UFC Vegas 66: Matthew Semelsberger Knocks Down Jake Matthews Three Times, Wins Decision

Jake Matthews and Matthew Semelsberger, UFC Vegas 66
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 17: (R-L) Matthew Semelsberger punches Jake Matthews of Australia in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Australian Jake Matthews entered his bout against American Matthew Semelsberger at UFC Vegas 66 on the back of the best performance of his career when he stopped Andre Fialho with strikes at UFC 275.

Semelsberger, one of only two men in UFC history two have multiple knockouts in under twenty seconds alongside Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, fell to a still respectable 4-2 in the promotion in his last fight, a loss to Alex Morono.

Both fighters looked to land low kicks early in the first round while feeling each other’s rhythm out. Two minutes into the round Semelsberger pressured Matthews back to the fence and landed a big overhand right that dropped the Aussie. Matthews got back to his feet shortly and then opened up himself, as the fight began to heat up. Semelsberger was doing all the pressuring and halfway through the round he looked for a single leg takedown and succeeded in landing it. The rest of the round was controlled by Semelsberger from top position but he was unable to land much in the way of damage, though he clearly won the round.

Jake Matthews opened up more to start the second round as he used his kicks upstairs and to the body as well as to the legs. One minute into the round Semelsberger landed a nice single leg but Matthews sprung right back up and the two battled in the clinch for a moment before separating. Soon after, a nice check left hook from Jake stumbled Semelsberger but he was not seriously hurt as he recovered right away. Matthews continued to look for the check hook when Semelsberger entered the pocket to throw his big right hand and the Aussie had considerable success doing so.

Jake also seemed to have found his range and timing as he was slipping or otherwise avoiding the majority of Semelsberger’s punches. With one minute left in the round Matthews got on the front foot for the first time in the fight, though Semelsberger did land his best shot of the round at that point. With thirty seconds left in the round Semelsberger caught Matthews with his hands low exiting the pocket and another big right hand dropped the Aussie. He got to his feet but ate a big knee in the clinch in the process. Jake did not seem to be all there but he still came forward throwing bombs of his own to end the round.

The final round began with another knockdown from Semelsberger on a short right hand. This shot appeared much less powerful than previous knockdowns, showing the toll the damage from previous rounds was taking on Jake. Matthews got to his feet, grabbed a guillotine, and sat back to his back on it. He momentarily gained mount with the guillotine still locked in but Semelsberger escaped and got to his feet. A foot sweep from Jake set up a nice left hand that hurt Semelsberger but Matthews did not press the advantage and the American recovered.

Matthews began to open up even more with combinations to the head and body but Semelsberger shot a takedown to defuse that offense. He did not land it but settled in an outside clinch position against the fence as a result. Jake broke free and threw hard punches but Semelsberger’s high guard was effective at keeping him safe. With forty seconds left Matthews landed another foot sweep and gained top position, where he rode out the round.

Although Matthews had landed more total offense and had more sustained success in the final two rounds, it was hard to overlook the knockdowns from Semelsberger. When the scorecards were revealed it was clear that the judges had thought the same, as all three gave the win to Matt Semelsberger. Two judges gave one round to the Aussie while the other gave all three to Semelsberger.

Official Result: Matthew Semelsberger def. Jake Matthews by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)