UFC 298: Oban Elliott Makes UFC Debut With Hard Fought Decision Over Val Woodburn

Oban Elliott and Val Woodburn, UFC 298
Oban Elliott and Val Woodburn, UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

“The Welsh Gangster” Oban Elliott made his promotional debut at UFC 298, where the Contender Series winner was paired up with Val Woodburn in a welterweight affair.

UFC fans might remember Woodburn for his short-notice scrap with Bo Nickal last year, which turned out to be the first loss of his professional career. Woodburn was looking to bounce back from that setback on Saturday.

To begin the fight, Woodburn put on heavy forward pressure to try and put Oban in an uncomfortable position straight away. Elliott then landed a huge head kick on “The Animal” which landed flush, but then was bizarrely rocked himself. The 26-year-old showed tremendous heart once again after Woodburn pushed forward in a flurry to try and secure the finish. After doing well to survive, “The Welsh Gangster” then somehow managed to secure the clinch and subsequently got to the back of Woodburn.

From there Oban secured the hooks with both legs and began working to try and get his arms under the chin of Woodburn. Elliott decided to let go of the hooks and tried to transition to full mount. He couldn’t quite make the full transition and had to settle for the half guard position. It didn’t take him long though to re-work his position and he finally got to full mount where he reigned down some heavy ground-and-pound. Woodburn made the decision to give up his back instead of absorbing more ground-and-pound from full mount, but the buzzer rang and somehow, this fight was going to see a second round.

The Welshman looked the far fresher fighter of the two to begin the second round, as Woodburn was visibly fatigued. That didn’t deter him from blitzing forward with boxing combinations though, and he once again did well to land a few heavy shots to the head of Elliot. A minute and a half into the round, the 26-year-old did well again to tie Woodburn into a clinch, but he let it go shortly after.

Woodburn’s game-plan became more apparent as the fight went on, and that was to lure Elliott in, to then explode on him with ferocious attacks. Halfway through the round, Oban Elliott went back to what worked for him through the first five minutes, and he secured a single leg takedown and immediately transitioned to Woodburn’s back. For the remainder of the round, Oban worked for a rear-naked-choke, but couldn’t quite sink anything in again.

Woodburn’s corner made it clear to him in the interval between round two and three, that he needed a finish to win the fight. The issue though was that Woodburn was burnt out. Despite the fatigue, Woodburn commendably continued the forward pressure where he tried to land big strikes. Elliott’s fight IQ took over though, and he secured another single leg takedown to nullify Woodburn’s chances of a flash finish. Again Oban Elliott did well to transition into full mount where he once again just controlled for the majority of the round. Woodburn threw up one more last gasp scramble where he escaped mount and ended up back on his feet. Despite knowing he was likely down two rounds, he decided to just maintain the clinch against the cage, instead of breaking and trying to land one last big strike.

Official Result: Oban Elliott def. Val Woodburn by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)