With a split decision at UFC Adelaide on Saturday, Japan’s Keita Nakamura got back in the win column in the UFC’s deep welterweight division.
Adelaide, Australia hosted the UFC for their second time Saturday night, when the promotion came to town for UFC Fight Night 142. The second of two back-to-back cards, UFC Adelaide (as it was more commonly known) had a host of Australian fighters, but a handful of Japanese mixed martial artists as well. One of those featured in the second televised bout of the card — a three round contest between Japan’s Keita Nakamura and Poland’s Salim Touahri. Touahri entered the night looking for his first UFC win after he came up short to Warlley Alves at UFC Fight Night 118. Nakamura, a veteran of the sport, entered the octagon after coming up short in his last fight, a decision loss to Tony Martin at UFC Atlantic City.
Both fighters looked to be feeling each other out early at UFC Adelaide. Touahri threw a right to Nakamura’s body followed by a low kick. Touahri returned with another low kick. Nakamura was stalking him around the cage and looked to counter. Touahri fired with a right, and Nakamura ducked the punch and countered with a strike that just missed. Touahri fired off a hard right to the body. Nakamura shot the take down, and Touahri was ready and stuffed it. Both men circled each other throwing probing strikes as the round came to a close.
In the second, Keita Nakamura opened with a high kick that just missed the mark. Nakamura then attacked with a left that Touahri answered with his own. They exchanged again, both men landing combinations, but Nakamura got the better of it when he landed a hard right counter that hurt Touahri. Touahri held on and looked to recover with a body lock on Nakamura against the cage. But on the break Nakamura landed a solid elbow that backed Touahri up. Nakamura seemed to sense the momentum turning, and he started to press the action on Touahri. Nakamura landed a night, left, right combination. Touahri answered back with another straight to the body of Nakamura. The Japanese fighter, however, continued to advance and pressure Touahri. Nakamura threw a high kick that Touahri pivoted away from and moved to the center; Nakamura followed as the horn sounded to end the round.
Touahri looked to take back the momentum as the third round opened, and pressed the action until Nakamura shot the take down. Touahri stuffed the attempt and Nakamura went right back to pressing the action. Nakamura landed a nice low kick as he stalked Touahri. Touahri moved forward and fired a punch off, but Nakamura countered with a left hand. Nakamura looked to be getting the better of the exchanges as time wore on; he landed elbows on the inside and changed levels well. Touahri tried to turn things up a notch and started moving forward, but Nakamura met him with a counter then slid out of the way.
While Japan’s Mizuto Hirota faltered earlier in the night, Keita Nakamura did enough for two judges to award him the win. Japan was on the board!
Keita Nakamura def. Salim Touahri by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)