After a run at light heavyweight that saw him crack the top ten but fail to progress to the top end of the division, Misha Cirkunov changed things up at UFC Vegas 38.
The Latvian-Canadian fighter successfully cut to middleweight for the first time in his career — and was greeted by Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko on Saturday night.
Cirkunov dropped levels early in round one, but Jotko managed to stay standing. Putting his weight on the Polish fighter, Cirkunov drove him into the fence. When they moved back to center the pair traded kicks, with Jotko then circling out of range. A very evenly fought first round saw both men have moments but neither do considerable damage.
Some clinch work started round two, until a foul paused the action. Jotko found some success on the feet this time around, stopping Cirkunov in his tracks at least once. Jotko appeared to be the fresher fighter, and given the weight cut for Misha Cirkunov gas tank was likely to be a factor. Cirkunov fired a high kick late in the round, but Jotko dropped under it.
Jotko opened the third round firing, letting go with a kick and following up with his hands. Cirkunov shot in, was low, but managed to finish; Jotko however was quickly up to a three point stance. Posting up, Jotko got to his feet only to go back to a knee a moment later.
Near the midway mark of the third, Cirkunov landed a more explosive double leg. But once again, Jotko was quickly back to his feet, this time returning to center. Then Jotko lunged for a trip takedown that he couldn’t quite land. At the end of the round, Jotko put the pressure on, firing a high kick, elbows, and closing the distance to attempt a takedown.
Official Result: Krzysztof Jotko def. Misha Cirkunov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)