Promotional newcomer Elves Brenner was getting a tough out in his debut at UFC 284 on Saturday, against Dagestani Zubaira Tukhugov.
Tukhugov, however, had made sure that the 25-year old talent, still raw and young in his career, was well compensated for the trip to Perth, Australia. That’s after Tukhugov came in a pound and a half over the limit for the pair’s lightweight contest.
The duo kicked off the UFC 284 card early Sunday morning local time, in the first UFC event in Australia since 2019.
In the first round it was Brenner engaging while Tukhugov was patient. Twice early in the fight Brenner threw a switch knee. A right and a left from Tukhugov landed which were the biggest strikes landed up until then. Brenner landed a few good leg kicks but Tukhugov was countering him with short hooks. Tukhugov did suffer a cut in the center of his forehead from a jumping knee. Brenner then landed an inside leg kick that had Tukhugov readjusting. The round ended with another jumping knee from Brenner.
In round two, both fighters were throwing plenty. It was Tukhugov with the left hook and Brenner with the leg kicks. A nice jab from Tukhugov was starting to pick up some steam landing every time he threw it. Brenner, although he kept on throwing, was backing up a lot. As the round went on Tukhugov was more proficient, had more volume, and the feints kept Brenner a step behind.
In the final round, Brenner most likely needed a finish. Tukhugov did a good job early on backing Brenner against the cage and landing a left hook. Tukhugov did attempt his first takedown in the fight but Brenner defended. Right after that Brenner landed a nice spinning backfist. Tukhugov shot two more times for a takedown but couldn’t get it. Brenner did spend a lot of round three with his back on the cage.
The scorecards saw all three judges favoring Brenner (going by Elves Brener per the broadcast), an outcome many were questioning in the aftermath of the fight — including the promotion’s own broadcast team of Jon Anik, Michael Bisping, and Dominick Cruz.
Official Result: Elves Brenner def. Zubaira Tukhugov by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)