Light heavyweight action (a little higher, truth be told thanks to a miss at the scales) kicked off the UFC Vegas 20 card on Saturday.
Dustin Jacoby, now in his second stint as a UFC athlete, was in action against former PFL standout Maxim Grishin. Grishin was the reason behind the 210.5lb catchweight, after coming in heavy at weigh-ins on Friday. For Jacoby, the fight represented the chance to build on a three-fight win streak, dating back to his time outside the promotion. For both men, it was also an opportunity to earn back-to-back wins inside the octagon for the first time.
Not surprisingly, Jacoby’s kickboxing experience had Grishin thinking takedown early. After trading leg kicks, Grishin initiated a clinch. But it was a right hand from Grishin moments later that changed the complexion of the round. Jacoby was hurt, and Grishin moved in for the kill, only for Jacoby to recover, escape, and land a short strike off the break. As the round progressed, Grishin blocked a head kick, fired a spinning elbow, and proved he was willing to stand toe-to-toe with Glory vet Jacoby. He finished the frame with a knockdown care of another right hand, and landed follow-up strikes until Jacoby was saved by the bell.
Massive close to RD 1 for @MaximGrishin! 🇷🇺
— UFC (@ufc) February 27, 2021
Jacoby’s calf kicks were on display again early in the second. Grishin’s lead leg was looking a little chewed up, and the Russian was breathing a little heavier. Jacoby was able to do a much better job keeping him at range in the second round, continually returning to those leg kicks, which were becoming more and more of a factor.
The third round had Jacoby working his jab early. That, along with his leg kicks, were keeping him in the fight. Grishin, however, was keeping Jacoby on the outside, his power having delivered the intended message early in the bout. Jacoby managed to turn the tables, putting Grishin’s back to the fence after a glancing knee to the face, but Grishin reversed shortly after. The Russian was rather lucky that the knee hadn’t landed flush. As the round wore on, Grishin pressed the action, with Jacoby showing a bit of damage around the face. They’d go to the bell, with Jacoby awarded the victory while Grishin looked on in disbelief. While there was an argument for the Russian, the fight was just plain close outside of the opening frame.
Official Result: Dustin Jacoby def. Maxim Grishin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)