Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos returned to action tonight at UFC On ESPN 46 with a narrow win over Abubakar Nurmagomedov, beating him on the scorecards via split-decision.
Nurmagomedov with an early flurry in close and lands a couple of right hands that seems to trouble Zaleski, then clinches up against the cage. Zaleski tries to drive out of the position, but Nurmagomedov brings him immediately back up to the cage.
Nurmagomedov attempts a trip, but Zaleski stays upright. Zaleski with knees to the body. Zaleski with another knee and then Nurmagomedov lands one of his own.
Nurmagomedov with an elbow and tries for a double-leg takedown without success. Knees exchanged in close. The action is stalling and the ref opts to seperate them.
Back at striking range Zaleski lands a few body kicks. He misses on a front kick, but goes back to the body with one straight afterwards.
Overhand from Zaleski now. He’s looking for a knee but seems to get clipped by a counter from Nurmagomedov. Zaleski remaining aggressive though. Zaleski grabs holds of a leg and looks for a late takedown but is unable to do anything with it and the round ends.
Hard inside calf kick from Zaleski. Another low kick from him. Big uppercut from Zaleski, but Nurmagomedov eats it and looks to clinch. Zaleski turns him into the cage, but they quickly separate.
Calf kick from Zaleski. One lands to the inside of the leg. Zaleski overreaching for a takedown, but Nurmagomedov steps aside and then takes the back clinch against the cage.
A few knees to the thigh from Nurmagomedov from this position. Zaleski turns into him and then is able to break free.
Right hand lands for Zaleski. Now leg kicks. Nurmagomedov with a quick flurry as he tries to burst into the clinch, but is unable to do so.
Almost a clash of heads as they both duck at the same time. Nurmagomedov clinches up against the cage again. He’s trying hard for a takedown, but finding it easier said than done. However he eventually gets a foot sweep to bring Zaleski to the mat in the final few seconds of the round.
Calf kick from Nurmagomedov. Body kick for Zaleski. Another kick from him. Now a jumping knee from Zaleski. Thumping leg kick for him. He tries to go upstairs with it but it’s blocked.
Nurmagomedov with a couple of low kicks. Zaleski responds with one of his own. Left hand for him as he surges forward, but Nurmagomedov clinches up and walks him over to the cage. Zaleski gets free.
Zaleski attempts a single-leg takedown, but Nurmagomedov defends it. Punch for Zaleski. Now a kick. Leg kick for Nurmagomedov and Zaleski counters with a big right hand.
Nurmagomedov attempts a takedown and Zaleski stuffs it well. Nurmagomedov clinches and Zaleski fends off another takedown attempt before getting back to striking range.
Zaleski gets the muay thai clinch and lands a big knee to the body and then one upstairs. Nurmagomedov attempts a takedown that’s stuffed. Zaleski tries to work a choke, but Nurmagomedov adjusts and gets on top. Zaleski stands and Nurmagomedov hops onto his back.
Nurmagomedov comes off his back and settles for clinching up against the cage again as he tries to work a double-leg. Zaleski defends it. Nurmagomedov tries again and he goes down for a split second and straight back up.
Zaleski striking now in the final seconds of the round and then Nurmagomedov lands one last blow after the bell.
A close fight then and that’s reflected in a split-decision verdict from the judges, with Zaleski dos Santos emerging with the win (29-28 x2, 28-29).