After Zhalgas Zhumagulov saw yet another fight fall through last week when Felipe Bunes failed to make it to Fight Night, Josh Van stepped up for the short-notice opportunity to keep Zhumagulov’s efforts in training camp from going to waste.
The flyweight pair met on the preliminary card of UFC Jacksonville on Saturday, with Van skipping out on a Contender Series opportunity to step straight into the UFC itself.
Zhumagulov was pressing right away letting his hands go early in the fight, and throwing a lot of kicks. Van wasn’t throwing as much but his jab was super clean. Zhumagulov just wasn’t giving him a break constantly staying busy with his output. Halfway into the round Zhumagulov went for a takedown but Van denied it. Zhumagulov continued to move around and lot and throwing strikes keeping Van guessing. Zhumagulov did get two quick takedowns but Van quickly bounced back up showing solid defense. The round ended with nothing significant landed from either fighter.
To start round two Van was being a little more aggressive. He landed a few heavy outside leg kicks. He continued with the jab and his right cross was landing more and more. He was getting the best of Zhumagulov on the feet. Van landed a head kick that hurt Zhumagulov and Van went off on a flurry of punches up high and down low. Zhumagulov took a lot of damage but survived the onslaught. Zhumagulov was aggressive in the final minute getting some respect back.
Going into the final round both athletes needed a strong five minutes. Zhumagulov was being the more active fighter but swinging wild. Van continued the jab and was picking his shots better. Both guys were having some success in the pocket but Van was slipping and returning with his punches much better. The round ended with Van landing a few hooks that had Zhumagulov reacting every time.
On the scorecards, two judges sided with Van — marking the third straight split decision loss for Zhalgas Zhumagulov, and fourth straight loss overall.
— UFC (@ufc) June 24, 2023
Official Result: Josh Van def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)