Jussier da Silva made his case for an Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title shot, and he did so in dramatic fashion.
The former Shooto Americas champion throttled Ben Nguyen in the third round of their UFC 221 “Romero vs. Rockhold” prelim on Saturday at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. Nguyen (18-7, 4-2 UFC) lost consciousness 1:43 into Round 3, his modest two-fight winning streak at an end.
Da Silva (21-5, 7-4 UFC) took down and mounted the South Dakota native in the first round, then withstood an elbow strike that split him open near the hairline in the second. No one could have envisioned what led to the finish. Da Silva countered an early third-round head kick with a perfectly timed spinning backfist that floored the taekwondo black belt and left him vulnerable to the follow-up attack. “Formiga” moved to the back and cinched the fight-ending choke on the still-dazed Nguyen.
Related » UFC 221 Round-by-Round Scoring
‘Maestro’ Kim Edges Brown
Dong Hyun Kim extended his winning streak to three fights with a split decision over Damien Brown in a competitive undercard confrontation at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Kim (16-8-3, 3-2 UFC).
Both men leaned heavily on leg kicks. Kim fed the Integrated MMA export a consistent jab and strung together his combinations with more regularity and to greater effect. Brown (17-12, 2-4 UFC) flurried occasionally -- he connected with a left hook-right uppercut combo in the first round -- but failed to give the South Korean striker pause on the feet.
Brown, 33, has lost three fights in a row.
Debuting Adesanya Shreds Wilkinson
Glory Kickboxing alum Israel Adesanya put away Rob Wilkinson with knees and punches in the second round of their undercard tilt at 185 pounds. Wilkinson (11-2, 0-2 UFC) withered 3:37 into Round 2, as he lost for the second time in as many starts inside the Octagon.
Adesanya (12-0, 1-0 UFC) was measured and methodical. Wilkinson spent much of the first round whiffing on takedowns and attempting to bully the Nigerian striker in the clinch. His efforts proved fruitless. Adesanya blasted him with knees to the face and stiff jabs, all while focusing on the body with damaging combinations. He broke the battered and bloodied Wilkinson’s will along the fence and cut loose with knees and punches until it was over.
The 28-year-old Adesanya has stopped all 12 of his opponents inside two rounds.
Volkanovski Annihilates Undefeated Kennedy
Former Pacific Xtreme Combat champion Alexander Volkanovski disposed of the previously unbeaten Jeremy Kennedy with ground-and-pound in the second round of their preliminary featherweight pairing. Kennedy (11-1, 3-1 UFC) succumbed to punches 4:57 into Round 2.
Volkanovski (17-1, 4-0 UFC) was flawless. He set the tone with an overwhelming first round, as he took down Kennedy and bludgeoned him with punches and elbows. It was a harbinger of what was to come. Volkanovski powered into top position once again in Round 2, smothered the Canadian and unleashed another sustained burst of elbows and punches that prompted referee Marc Goddard to act.
The 29-year-old Volkanovski has recorded 14 straight wins and appears to be a serious threat at 145 pounds.
Resilient Pearson Snaps Skid
Ross Pearson saw his hand raised for the first time in nearly three years, as he claimed a unanimous decision from former Sengoku and Deep champion Mizuto Hirota in a three-round undercard clash at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges sided with Pearson (20-14, 12-11 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Hirota (18-9-2, 1-4-1 UFC) was never out of it. He landed leg kicks on a consistent basis and buckled Pearson late in the second round, where he followed a pair of sweeping left hooks with a crushing right cross. However, the bell and the respite between rounds worked against him. Pearson recovered, utilized excellent head movement and countered effectively throughout, bashing his 36-year-old adversary with shovel uppercuts, punishing jabs and well-conceived left hooks.
The win snapped a four-fight losing streak for Pearson.
Surging Quinonez Downs Ishihara
“The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” finalist Jose Alberto Quinonez pushed his run of consecutive victories to four with a unanimous verdict against Teruto Ishihara in their preliminary bantamweight affair. Quinonez (7-2, 4-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.
Lack of output conspired against Ishihara (10-5-2, 3-3-1 UFC). Quinonez struck for a takedown in the first round, stuffed the Team Alpha Male export against the fence and advanced to the back. Kicks to Ishihara’s upper and lower lead leg proved to be his most effective weapons later in the fight and allowed him to bounce back from being floored late in the second round, the knockdown the result of a left hook just above the ear.
The 26-year-old Ishihara has lost three times in his last four appearances.
Jumeau Overcomes Unbeaten Abe
Phuket Top Team representative Luke Jumeau won for the eighth time in nine appearances, as he captured a unanimous decision from Daichi Abe in a three-round undercard battle at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Jumeau (13-4, 2-1 UFC): 29-28, 29-27 and 28-27.
Abe (6-1, 1-1 UFC) jumped out to a quick lead. The 26-year-old former Pancrase champion had Jumeau reeling on more than one occasion in the opening round, and by the time the first five minutes were up, the New Zealand native was bleeding from the mouth and had significant swelling around his left eye. Abe started to show signs of fatigue in the middle stanza, where his counterpart executed a trip takedown and zeroed in on the body.
Jumeau carried his momentum into the third round. He withstood a right hook that cut him beneath his already damaged left eye and found another gear, incorporating occasional body shots and overhand rights with stinging leg kicks, two of which knocked Abe off his feet.