A potential banger took place as the second fight of the night at UFC 291, as Matthew Semelsberger welcomed Uros Medic to his new weight class, welterweight.
Medic went 2-1 as a lightweight in the UFC with his lone loss, the first of his professional career, coming against top contender Jalin Turner. The 6’1″ Medic decided that cutting to 155-lbs was too rough and moved to welterweight for his fourth UFC fight. His opponent, ‘Semi the Jedi,’ was competing in his ninth bout with the promotion and is known for being one of two fighters in UFC history to have multiple sub-16 second knockouts.
Medic came out southpaw and immediately had to defend a head kick from the orthodox fighter in Semelsberger. Semelsberger threw another head kick and Medic fell to the mat, though it seemed more slip than knockdown. Matthew rained down ground strikes but Medic stayed composed and got to his feet. Semelsberger took his back and mat returned Uros, but Medic got back up again and broke free from the clinch with a straight left hand on the break. Next, a lazy lead hook from Medic got him tagged by the straight of Semelsberger.
The pace then slowed somewhat after a crazy first minute. Halfway through the round Medic landed his best shot, a big straight left hand that snapped Semelsberger’s head back. Uros then threw his own high kick to the open side which ‘The Jedi’ blocked. Then Semelsberger suddenly landed a monster right hook which dropped Medic badly. Semelsberger’s coaches told him to let Medic up but he went into his guard anyways, got rocked by an upkick, and staggered backwards. Medic chased him down but got clipped again and fell to his knees. Semelsberger tried to take his back but Medic got free and back to the feet. They traded straights again and then body kicks before the end of a crazy first round.
The second round began to appreciative applause from the crowd. Semelsberger came forward but Medic slid back and countered. They settled in the center of the cage and traded leg and body kicks for a time. The second round was much more even to start, both landing significant strikes on the other. The counter straight of Semelsberger stayed influential.
Medic’s offense was potent but his defense left a lot to be desired. Three minutes into the round Semelsberger charged forward and landed several good right hands, then nodded at a high kick that glanced off the top of his head. Medic was consistent in ending his combinations with kicks to all three levels, which was effective and gave him success in the last two minutes especially. After a largely dominant first round for ‘Semi the Jedi,’ the second round was closer.
Judges could theoretically have had the bout tied at 19-19 going into the third so each man needed to leave it all out there in the last five minutes. Both men slipped and ripped at each other’s heads in the pocket to start the round. Then at space Medic landed a nice body kick that may have hurt Semelsberger, but he hid it well. Semelsberger then shot in for a takedown but only ended up in the clinch when Medic defended it well. They got back to space and Semelsberger landed a nice straight right. Daniel Cormier commented on how Medic had been training at altitude, and his cardio certainly looked to hold up well. Halfway into the round Medic landed a massive combination in the pocket, including a knee from the collar tie, that rocked Matt Semelsberger. As Semelsberger staggered backwards, Medic came forward with a spinning backfist that dropped Matthew against the fence. Uros jumped on the Maryland native and rained down ground strikes, causing the referee to stop the fight.
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Semelsberger protested the stoppage but he was wobbling when he got to his feet. This represented the best win in the career of Uros ‘the Doctor’ Medic and a brilliant start to his welterweight career. In his post-fight interview he made sure to appreciate the city he had been training in with Randy Njiem, praising their ski resorts and drawing cheers from the Salt Lake City crowd.
Official Result: Uros Medic def. Matthew Semelsberger by TKO (spinning backfist to ground strikes) Round 3, 2:36