Rinya Nakamura and Zhang Mingyang both won at UFC 298 although their paths to victory were very different. The Japanese bantamweight had to grind out a decision win while the Chinese light heavyweight scored a first round stoppage.

Nakamura was up against Carlos Vera, a leg lock specialist who struck relentlessly to his strategy. He only came in as a late replacement and was a huge underdog against the Japanese wrestler.

In the opening round Vera was happy to be on the ground because it allowed him to look for those leg locks. But Nakamura was wise to the strategy and stayed out of trouble while landing ground and pound.

No action

This pattern played out in the second round too with the crowd at the Honda Centre growing increasingly restless. It was action they wanted and there was very little of it in the third.

Nakamura was the fighter in dominant position, landing the occasional strike while Vera’s leg lock attempts were all thwarted. So a decision win was inevitable and it takes his record to 9-0 while his opponent falls to 11-4.

Fast finish

No-one could accuse Mingyang Zhang or Brendson Ribeiro of failing to entertain the Anaheim audience. The two traded heavy leather for the best part of two minutes which was all it took for the Chinese fighter to find the finish.

As the light heavyweights went toe toe toe Zhang complained about being punched in the eye. The referee correctly told him to get on with it and he did just that, connecting with a ferocious left hook.

It would probably have been enough to knock Ribeiro out but Zhang followed up with some ground and pound just to be on the safe side, and this time the referee did intervene. The win takes him to 17-6 while his opponent drops to 15-6-0-1.

Best of the rest

Coming soon…

UFC 298, Anaheim, February 17th
Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Ilia Topuria
Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa
Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo
Anthony Hernandez vs. Roman Kopylov
Amanda Lemos def. Mackenzie Dern via Decision (Unanimous)
Marcos Rogério de Lima def. Junior Tafa via TKO (Leg kick and punches) at 1:14 of R2
Rinya Nakamura def. Carlos Vera via Decision (Unanimous)
Zhang Mingyang def. Brendson Ribeiro via KO (Punches) at 1:41 of R1
Danny Barlow def. Josh Quinlan via TKO (Punches) at 1:18 of R3
Oban Elliott def. Val Woodburn via Decision (Unanimous)
Miranda Maverick def. Andrea Lee via Decision (Unanimous)