UFC 302: Jake Matthews Back in Win Column, Decisions Phil Rowe

Jake Matthews and Phil Rowe, UFC 302
Jake Matthews and Phil Rowe, UFC 302 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Dylan Napoloene/Cageside Press

Jake Matthews, once the youngest fighter on the UFC roster, entered UFC 302 a 10-year veteran of the company, just months shy of his 30th birthday and paired up with “The Fresh Prince” Phil Rowe.

Mathews, who debuted in the UFC in June 2014 following a stint on The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia, had traded wins and losses across his last six fights. Rowe for his part was coming in off a loss to Neil Magny that had snapped a three-fight win streak.

The opening round started off with Matthews and Rowe exchanging some thudding calf kicks as both fighters moved in and out of striking range. Matthews was moving around on the outside darting in with the jab and convincing feints, landing that calf kick at will. Rowe landed a combination upstairs towards the side of the cage, clipping Matthews with a shot. After parrying another shot, Rowe showboated in the center of the octagon. Midway thru the round, Matthews was still pumping out the jab with his opponent still looking to counter from the outside.  With a minute left in the round, Matthews clipped Rowe with a nice lead hook before continuing to come forward with looping strikes. Rowe looked for a jumping knee that Matthews parried with his hand, but it also hit the cup and time was called momentarily.

When the action resumed, wasting no time, Matthews came in swinging wildly with hooks and Rowe clinched to slow his momentum. With seconds left in the round Rowe attempted a flying knee but this time, was clipped in midair and spent the remainder of the round on his back.

To begin the second round Jake was again the aggressor stalking Rowe around the cage looking for hooks and low kicks. Rowe looked for a long 1-2 combination that narrowly missed and was again clipped by a solid hook upstairs. Phil was really popping out that jab and constantly keeping it in the face of his opponent. Halfway thru the round and Matthews’ pace seemed to have slowed slightly but he was still throwing hard shots even mixing in some work to the body. With almost 90 seconds left in the round, Matthews landed a solid three-punch combination to the head of his opponent that got his attention. With a minute left, the two were standing in the center of the octagon pushing the pace, letting the hands go with both men having moments in the exchange.

The final round opened with a blistering pace as the two fighters quickly exchanged on the feet before Rowe shot for a takedown and was reversed. Matthews ended up on top but only momentarily, as Rowe was able to get to a modified mounted position on his opponent in the center of the octagon. As Rowe was in Matthews’ full guard, Matthews, trying to move away, exposed his back. Phil jumped on the rear-naked choke but slipped off ending up on the bottom. Entertaining scrambling was working from both fighters as Matthews landed some strikes of his own from a modified mount as Phil tried to return to his feet. With nearly a minute left in the round, Rowe had to fight out of a brief head and arm choke attempt, still trying desperately to grab a leg and return to his feet in any way possible. With seconds left in the round, Matthews looked for another choke as the two nearly returned to standing as the final horn sounded.

Come the scorecards, Matthews had the win on all three, returning to the win column following a loss to Michael Morales last time out.

Official Decision: Jake Matthews def. Phil Rowe by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)