Michael Morales and Jake Matthews squared off in a Welterweight contest earlier tonight (Sat., Nov. 18, 2023) at UFC Vegas 82 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Morales’ range advantage was immediately evident. As both men worked to establish the jab, Morales was more accurate, and he started finding an early home for heavy inside low kicks as well. Matthews tried to engage in longer pocket exchanges, but he couldn’t find his distance with much consistency. Still, Matthews stayed tough and landed some clubbing shots of his own. Morales attempted the jump knee on several occasions, but the Australian veteran was wise to it.
Morales definitely landed the harder shots across the opening five minutes.
Morales’ low kicks were giving Matthews trouble early in the second. The Ecuadorian talent connected on a right and swarmed, but Matthews hung tough. About midway through the round, Matthews started settling in and finding his timing a bit more, resulting in some solid connections. Outside of the low kicks, Matthews was suddenly finding the better success with his hands, but his slightly lower rate of activity made it difficult to score the round — especially when Morales finished strong with a big flurry.
An early low blow halted the action in the third for a moment. A couple minutes into the round, Morales was doing well to control the distance, digging calf kicks and occasionally sticking Matthews with counter shots. Another issue for Matthews was that none of his shots really bothered Morales, whereas the Ecuadorian’s blows definitely knocked Matthews around the cage more. Morales connected on a couple right hands to the temple in the latter of the round, building further on his lead. Finally, Matthews connected with a good left hook, then finished the round stuffing a takedown and firing back.
It wasn’t the most exciting fight of all time, but Morales pretty consistently controlled the flow of the fight and simply landed more than his opponent. He hits hard enough to keep opponents hesitant, and his physicality will always be a serious challenge for Welterweights without a 79 inch reach.
How high can Morales climb at 170 lbs?
Result: Michael Morales defeats Jake Matthews via unanimous decision
For complete UFC Vegas 82: “Allen vs. Craig” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
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