Mario Bautista stifled Jin Soo Son and showcased his toughness in an impressive unanimous decision victory at UFC San Antonio. The win was Bautista’s first in the UFC.
Mario Bautista and Jin Soo Son faced incredibly tough tests in their UFC debuts. Bautista battled with bantamweight rising star Cory Sandhagen, on short-notice, in January. He lost in the first round by armbar. At UFC San Antonio, after a full camp, Bautista had the chance to earn the first UFC win of his career.
Son was in the same boat. In his promotional debut last September, Son lost a unanimous decision to another extremely talented bantamweight in Petr Yan. After going 15-minutes with a guy who could be fighting for the 135-pound title sooner rather than later, and taking some time off, Son was ready for his opportunity to earn the 10th victory of his professional MMA career, and his first in the UFC.
Son landed the first strike of note, landing a hard right hand in an active first 30-seconds. They traded shots in an exchange during a frantic first minute of the bout, with Son finding a home for his right hand a few times. Bautista mixed up his strikes well, and neither man was able to consistently control the center of the Octagon.
Both fighters continued to stay active, trading shots as Son began to mix kicks into his game. A flying knee attempt just missed from Son, who then pushed Bautista up against the cage in the clinch. Bautista was able to work the fight back to the center of the Octagon for the final 30-seconds of the first round, but Son looked to have the advantage after round one.
Bautista came out pushing the pace to start the second round, forcing Son against the cage in the clinch. Son was able to reverse position, and worked for a takedown, which he would momentariliy get. Once Bautista got up, he was forced against the cage, but was able to get out of the tough position with a strong kimura attempt. Son answered back well, getting out of the tough submission. Back on their feet, Son shot for another takedown, and was successful. But was once again unable to keep Bautista on the ground.
Son responded to Bautista’s determination with a flurry of punches, landing well. The momentum swing didn’t last long, as Bautista then repolied with a series of strong strikes from the clinch of his own. Both men looked to be tiring late in round two, with more and more stirkes from each fighter landing. Bautista was the more aggressive late, potentially evening the score heading into the final round.
Niether fighter rested on their laurels entering the third round, with heavy shots coming from both men. With around three minutes left, Son shot for a takedown, but Bautista was able to stuff the attempt. He kept with it, landing another takedown seconds later. Yet again, Bautista got up to his feet shortly afterward.
Bautista landed a higher number of, and the more effective, strikes on Son as we entered the final 90 seconds of the fight. Trading shots, both men were showcasing their chins late in the fight, staying aggressive on offense. The fight ended with more tired, heart-driven striking late, with the UFC San Antonio crowd cheering the effort they’d seen from Bautista and Son.
Result: Mario Bautista def. Jin Soo Son by Unanimous Decision (30-27×2, 29-28)