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UFC 189 results recap: Gunnar Nelson vs Brandon Thatch fight review and analysis

Last night (Sat., July 11, 2015), Gunnar Nelson and Brandon Thatch clashed at UFC 189 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a slick display of jiu-jitsu, Nelson finished his opponent. Find out how below!

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Gunnar Nelson and Brandon Thatch dueled at UFC 189 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Both men entered this fight in similar positions, as they were both coming off their first UFC loss, which took place in the main event of a fight night card. For Nelson, that loss came at the hands of Rick Story, and the jiu-jitsu specialist was more than motivated to get back to his grappling roots.

On the other hand, Thatch fell to short-notice replacement and former lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson. He was also uninterested in submissions, as the kickboxer looked for his eighth knockout win.

Instead, he found himself on the wrong side of some heavy punches.

Early on, both fighters flurried in some pretty fast-paced exchanges. Thatch managed to land some of his nasty knees from the clinch and defend a few takedown attempts, but then Nelson ran into him with a power one-two combination and sent him tumbling to the mat.

Once on top, Nelson's jiu-jitsu was beautiful. He moved into mount quickly but fluidly transitioned around from one dominant position to another as Thatch scrambled. All the while, he landed some quick and hard punches.

Eventually, Nelson found his way to Thatch's back. From there, it was simply elementary, as Nelson smacked his opponent with punches from behind, isolated wrist control, then slipped his wrist under the throat.

And it only took about three minutes.

This is a gigantic win for Nelson. His striking has looked really good against some lower level competition, but he was largely picked apart by Story. Then, he faces off with an imperfect but extremely dangerous striker in Thatch, and the Icelandic athlete blew through him on the feet.

Of course, Nelson's jiu-jitsu was spectacular once he's on top. There's not really much more to say; if Nelson gets on top with any time left, he's probably going to finish.

After this key victory, Nelson should get another match with a top 15 opponent. Perhaps a bout with the winner of tonight's main event -- Jake Ellenberger vs Stephen Thompson -- would make sense.

The holes in Thatch's game are becoming clear. He's still a destroyer of worlds when he's allowed to employ his close range physical assault, but Thatch's jiu-jitsu game definitely leaves something to be desired. It doesn't help that he was facing a world class talent, but there's certainly room for improvement.

In addition, Thatch's distance striking isn't nearly as refined as his clinch offensive. He's definitely dangerous from there, but he's also hittable and not particularly fast.

Part of the drawbacks of being a massive welterweight.

I would speculate on Thatch's next opponent, but that's a difficult task. If the IV ban goes through in the fall, the Colorado-native is almost certainly heading to middleweight. Either way, I expect him to take a slight step back and see how he performs against a veteran gatekeeper.

Last night, Gunnar Nelson put on a strong performance to finish Brandon Thatch. How high on the welterweight ladder can Nelson climb?

For complete UFC 189: "Mendes vs McGregor" live results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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