Matheus Nicolau took his time figuring out Tim Elliott’s high-paced style early in their main card fight tonight at UFC Fight Night 194, but when he did start to open up he quickly started to get the better of the action and fought his way to a unanimous decision victory.
Leg kick for Nicolau. Elliott with herky-jerky movement and letting his punches and kicks go without landing so far. He yells and then steps into a punch that gets through the guard.
Reaching punches from Elliott and one does land enough to catch Nicolau off-balance and puts him to the mat against the cage. Elliott tries to follow up and threw a kick there that lands to the body, but gets a warning from the ref in case it strayed to the head.
Nicolau back up and Elliott continuing to push the pace. He lands a push kick. Nicolau moving side to side now. Head kick attempt from Elliott. More missed punches. Elliott blitzes into punches to get a clinch attempt. He’s able to get a takedown now. Nicolau gets to his knees and looks to stand as Elliott lands a few knees to his hind quarters.
Nicolau stands, but Elliott remains clinched up. Short punches from Nicolau as he stands with his back against the cage.
Nicolau manages to break away now. He lands a punch. Now a hook that just grazes the target. Right hand and a left behind it from Nicolau to end the round with a bit of momentum at last after seeming a bit bemused for most of the round.
Elliott instantly goes for a takedown in the center of the Octagon. He almost gets it, but Nicolau struggles to keep on his feet and eventually gets away.
Nicolau with a punch that stopped Elliott in his tracks for a moment. Chopping calf kick for Nicolau. Elliott tries to land one of his own as Nicolau goes to the head with punches.
Elliott pressing forward with a flurry and Nicolau rips a counter to the body. Nicolau seems to have found his rhythm now and is working counters off of Elliott’s busier, but not particularly effective striking work. Nicolau targetting the body repeatedly with these counter blows.
Elliott attempts to clinch and work a takedown without success. More nasty body counters from Nicolau and just coming up short with big hooks off of that.
Snapping jab lands for Elliott. Front kick to the body from Nicolau. Right hand counter for Nicolau and almost gets takedown down by Elliott off of that, but manages to catch his balance and stay up.
Elliott staying busy, but not really getting anything going, and he’s getting caught in response almost every time.
Elliott back into a takedown attempt and again Nicolau does well to fend it off again.
Nice left hand and then a right from Nicolau. Now a right hook counter. Body kick from Elliott. Good left hand gets through for Elliott.
Overhand right glances the target from Nicolau. Solid inside leg kick from Nicolau. Elliott presses forward with a flurry.
Missed punches from Elliott. Both miss in an exchange in close and Elliott drives into the clinch against the cage.
Knees to the leg from Elliott and a couple of punches to the body from Nicolau. More knee work from Elliott before Nicolau breaks away.
Nicolau swings for the fences but doesn’t find the target. He does land a nice body punch though. Now Nicolau drives into a takedown and lands it in the center of the Octagon.
Two minutes remaining though. Elliott trying to lock him down in the rubber guard. Nicolau tries to break his grip by repeatedly slamming him to the mat.
That does finally break the hold, but then Elliott claps his ears and chips away with heel kicks, then back into locking down from the guard.
Nicolau happy to stay on top, but in the final 10 seconds Elliott scrambles back to his feet and tries to get some strikes going, without landing anything of note.
Elliott may have been the more active fighter, but from the second round onwards the more effective, clinical work on the feet was coming from Nicolau, and together with a nice takedown in the final round that helps him on his way to a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).