UFC 302: Grant Dawson Smothers Joe Solecki in Wrestling vs BJJ Duel

Grant Dawson and Joe Solecki, UFC 302
Grant Dawson and Joe Solecki, UFC 302 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Dylan Napoloene/Cageside Press

In a duel of grappling specialists at UFC 302, Grant Dawson came out on top of Joe Solecki with ease in a slow fight.

Skilled wrestler/grappler Grant Dawson was ranked until his last fight, which was his first main event opportunity, when he was caught cold and KOed by Bobby Green. He was met with a jiu-jitsu specialist, Joe Solecki. Solecki’a activity slowed down of late, but he once beat the legend Jim Miller and owned a 5-2 record coming into this matchup.

There exists a faction of fans who do not enjoy grappling whatsoever, and if those fans were to point to a fight as evidence for their preference, this fight would be that, as Joe Solecki could not stop Grant Dawson from taking him down and controlling him.

Grant Dawson got an early takedown to start the first, but Solecki managed to work his way to a tight guillotine and put Dawson in trouble early. However, the heavy favorite escaped, got back on top, and put heavy pressure down on Joe. Solecki tried to get to the fence to get up but Dawson kept him down and rained down a constant stream of ground strikes. At some point, Solecki did score an elbow of his own that cut Dawson over the eye, and by the end of the round, streaks of blood covered them both. That pretty much ended the excitement of the bout.

Dawson got an easy takedown to start the round on the second, too. With Solecki’s jiu-jitsu based mindset — jiu-jitsu without wrestling, I might add — he could not or would not even try to get off his back. Grant Dawson was too skilled of a grappler himself, and also a wrestler of considerable ability. That key difference made Grant Dawson appear worthy of his pre-fight price tag as more than a five-to-one betting favorite.

The only difference in the third round was that it began with a groin strike foul. However, Dawson recovered and just took Joe Solecki down against the fence again. The fight ended with little in the way of action, and Grant Dawson swept the scorecards easily, with only one judge giving round one to Solecki.

Official Result: Grant Dawson def. Joe Solecki by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)