Jake Mathews picked up a dominant unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi.
The original ultimate fighter returned at UFC 253. Diego Sanchez took on Jake Matthews at welterweight on the preliminary card of the Fight Island event, in what was likely to be one of the final fights of his storied career.
There are so many Diego Sanchez stories in MMA that you could easily write a book on the man. That continued Saturday, as Sanchez had brought former rival Stephen Bonnar with him to Abu Dhabi as a corner. Beyond that, Sanchez was coming in off a bizarre performance against Michel Pereira, which he had eventually won by DQ.
Matthews, for his part, had won two straight, against Emil Weber Meek and Rostem Akman. Sanchez opened up the first round rather aggressivley, but Mathews held him back with a takedown attempt that failed. Mathews connected with a head kick and continued to walk Sanchez down. Sanchez had difficulty finding his range, and quite the opposite for Mathews, who was connecting nicely. Sanchez failed on a takedown attempt, and Mathews blasted in for one of his own, getting it into half guard. The round ended with a leg lock attempt from Sanchez, who ate some big ground-and-pound.
The second round began with Mathews pushing the pace again, walking Sanchez down and catching him with a nice uppercut. More shots continued to land for Mathews, and Sanchez responded by swinging for the fences, but only hitting air. Mathews landed a few hooks off a Sanchez leg kick and continued to walk Sanchez down.
Kicking off the third and final round was a flying attack from Sanchez, who missed and ate a lead hook from Mathews instead. A big right hand from Mathews dropped Sanchez, and Mathews swarmed on for the ground-and-pound. Laying in half guard, Mathews continued to smash Sanchez with ground strikes, before Sanchez attempted an armbar from the bottom. Mathews escaped and went back into Sanchez’s full guard. The fight came to an end with Mathews continuing to land big shots on the ground.
Official Result: Jake Mathews def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)