Jussier Formiga executed a stunningly memorable third-round finish, setting it up with a spinning back fist that dropped Ben Nguyen at UFC 221 in Perth on Saturday.
Jussier Formiga and Ben Nguyen kicked off the televised preliminary portion of UFC 221 on Saturday. The card aired live from Perth, Australia, a first for the UFC. For Formiga, there was a brief struggle to make weight for the bout on Friday, but after being given an additional two hours to make the 126lb non-title fight limit, he hit the mark, and Formiga vs. Nguyen was on!
In the bout, Nguyen came out early and initiated a clinch, pressing Formiga up against the fence. Formiga used a knee to create space, laying it across Nguyen’s thigh. Nguyen looked to slip in some knees and elbows, and while Formiga was able to briefly break free, he quickly found himself back in the same position. Nguyen worked knees to the thigh while Formiga tried to control his opponent’s wrists. They’d break after that, and re-engage back in the center. Nguyen went high with a kick that was blocked, and this time it was Formiga trying to out-grapple the Australian, only to have the position reversed.
Nguyen next fanned on a kick that opened him up for a Formiga right hand. Formiga then got the fight down and managed to gain mount with over a minute to go in the round. However, despite having dominant position, Formiga could not find a finish.
In the second, Formiga had a cut on the hairline opened up early with an elbow. That would possibly play a factor in the Brazilian’s vision. Nguyen fought off an early clinch. Formiga landed a spinning kick to the body. He then dropped levels for a takedown attempt only to be stuffed. A Ben Nguyen kick then led to the fight’s second takedown, with Formiga quickly stepping over to half-guard. However, this time, Nguyen was able to scramble back up. Another spinning kick fanned for Formiga, as he was in too close; an eye poke on Nguyen then halted the action.
Round three saw Formiga seal the deal. A huge spinning back fist saw Formiga’s forearm land flush with Ben Nguyen’s jaw! Formiga pounced with some follow up strikes, but somehow Nguyen survived. Formiga then took the back, and sunk in the rear-naked choke. Nguyen refused to tap, and went out, with the ref right on top of the action to call it. What a finish!
Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 1:43