Jake Matthews got the better of Li Jingliang tonight on the judges scorecards tonight at UFC 221, though the big talking point was his opponent escaping unpunished despite eye gounging the Australian fighter.
Cautious start from both fighters here as they fail to land a strike in the opening minute. Stepping jab for Matthews. Now a right hand for the younger man. He finds a home for a left hand too.
Jingliang with a leg kick, but then eats a counter punch and it knocks him off-balance, but he recovers and stops himself from falling to the mat.
Neverthless, it’s Jingliang who continues to press the action here. Right hand for Jingliang, but there’s a clash of heads afterwards.
Right hand for Matthews and then a left behind it drops Jingliang to the mat! He looks to still have his senses, but Matthews follows him down and gets on top. Bad news for Jingliang and it only gets tougher for him as Matthews takes his back and starts looking for a potential rear-naked choke.
Jingliang trying to escape, but Matthews is strong on top. He’s not able to find a finish from here, but he does end the round landing repeated punches to the head.
Matthews reaching with a left hook. Uppercut for Jingliang. There’s a scramble and Matthews goes for a guillotine choke. It looks like it’s tight, but Jingliang appears to illegally gouge at his opponents eye and that leads to him being able to escape and from there is able to get back to his feet.
During that sequence Matthews suffered a cut near his right eye and now has blood smeared on one side of his face.
Jingliang applying pressure and backs Matthews to the cage and starts teeing off with a series of punches. Matthews utilizing head movement, but is getting caught.
Matthews slowing down a bit now and despite his early adversity he’s looking like the fresher fighter at this stage.
Clipping counter for Matthews. Missed punches from Matthews and Jingliang lands a big counter. Both fighters throw down at close range.
Not much action to start the third, then Matthews barrels into a takedown and gets Jingliang down, but only momentarily. Back up they go and after a brief moment in the clinch they seperate and go back to the center of the Octagon.
Left hook for Matthews. Jingliang trying to keep busy. He looks for the clinch, but they split quickly.
There’s a lull in the action and then Matthews blasts him with a big punch that floors him. That was a big impact, but impressively Jingliang then reverses and gets on top as Matthews follows him down.
Jingliang settling in on top, but it’s not long before Matthews is able to drive back up to his feet and presses his opponent into the cage.
Matthews backs up and Jingliang starts to march forward again. Right hand for Matthews. He goes for a flying knee, but gets countered by a punch.
Jingliang goes for a big right hand, but Matthews ducks under it and lands a big takedown late in the round. Jingliang back up to his feet and lands a few punches as Matthews rises from his knees near the end of the round.
On to the judges scorecards then and they see it unanimously, with Matthews emerging with a convincing decision victory (29-28, 30-26 x2).