The UFC 221 Exclusive Fight Pass Prelims concluded with lightweight veterans going toe to toe for 15 minutes straight. When the dust had settled, it was Ross Pearson who walked away with the unanimous decision over Mizuto Hirota. Jose Quinonez picked up a gritty decision over Teruto Ishihara, coming back from being dropped twice to earn the unanimous nod. Luke Jumeau weathered an early onslaught to come back and pick up a unanimous decision over Daichi Abe to kick off the UFC 221 event. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC 221 event coverage including results, highlights, and analysis.
Fight Pass Prelims:
Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Lightweights
Pearson was given the fight he wanted throughout the opening round, remaining vertical and pop shotting Hirota with slick counter punches. Hirota landed some solid leg kicks, but struggled to find his rhythm, failing to drag the fight to the ground and into his world.
Pearson continued to pop off with his counters into the 2nd stanza, but Hirota continued to pepper the lead leg of his opponent, which opened up the punching game. A stern right hand landed flush to the face of Pearson, causing the Brit to stanky leg a bit. Pearson kept his composure and was able to make it to the end of the round and back to his corner without stumbling.
The action was back and forth for the final frame, with Hirota continuing his leg attack as Pearson persisted with his counter boxing. Hirota appeared worse for the wear, as his face looked much more busted up than his opposition’s. The pace picked up in the final 20 seconds of the bout, with each man refusing to give an inch until the sounding of the final bell.
Jose Quinonez def. Teruto Ishihara by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Bantamweights
Quinonez found a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the fight, but Ishihara was quick to climb back to his feet, albeit with his back to the fence. Ishihara ended up exposing his back, allowing Quinonez to lock down the position, but not much of any damage was dished out. A brief halt to the action was called so that Quinonez could re-insert his cup, shades of Kazuo Takahashi vs. Wallid Ismail from UFC 12. Just when it appeared as if Quinonez had the round in the bag, Ishihara landed a damaging blow that dropped Quinonez as the round ended.
The bantamweights went tit for tat over the 1st half of the second round, before Ishihara closed the distance for the takedown. Quinonez refused to be held down and jumped back up to his feet, allowing the athletes to go shot for shot for the remainder of the round. Just as in the opening round, Ishihara came up big with a punch that dropped Quinonez.
Quinonez was unable to get his grappling going the way he did in the 1st round, and as a result, the comfort level of Ishihara continued to rise. Ishihara was the more active fighter in the final phase of the fight, pumping out some descent low risk volume that scored points but also kept him out of harms way.
Agree? #UFC221 pic.twitter.com/zsMllZ128k— UFC (@ufc) February 11, 2018
Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27): Welterweights
Abe took the center of the cage to start the fight as Jumeau looked to counter, with each man connecting with solid punches. Just as Jumeau attempted to close the distance, Abe caught him with a well timed uppercut that caused him to hit the deck for a moment. Jumeau would recover quickly, but Abe continued to connect with his left hand, leaving his opposition bloodied in the face heading into the 2nd round.
Jumeau muscled an early takedown to open the 2nd stanza, but Abe returned to his feet without issue. The pace of the fight slowed up a bit, with Abe appearing to be the more fatigued of the two welterweights, allowing Jumeau to score on the feet.
Fatigue seemed to be even more of a factor for Abe in the 3rd round, but a break would materialize in the form of a referee time out to address an eye poke to Jumeau. On the replay, it looked like the eye injury may have been caused by a punch, but Jumeau gutted out the pain and the match continued. The volume down the stretch was heavily on the side of Jumeau, even dropping Abe with a leg kick in the closing moments of the fight.
Who doesn’t love this counter to the takedown:
Slick punch catches Jumeau coming in! @MMA_Daichi is all over the Kiwi here in round 1! #UFC221 pic.twitter.com/r0A435XrFk— UFC (@ufc) February 10, 2018