SINGAPORE – For the first time in his career, Mairbek Taisumov had to win on points – but that didn’t make it any less a dominant performance.
Taisumov, the heaviest favorite on Saturday’s card, offered up a buffet of skill sets on his way to a unanimous decision sweep over fellow UFC debutant Tae Hyun Bang.
The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 34 event at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. It streamed on the UFC’s new Fight Pass digital network.
Taisumov bounced outside early while Bang kept his hands low, something that would be his trademark in the fight. Taisumov kicked high, but had it partially blocked, but then kicked inside and followed with a right hand. Through it all, Bang’s hands were mostly down as he stalked with the Austrian on the outside. Taisumov continued to kick inside as Bang’s right leg started to show the effects. He ate a few punches, then kicked high. A big left hand landed seconds later and stunned Bang, then a right hand put him on his knees. With a minute left, Bang moved in tight and landed solid combinations. But he tried a flying knee with 30 seconds left and ate a giant right hand for his troubles.
Taisumov twice kicked to the body in the first minute of the second and changed up his movement from right to left and back again. Ninety seconds in, Taisumov landed a takedown, but Bang took no damage on the ground and bounced back to his feet. The pace mostly slowed in the middle frame, though, and the crowd got restless in the round’s final minute as Bang mostly employed a counter-striking offense.
Taisumov’s corner, led by former UFC fighter Roger Huerta, implored him to do a little more in the third to seal the deal. So he landed a solid takedown early and controlled Bang near the cage while trying to work to mount. Bang worked to his feet, but Taisumov kept a body lock on and took him down again with ease. Taisumov trapped an arm briefly to land a few big punches as Bang wore down. He got to his feet with 90 seconds left, but he had little left in the tank to put anything together.
Taisumo’s win, 30-27 nods on all three judges’ scorecards, featured solid striking with the hands, a stout kicking game, good takedowns and ground control and superior cardio.
Taisumov (21-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) won for the fourth straight time and ninth time in 10 fights. Bang (16-8 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is back in the loss column after a June win, which was his first fight in nearly three years.
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John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Singapore.