In the first main card bout of the evening, early risers watching UFC Singapore in the west saw ‘The Leech’ Li Jingliang score a decisive win over Daichi Abe.
In the first bout on the UFC Singapore main card, fans witnessed a pair of young fighters Li Jingliang and Daichi Abe try to score a win in the UFC’s stacked welterweight division. Jingliang had been fighting in the UFC since 2014, winning four of his last five fights. However, ‘The Leech’ lost to Jake Matthews his last time out at UFC 221. Daichi Abe, on the other hand, was still a relative UFC newcomer, having fought just twice in the promotion. Abe also lost his last fight at UFC 221, to Luke Jumeau. Both men were looking for a rebound in Singapore as a result.
In a fight described by the UFC commentary team as “a game of Jenga,” the two powerful fighters moved forward and started testing each others chins from the get go. Abe landed a dangerous looking head kick as Li was moving in and dropping his head. Li ate it with no real issue however. At one point in the first, Abe was moving forward and Li stepped back and landed a big right hand that appeared to rock Abe. However, the Japanese fighter recovered, and near the end of the first as Li was moving in, Abe landed a big left that jacked the jaw of Li. He quickly regained his composure and made to the end of the first.
Both fighters made a point of attacking the lower body in round two, but Jingliang was proving more effective. Landing many, many low kicks, he also added a nice left hook that had Abe spin into the cage at one point. But Li didn’t rush for the finish. Jingliang next landed a big right hand that rocked Abe followed by a kick to the body that hurt Abe further. ‘The Leech’ then landed a flying knee. Jingliang called Abe back to the center of the cage for a bit of gamesmanship as the round came to a close.
Jingliang’s low kicks from earlier in the fight were paying off in the third as Abe started to limp a little. His constant movement from earlier in the night had clearly slowed. Li landed a counter left hook at one point in what was a theme of the fight by that point. Jingliang’s diverse attacks paid dividends majorly in the bout. While Abe kept the fight itself close enough with how much production he was putting out, Jingliang was landing much harder shots, and more efficiently, which was the key to the fight. In the end, it was no surprise that all three rounds went to Li Jingliang.
Li Jingliang def. Daichi Abe by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)