Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight finishers Albert Tumenov and Gunnar Nelson went to war yesterday (May 8, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 87 inside Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Tumenov has already proven himself one of the division's finest strikers. In his bout with Nelson, however, Tumenov needed to prove that he could utilize his kickboxing against a top-tier grappler.
On the other hand, a pair of tough losses cost Nelson his spot in the Top 15 after starting his UFC career very quickly. Against Tumenov, Nelson had an opportunity to remind fight fans of his potential and reclaim that position.
To watch Gunnar Nelson vs. Albert Tumenov full fight video highlights from UFC Fight Night 87 right now click here.
Nelson started very quickly, scoring with a trio of left hooks that landed clean. After the opening minute, Tumenov began to find his range as well and attacked with some hard combinations.
With both men landing, Nelson switched things up with a clinch takedown and moved into mount. From that position, he began dropping some brutal elbows on the Russian, slamming his skull into the canvas. Despite absorbing some hellacious blows, Tumenov managed to scramble back to his feet with 30 seconds remaining and score with some hard shots before the end of the round.
It was undoubtedly his opponent's round though.
Tumenov went on the offensive to start the second round and successfully defended his opponent's first takedown attempt. Just as Tumenov began putting things together and landing, Nelson scored with another clinch takedown into side control.
Before long, Nelson transitioned into the mount and then back control. From there, he did some tricky hand-fighting to lock up the rear naked choke around his opponent's jaw and squeeze to the finish.
This was a nearly perfect performance by Nelson, who made it look easy. Sure, he took some punches while on his feet, but that's to be expected when facing such a skilled striker. Outside of those instances, Nelson landed his own strikes hard and set up his clinch trips very well.
Once on the mat, Nelson really showed off his intelligent Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He quickly advanced into the mount and simply battered his opponent with elbows. He was very patient, eventually allowing his opponent to give up his back and finish the fight.
This was an important win for Nelson, who's now back in the win column and the Top 15. Following this victory, Nelson should face off with another opponent just outside the Top 10 such as Kelvin Gastelum.
This is a hard stop for Tumenov's upward climb. He hasn't truly been tested on the mat since his debut loss, and this fight definitely showed that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Tumenov's biggest issue in this bout was his habit of lunging forward. He was clearly anxious about the takedown and in a hurry to do damage while standing, but he opened himself up to his opponent's takedown attempts in the process.
Once on the mat, he was outclassed.
Still, all hope is not yet lost. Tumenov is still a young fighter with plenty of time to grow, but an opponent outside of the Top 15 might make sense.
Yesterday morning, Gunnar Nelson stopped the rise of Albert Tumenov with a rear-naked choke. Can the Icelandic athlete go on a title run?
For complete UFC Fight Night 87: "Overeem vs Arlovski" results and play-by-play, click HERE!