange for full mount. Matthews exposed his back, allowing his opponent to rack up all sorts of control time before finally making it back to his feet.
Matthews picked up an early second effort takedown in the center of the Octagon, but Velickovic scrambled up to his feet to score a takedown of his own. Velickovic punched his way to the back of his opponent, but was reversed before he could do anything with it. Matthews scored with some punches from the top of half guard, but didn’t exactly dish out much damage.
Check out this sweet Guill attempt from Velickovic:
Elias Theodorou def. Daniel Kelly by Unanimous Decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26): Middleweight
Theodorou declined Kelly’s offer to touch gloves at the start of the bout, and began to attack the legs of his older opponent. Kelly pressed forward with his typical ‘old man’ slop, scoring as his younger foe folded up. Theodorou did a sound job of exiting the clinch whenever Kelly would close the distance and grab ahold. Kelly continued to score whenever he made his way on the inside, but Theodorou found success while striking on the break, finishing his combos with a kick.
Theodorou continued to work his combinations into the second frame, but Kelly caught a trip and briefly took top position. One of Theodorou’s kicks landed low, resulting in a brief halt in the action. Kelly landed a big right hand on the inside that appeared to stagger Theodorou, but the Canadian recovered rather quickly. Theodorou found a home for his fade away head kick as Kelly would pressure forward, with his classic “Dad” footwork.
The head kick of Theodorou continued to land in the final frame, and Kelly even landed one of his own. Kelly pressured some more, and realized a takedown, moving to the back and locking up an RNC. Theodorou remained calm, and was able to spin around to take the back of Kelly. The fighters returned to their feet, and Theodorou resumed his kicking attack, both to the legs and the head, as Kelly continued to move forward.
Check out the highlights from Elias Theodorou vs. Dan Kelly:
This was definitely a scrap:
When you leave Dan Kelly hanging:
Elias be trippin:
Alexander Volkanovski def. Shane Young by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26 x2): Catchweight (150lbs.)
Young took the center of the cage for just a moment before Volkanovski looked to move forward and impose his will. Young did a sound job of stuffing the initial takedown attempt from Volkanovski, but struggled to get any sort of separation for any substantial amount of time. The relentless pressure of Volkanovski was certainly the story of the opening round.
Volkanovski elbowed his way into the clinch to start the second stanza, but Young was able to free himself from the controlling grasp of his opponent. Young was not given much room to breathe for the remainder of the round, as Volkanovski was all over the UFC newcomer, scoring a takedown and landing some ground strikes.
Young briefly took the center of the Octagon, before he found himself with his back to the cage thanks to the ferocious pressure of Volkanovski. Young would score a short lived takedown of his own, but Volkanovski reversed his foe with a pretty slam to take the top position. Volkanovski continued with his pressure as Young eventually scrambled back to his feet, not giving the UFC noob a single inch to mount any sort of offense.
Watch Shane Young play the part of grappling dummy in Alexander Volkanovski’s grappling clinic: