Darren Elkins grinding style paid dividends tonight at UFC 179 with a split decision victory over Lucas Martins.

Round One:

Elkins pumping out the jab and Martins lands a couple of leg kicks. Elkins swoops in for his first takedown attempt of the bout. It takes him a few seconds, but he does eventually manage to trip his opponent to the mat.

Not for long though as Martins scoots across to the cage and stands. Elkins stays on him looking to take him down again. He doesn’t manage to do so and as he backs away he’s sporting a little cut to his head.

They go back to the center of the cage and trade a few punches, then Elkins pushes forward looking to clinch against the cage again. They back up, then Elkins pushes in on another takedown attempt that doesn’t pay off.

So it’s back to striking range again and Elkins is throwing punches and the occasional kick here. In on another takedown, but Martins blocks it and Elkins has to settle for the clinch against the cage. He pushes away with a couple of punches.

Elkins connects with a few punches and Martins isn’t quite finding his rhythm yet in this fight. ELkins staying busier with strikes. He eats a knee from Martins. Undeterred he keeps up his high striking output and pushes Martins against the cage with a front kick.

Martins land with the jab. He clinches Elkins against the cage as the round comes to a close.

Round Two:

Elkins looking to get off punches again, but he gets clipped with a nice left hook from Martins. Elkins with the takedown attempt and clinches up. He works in a few punches against the cage and then in tight on the clinch again, grinding down his opponent.

Martins pushes him off after taking a few knees to the leg. Still Elkins with the better volume of strikes as they get back to it on the feet. He fires off a kicks then some punches and finally swoops in on his latest takedown attempt that again is shut down.

Grinding clinch work from Elkins again mid-way through the round. Martins with a knee to the body and Elkins with punches and then the clinch again as the crowd gets restless.

Elkins with a knee to the body and gets pushes back and then eats an uppercut as he comes back in. Martins backing Elkins up with a little more urgency now and throws a body punch and lands a good head kick. That may have hurt Elkins, but he clinches up to stall for time.

Then he moves out and is back to throwing punches to set-up – yep, you guessed it – a takedown attempt. It’s deja-vu here as Martins prevents it and gets pressed up against the cage. Sheer, non-flashy- hard work here from Elkins as the round comes to a close.

Round Three:

Martins connects with a knee as Elkins swoops down for the takedown. In the clinch now and again Martins connects with a knee to the head. Undeterred Elkins continues to burst in on takedowns, and even though he’s not landing them he’s keeping Martins from settling into his striking game. Another nice knee lands for Martins. Better round for him in that regard.

Elkins sticks to his grinding gameplan. Not a whole lot happening and eventually the ref separates them. However, Elkins goes right back to the same clinch position and while Martins is able to prevent himself from getting taken to the mat, he’s not able to do much with Elkins clinch game.

Again the referee peels them apart and again it’s not too long before they are right back there again. Couple of nice punches from Elkins as he separates for a moment and Martins lands a counter of his own before shunted up against the cage again. And that’s how the round and the fight ends, we’re headed to the scorecards.

Decision:

Slightly odd scoring here – one judge somehow saw it 30-27 in Martins favor, but the other two saw it 30-27 for Elkins and so he earns the split decision victory.

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