Perth, Australia was the setting for UFC 221 as Dong Hyun Kim picked up an ordinary run of the mill split decision over Damien Brown to close out the FS1 Prelims. On a much more exciting note, the highly anticipated promotional debut for Israel Adesanya lived up to the hype, as the new addition to the UFC middleweight roster painted a violent masterpiece, now known as the destruction of Rob Wilkinson. Also on the FS1 prelims, Alex Volkanovski was strictly business as he dominated Jeremy Kennedy for nearly 10 minutes straight before realizing the TKO finish with only 3 seconds left in the 2nd round. The UFC’s #4 flyweight Jussier Formiga showed up big time with an incredible 3rd round club & sub of the #8 Ben Nguyen to open up the FS1 prelims.
Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Lightweight
These lightweights stood right in front of each other going blow for blow, with Brown drawing 1st blood by cracking a stiff leg kick that dropped Kim. Kim quickly returned to his feet and the shot for shot pace continued for the rest of the round.
Kick for kick is how these athletes chose to start the 2nd stanza, with Brown seeming to land a bit harder. Takedown attempts nowhere to be found as this fight predominantly occurred in the center of the Octagon. Kim began to land with his punches, but they volume came one at a time, allowing Brown to attack the leg without much consequence.
Brown took the center of the cage to open up the final frame, but t he punches of Kim were scoring low and high, building off of his jab. The action picked up a bit in the last 90 seconds, with each man scoring, yet still not opening up fully. For a bout that took place in the center of the cage, this was an awfully conservative outing for each athlete.
Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson by TKO at 3:37 of round 2: Middleweight
Wilkinson shoved his opponent up against the cage to open up the middleweight belt, not allowing Adesanya any sort of space. A couple of takedowns were achieved by Wilkinson, but none of them lasted for very long thanks to the determined get up abilities of Adesanya.
Adesanya began to get off a bit early in the 2nd round, cracking Wilkinson with several solid strikes, including a mean knee to the face from the clinch. Wilkinson attempted to close the distance like he did in the opening round, but Adesanya was having none of it and began picking apart his opponent. Wilkinson was basically a sitting duck as Adesanya uncorked a brilliant array of selective strikes until the referee had seen enough blood and called off the bout.
Anderson Silva used to do this to people:
"The rest of the strikers in this division...you're on notice." -- @jimmysmithmma— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 11, 2018
Israel Adesanya wins his debut at #UFC221 over Rob Wilkinson! https://t.co/4D2GhxOjen
You heard the man:
Middleweights, listen up!@Stylebender #UFC221 pic.twitter.com/83GC0rfA5e— UFC (@ufc) February 11, 2018
The sky might be limit for Adesanya:
1️⃣2️⃣ fights— UFC (@ufc) February 11, 2018
1️⃣2️⃣ finishes@Stylebender finishes Wilkinson in round 2!! What a debut!! #UFC221 pic.twitter.com/wAt0tMyLKp
That's one way to escape a takedown ..#UFC221 pic.twitter.com/TERyc0YnVS— UFC (@ufc) February 11, 2018
Alex Volkanovski def. Jeremy Kennedy by TKO at 4:57 of round 2: Featherweight
Volkanovski took away the height advantage of Kennedy right away by closing the distance and securing a takedown. Ground strikes were routinely landing for Volkanovski as Kennedy struggled to do much of anything off his back besides covering up. Kennedy did manage to make it back to his feet with about 15 seconds left on the clock, but the 1st round was all Volkanovski all the time.
It took all of about 30 seconds for Volkanovski to return to top position to start the 2nd frame, but Kennedy was able successfully return to feet rather quickly. Kennedy’s time on the feet was short lived as Volkanovski put this fight right back where he wanted it, and proceeded with his angry ground assault. The referee gave Kennedy every opportunity to improve his position as the round was coming to a close, but Volkanovski would not be denied, turned it up, and achieved the TKO finish.
Volkanovski beat Kennedy like he stole something:
"Those sounded like gunshots." -- @jimmysmithmma— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 11, 2018
Alexander Volkanovski put on a Khabib-esque performance in his win at #UFC221! https://t.co/jQA0chBxxM
Dropping @AlexVolkanovski landing heavy here in round 1! #UFC221 pic.twitter.com/KAYmShO0PA— UFC (@ufc) February 11, 2018
View these vicious ground strikes from Volkanovski:
The sound of those left hands from Alexander Volkanovski in round one #UFC221 https://t.co/UGQcvhy0E8— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 11, 2018
Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen by Technical Submission (RNC) at 1:43 of round 1: Flyweight
Nguyen found early success stalling out Formiga against the fence, and racking up points with chipping knees to the thigh. Formiga found a takedown with about 2 minutes remaining in the opening round, and like the BJJ guru that he is, Formiga gracefully transitioned into the full mount. Nguyen was unable to escape the position before the round expired.
Inside of the 1st minute of the 2nd round, Formiga had his forehead split open by a slicing elbow from Nguyen. Nguyen found himself on his back with just over 2 minutes remaining in the round, much like in round 1, but this time Nguyen was able to use his butterfly guard to escape back to his feet. The action was called to a halt due to a Formiga eye poke, but the action resumed just in time for the bell to sound.
The final round saw Nguyen move in to throw a kick upstairs, but Formiga was waiting for him with a sensational spinning backfist that dropped Nguyen. The killer instinct kicked in and Formiga instantly sunk a rear-naked choke until Nguyen passed out. Wow!
This club & sub from Formiga is downright spectacular:
FORMIGA!!@JussierFormiga drops Nguyen w/ a spinning back fist, then locks in the RNC and puts him to sleep!— UFC (@ufc) February 11, 2018
Big win for the Brazilian! #UFC221 pic.twitter.com/iiJmkYIaJd