Lightweight Jalin Turner had been expected to face Dan Hooker on the UFC 285 main card on Saturday. But thanks to a Hooker hand injury, it was Poland’s Mateusz Gamrot stepping up on short notice — looking to return to the win column after coming up short against Beneil Dariush.
Turner, meanwhile, had won five straight, most recently against the formidable Brad Riddell.
The fight turned out to be a teachable moment for “The Tarantula” Turner, who kept the fight close, but ultimately couldn’t get the job done.
Turner and Gamrot worked to get each other’s timing down early on, finding the distance and creating angles to land significant strikes. Gamrot brought the fight to the ground halfway through the first round, though Turner managed to escape to his feet before landing numerous thunderous blows across the jaw of his Polish opponent.
Following a very close round one, Turner began to pull away in the second, landing a variety of strikes to the head and the body and utilizing his arsenal of kicks, causing substantial and visible damage to Gamrot. It seemed like Turner was in full control, though Gamrot wasn’t going away. He managed to secure another successful takedown, smoothly transitioned into a mounted crucifix before landing vicious ground and pound elbows onto the brow of Turner.
After the first two rounds, the judges’ scorecards were anyone’s guess.
The third round was as back and forth as the two prior, though Gamrot finished in a dominant mounted position — one that may have swayed the judges scorecards.
After taking the fight on very short notice, Mateusz Gamrot secured the split decision victory and continues to move up the rankings.
“I want a top-five opponent next,” Gamrot said to Joe Rogan during his post-fight interview.
Though Jalin Turner will head back to California without a win, “The Tarantula” gained a wealth of knowledge and experience that will likely help him in preparation for his next bout.
Official Result: Mateusz Gamrot def. Jalin Turner by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)