Jeremiah Wells survived some early adversity and used his superior wrestling to get the better of Matthew Semelsberger tonight at UFC Fight Night 222.
Semelsberger catches Wells with a hard right hand immediately as Wells steps in head first.
Again Semelsberger catches him clean as Wells moves in unprotected and is rocked and falls to the mat. They are scrambling now and Wells drives up and presses Semelsberger into the cage.
Semelsberger reverses the position now. However Wells bides his time and then manages to land a nice takedown.
Wells working in Semelsberger’s guard and starting to land some solid ground-and-pound. Semelsberger tries to kick him off and doesn’t quite get him away, but finds room to scramble up to his feet. Wells pressing him back into the cage though.
Big hooks from Wells and then straight down into a double-leg that he lands. Hammerfists and punches now from Wells in Semelsberger’s guard.
Wells stacking up and throwing punches, then back into Semelsberger’s full guard. More hammerfists thrown as Semelsberger covers up. Final hook landed by Wells before the round ends.
Wells throws a one-two but Semelsberger backs out of range. Wells goes for a big hook, but Semelsberger connects on the counter and Wells falls backwards onto the canvas hurt.
Semelsberger gets on top, but Wells does well to survive and get back to his feet.
Wells goes right back to throwing big hooks and then tries to get a takedown, but this time it’s stuffed.
Semelsberger throwing first now and Wells responds by firing back as both throw caution to the wind. Wells in on another takedown though and lands it.
Semelsberger closes his guard as Wells drives his forearm into his neck. Wells patient here as Semelsberger tries to tie him up. Wells begins to land some elbows.
Semelsberger tries to throw up an armbar attempt, but nothing doing and he returns to closing up the guard. Elbows for Wells in the closing stages of the round.
Semelsberger comes out throwing heavy hooks. Flying knee attempt from Wells. Wells clinching up now and manages to get Semelsberger over to the cage.
Wells hoists Semelsberger up high, walks towards the center of the cage and slams him down. Semelsberger trying to get up but Wells denies him.
Wells in half-guard. Bit of a scramble now, but Wells ends up back in half-guard. Wells trying to isolate an arm, but Semelsberger scrambles back to his feet.
Wells driving him back into the cage. Wells on his knees and trying to work a takedown. Wells brings him down, but Semelsberger is trying for a kimura submission. Wells gets his arm free and moves to half-guard.
Semelsberger gets back to full guard, but he needs to get something going and quickly as we’re in the final minute of the fight now.
Semelsberger works his legs up trying to find a submission, but nothing doing. He stands up but Wells is still holding on to him and dumps him to the mat one more time before the final round ends.
No real doubt about the winner here in the end, with Wells clearly outwrestling Semelsberger for large portions of the second and third rounds after a shaky start that saw him rocked by punches.
Perhaps I spoke to soon as the judges surprisingly end up with a split-decision verdict, but it is Wells who emerges with his hand raised after two of them see it firmly in his favor (30-27 x2, 28-29).