UFC Vegas 17 Results: Tafon Nchukwi Overwhelms Jamie Pickett

UFC Vegas 17 Tafon Nchukwi Jamie Pickett
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Tafon Nchukwi of Cameroon punches Jamie Pickett in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Tafon Nchukwi stayed undefeated and impressed in his debut at UFC Vegas 17, not giving any space to Jamie Pickett on the feet to win by decision.

Contender Series veterans Tafon Nchukwi and Jamie Pickett made their promotional debuts against each other at UFC Vegas 17. Nchukwi had only four fights heading into his debut and had knockouts in all of them, two in the first round and two in the second. The biggest one came in September, when he landed a brutal head kick to earn a contract. Nchukwi was making his middleweight debut and had started his career at heavyweight.

Pickett is a testament to persistence, going 0-2 on the Contender Series before finally getting a win on the show in August. A second round knockout earned him a UFC contract, and he made his debut at UFC Vegas 17.

Nchukwi got started quickly with a combination, tried a head kick and was looking for a quick finish. Nchukwi countered a kick with a strong right hand and was on Pickett early in the fight. Nchukwi’s attacks kept on coming, and Pickett was able to grab a hold of him to land a brief takedown. Nchukwi popped back up and continued to unload combinations with a head kick at the end of seemingly each one. Pickett attempted another takedown, but was tripped up and controlled by Nchukwi. They stood back up and Pickett landed a left, so Nchukwi forced him backwards and landed a hard left and an elbow against the cage. It was a fiery start for Nchukwi.

Nchukwi started out hot again with a combination, then settled down a bit before backing Pickett up and whipping a head kick around. Nchukwi got in close and started doing damage in the clinch with knees and elbows. Nchukwi tripped Pickett with the intention of backing him up on the feet. He then avoided a takedown from Pickett, who landed a slick eight-punch combination. Nchukwi went back to the clinch and battered his opponent with short strikes. A big combination for Pickett backed Nchukwi up, then they accidentally collided heads and Pickett got the brunt of it, wobbling to the corner afterwards.

The referee paused the fight before the final round to check up on Pickett and then gave the green light. Nchukwi used the time to regain some energy and started the final round with a strong combination. Pickett was looking to land his lead hand, but Nchukwi was limiting his opportunities. Nchukwi changed things up and swept Pickett off his feet, but allowed him to get back up, only to rock him with a head kick. Nchukwi stayed on him and knocked him down, but couldn’t get the finish on Pickett’s back. Nchukwi poured a lot of energy into trying to finish Pickett, so he wasn’t able to muster much offense at the very end of the fight.

Tafon Nchukwi def. Jamie Pickett by Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-25)