Nate Landwehr, David Onama Tear the House Down at UFC San Diego

Nate Landwehr and David Onama, UFC San Diego
Nate Landwehr and David Onama, UFC San Diego Ceremonial Weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

The co-main event at UFC San Diego saw featherweights Nate Landwehr and David Onama throw down. The pair had been previously scheduled only for the fight to fall through. On Saturday, they finally faced off in the co-headlining spot in front of a full house of fans in San Diego. The fight more than delivered as it was one of the most dramatic and exciting fights of the year.

In the first round heavy favorite Onama came out strong, as expected. He hurt Nate Landwehr badly multiple times and seemed close to a finish but ‘The Train’ was able to control Onama’s posture and keep him from finishing the fight with ground and pound. More than anything, Nate’s iron chin was on display.

When the fighters came out for the second round, everything changed. Nate used a combination of distance and dirty clinch striking to beat down his quickly tiring foe. Onama especially could not cope with the clinch work, he kept trying to swing his patented wild, powerful hooks in the short space and ducking his head which resulted in getting kneed. As the round went further he went from tired to utterly spent and now Landwehr seemed close to a finish. The fight arguably could have been stopped at many points.

On the stool between rounds Coach James Krause asked his pupil if he wanted to continue and while Onama took a long time to answer, in the end he said yes. He stood up for the third round with everyone wondering how he would manage to survive another thirty seconds, let alone five more minutes.

For a while it was more of the same. Onama fell to the ground in pursuit of a takedown on multiple instances, but Nate stood back up and walked away, playing to the crowd rather than trying to end his opponent. Onama got back up again and again. To the amazement of everyone, around the midpoint of the round he actually landed a big bomb that rocked Landwehr. However the ensuing flurry was incapable of denting Landwehr’s iron chin. Landwehr ate everything and came back even harder, peppering Onama with shots and almost finishing him many more times in the clinch and on the ground. Finally, at the ten second clapper, David Onama unleashed a wild flurry of bombs that sent Landwehr falling backwards onto the mat against the cage. The crowd was as loud as any UFC event ever at that point. While Onama could not finish the fight, and lost the decision, he won a moral victory by surviving to the decision in one of the most insane fights in a long time. One fight after an incredible women’s strawweight bout that everyone thought would surely win Fight of the Night, this fight stole that out of their grasp.

In the post fight interview, Nate The Train delivered an iconic interview in his patented Tennessee accent, with a brash drawl that would make Nate Diaz proud. “Nate the Train is in the UFC baby!” he repeated over and over again, to the cheers of the crowd. Everyone won tonight.

Official Result: Nate Landwehr def. David Onama by majority decision (28–28, 29–27, 29–27)