There was a surprising amount of wrestling displayed by dangerous strikers Joaquin Buckley and Abdul Razak Alhassan tonight at UFC Fight Night 201, which led to a split decision win for Buckley.
Buckley feeding out the jab to start the fight. He tries a head kick that misses. Now Alhassan tries for a body kick that doesn’t land.
Head kick attempt from Buckley is blocked. Alhassan with a heavy leg kick. Flurry of punches from Buckley with only a left hand getting through.
Body punch for Buckley. He misses with a spinning kick to the body. Alhassan tries a kick and slips off it.
Double jab for Buckley. He attempts a flurry and almost gets caught by spinning backfist from Alhassan.
Alhassan swings big for an overhand, but Buckley ducks under and lands a double-leg takedown.
Alhassan working to stand up, but Buckley drags him down again. Alhassan able to battle back up again and gets back to striking range.
Straight left for Buckley. Now a body kick. Alhassan threatening with a right hook as Buckley comes in. Body punch from Alhassan as Buckley works a side kick.
Buckley drives into another takedown, but Alhassan is on his knees and stands against the cage. Buckley lands a few body punches and Alhassan works a knee to the midsection. Alhassan letting his hands go now.
Alhassan lands a nice left hand. Straight punch from Buckley as Alhassan also lands a strike, and both stagger back a little from the impacts.
Spinning kick from Buckley misses. Buckley attempts a single-leg, but Alhassan stuffs it and lands a couple of right hooks, before eating a punch from Buckley as the round draws to a close.
Both men feeling out with kicks to start the second round. Solid kick for Alhassan. He tries to go for it again. Buckley feeds out the one-two without success. Body kick from Buckley.
Buckley tries to drive in for a takedown, but has to settle for clinching up against the cage for now. He drags him to the mat, but Alhassan gets back up. Buckley working to bring him down again. Now there’s a nice throw from Alhassan to get him down, but they both get straight back up.
Buckley working some punches now. Alhassan with a body punch. Alhassan now being backed up to the cage more often and Buckley is looking to land big strikes. Alhassan recognizes it and battles forward to get off the cage.
Knee strike and an elbow from Alhassan in the clinch. Jabs from Buckley and a left hand. Alhassan backing up against the cage again and is covering behind a high guard and seems tired as Buckley peppers him with punches. He rips to the body too as Alhassan continues to remain on the defense.
Buckley attempts a takedown, but Alhassan blocks it. Buckley still working, but then Alhassan fires back and lands a good knee and punch.
Buckley scores a takedown and that’s where the round ends as he maintains top position.
left hands traded. Left hand a right hook from Buckley. Jab and body punch from Buckley. Now a head kick attempt without much behind it. He lands a kick to the body.
They clinch up and jockey for position against the cage. Alhassan trips Buckley to the mat. Now he’s looking for huge ground and pound punches, but Buckley is able to escape back to his feet.
Now it’s Buckley back on the front foot as he lands a few punches. Alhassan responds with a flurry of his own to back Buckley up a bit.
Alhassan able to get Buckley down again. Buckley trying for a kimura. Alhassan gets his arm free and thrwos some punches. Buckley gets to his knees and tries to stand, but Alhassan drags him down.
Alhassan has Buckley’s back. Buckley to his knees and stands up against the cage. Buckley almost escapes, but Alhassan rushes forward and maintains the clinch, then brings him down yet again.
Alhassan in half-guard and thinks about a submission, but then postures up and lands a punch, then some elbows after transitioning to side-control.
10 seconds to go as Alhassan lands more elbows. Now big left hands landing well and Buckley will be relived that the final horn sounds before the pressure builds any further.
Buckley appeared to get the better of the action in the first two rounds here as he mixed up his striking with wrestling and appeared to be tiring out his opponent, but Alhassan dug deep in the third round and came back swinging and then showed off his own ground game to land some key takedowns and ground-and-pound.
That made the final decision a lot closer, but Buckley still emerged with a split decision victory (29-28 x2, 28-29).