Keita Nakamura defended his territory.
The former Sengoku, Deep and Shooto Pacific Rim champion posted his seventh win in nine appearances, as he eked out a split decision over Alex Morono in the featured UFC Fight Night 117 “St. Preux vs. Okami” prelim on Friday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Scores were 29-28 and 29-28 for Nakamura, 29-28 for Morono.
Output was an issue for Nakamura (33-8-2, 3-5 UFC), who took a quality-over-quantity approach. He had Morono (13-5, 2-1 UFC) reeling with a first-round body kick and opened a significant gash above his right eye. Nakamura withstood multi-punch volleys from the onetime Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder in the middle frame and an overhand right that opened a cut on the side of his head in the third. He upped his aggression over the final five minutes, executed a pair of takedowns against Morono and did just enough to earn the judges’ favor.
Debuting Kondo Subdues Jeon
Pancrase champion Syuri Kondo kept her perfect professional record intact with a split decision over South Korean prospect Chanmi Jeon in a three-round undercard scrap at 115 pounds. Scores were 30-27 and 30-27 for Kondo, 29-28 for Jeon.
Forward pressure spearheaded Kondo’s attack, and it was merciless. She marched through Jeon’s strikes, kept the 20-year-old on her back foot and fired off winging power punches intermingled with a sneaky jab and straight rights. Jeon (5-2, 0-2 UFC) had her moments but lacked the wherewithal or firepower to give her counterpart pause. Kondo (6-0, 1-0 UFC) set a stifling pace and assaulted the legs and body with kicks in the latter stages of the fight.
Anzai Snaps Jumeau Streak
Former Pancrase titleholder Shinsho Anzai returned from a two-year layoff to pocket a unanimous decision over Luke Jumeau in a preliminary welterweight tilt. Anzai (10-2, 2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the judges, winning for the eighth time in nine fights.
Jumeau (12-4, 1-1 UFC) never seemed comfortable. The 29-year-old New Zealand native fought well in spurts -- he staggered Anzai with a right uppercut in the second round and piled up points in the clinch in the third -- but failed to do enough damage to turn the tide. Anzai punched in bursts, utilized knees in close quarters and executed a takedown in the middle stanza, the Team Climb representative leading the dance for much of the bout.
The loss snapped Jumeau’s seven-fight winning streak.
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Unbeaten Abe Outduels Lim
Pancrase champion Daichi Abe remained undefeated and made a successful promotional debut, as he captured a unanimous decision from Hyun Gyu Lim in a three-round undercard clash at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Abe (6-0, 1-0 UFC).
The two welterweights fought to a virtual stalemate through two rounds, though the momentum seemed to be in Kim’s corner. His overhand right grew increasingly effective the deeper the fight went, as he staggered Abe twice in the second round. Round 3 was competitive -- until the 25-year-old newcomer connected with a short right hook that dropped Lim (13-7-1, 3-4 UFC) and appeared to break his nose. Blood flowed from his nostrils. Abe followed it with a takedown in the closing seconds, tying a bow on his latest victory.
Lim, 32, has suffered three straight defeats.