UFC London: Nathaniel Wood Defeats Andre Fili by Close Decision After Both Fighters Dropped

Nathaniel Wood and Andre Fili, UFC London
Nathaniel Wood and Andre Fili, UFC London ceremonial weigh-in, July 2023 Credit: Jamie Theodosi/Cageside Press

One of the most highly anticipated fights at UFC London was the featured bout between unranked featherweights Nathaniel Wood and Andre Fili.

Nathaniel Wood got off to a hot 2-0 start at his new weight class after moving up from bantamweight. Fili was the bigger and longer fighter in the match-up on Wood’s English home turf. Andre came into this bout on the strength of his decision win over Bill Algeo, his first victory since 2020. Nate Wood has settled into his UFC career with a great 6-2 record, while Fili has fought a who’s who of the featherweight division en route to a 10-9 (1 NC) record in a decade with the UFC.

Wood and Fili both started fast with their striking. Fili then suddenly landed a sharp left hand that sat Wood down to his knees but Nate popped right back up and recovered quickly. Wood came back strong and landed a good right hand of his own. Every time Fili stepped in he targeted the calf with a low kick, affecting the long, skinny legs of Andre. Then halfway through the first round Nate Wood landed a monster right hand that sent Fili stumbling. He pounced on Fili when Andre fell down and rained down ground strikes, almost getting him out of there. However Fili was able to grab the wrists of Wood and stifle his ground and pound, staying in the fight. Fili regained full guard and then Nate Wood let him stand up. Back on the feet Fili shot a takedown but Nate Wood stuffed it and got back to striking. Fili’s face was beaten up but he seemed mostly recovered afterwards. The speedy striking of Nate Wood gave Andre Fili troubles but Fili was still putting on his classic showboating when the round drew to a close.

After two knockdowns in the first round fans in the O2 were roaring for more at the start of the second. Wood made Fili stumble backwards with a power jab to start the round but Andre recovered. It was all in the speed of Nate Wood. Andre Fili is used to having a speed advantage in the striking at featherweight but the smaller, faster former bantamweight had a clear speed edge. Fili then turned the tables again when he landed a sharp left hook that dropped Nate Wood again. Andre Fili jumped on the back of Wood. He began to lose the position, falling over the top, but tried to grab an arm on the way. Nate was however able to escape and then take the back of Fili himself. Fili waited for his moment and was able to spin into the guard of Wood, ending up on top. Fili took his time on top and did not land many ground strikes, but Nate Wood kept his guard closed and was thus unable to stand up.

The final round began with the score likely tied 19-19. Fili switched stances fluidly, as always, while Nate stayed orthodox and targeted the legs of Fili early in the round. Fili landed a good straight left while in southpaw. The third round was more tentative after the multiple knockdowns of the first ten minutes. Nate Wood did not open up with the right hand this round, preferring to use jabs and low kicks for the most part. Fili’s length helped him land jabs of his own though. With just under one minute Wood landed his best strike of the round, a check left hook that snapped Fili’s head back. Fili failed a takedown and Wood did too in the final minute. A jumping kick from Fili and a wild wheel kick both missed, closing out the fight.

The scorecards could go either way after two relatively clear rounds followed by a razor thin third. All three judges had the score 29-28 for Nate Wood on the best fight of the card to that point. Wood now has three wins on the bounce at 145-lbs and is in contention for a ranked opponent in his next fight.

Official Result: Nathaniel Wood def. Andre Fili by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)