UFC Atlantic City: Chidi Njokuani Outstrikes Rhys McKee, Wins Decision

Chidi Njokuani and Rhys McKee, UFC Atlantic City
Chidi Njokuani and Rhys McKee, UFC Atlantic City ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Jake Noecker/Cageside Press

Chidi Njokuani bounced back and proved he can go all three rounds with a decision win over Rhys McKee to open the UFC Atlantic City main card.

After both men had lost their last three UFC bouts they were in do or die situations on Saturday. Chidi had competed at middleweight in the UFC previously but moved down and made weight despite a poor history with cutting to welterweight. McKee, former Cage Warriors champion, welcomed him and looked to use his toughness to withstand the early storm and outlast Njokuani.

The two incredibly tall welterweights traded blows to start, Chidi focusing on leg kicks while McKee sent straight punches his way. Njokuani seemed to be trying to pace himself after gassing out in recent outings, but fell behind on strike count soon, though he blocked most of Rhys’ offerings. McKee clinched up halfway through the round but could not get the takedown. The rest of the round passed without incident as McKee mostly held Chidi in the clinch.

Chidi landed a knee to the head early in the round when Rhys tried to clinch but then McKee held him against the fence again for a while. Njokuani broke free and hit McKee with a knee and some elbows, but Rhys grinded him into the fence again. Chidi showed an ability to strike in clinches, but very little grappling ability there. Rhys held him there for the rest of the round, but did little damage.

The fight was potentially tied going into the third. McKee started the round by going for a takedown but this time abandoned the clinch when he got there. Chidi’s right hand counters popped Rhys on the chin continually and built up a good lead. Njokuani even level changed and got a takedown, but McKee got back up. In the last two minutes of the round Rhys was able to clinch up again, but again did little damage. The final thirty seconds were contested on the feet though, where Njokuani seemed to again do more damage, landing good shot that would’ve hurt less tough opponents.

The judges took a long time to tally the scores, and oddly enough one judge gave McKee the fight by a score of 29-28, but the other two both scored it for Chidi Njokuani, who moved to 3-3 in the UFC with this win.

Official Result: Chidi Njokuani def. Rhys Mckee by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)