AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Showing a cage wisdom beyond his years, Jake Matthews submitted Dashon Johnson in the third round.
The 19-year-old Matthews (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), the youngest fighter on the UFC’s roster, had several times where he looked close to finishing, but it was a triangle choke that finally got the job done against Johnson (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC).
The lightweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 43 event at Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
Matthews quickly tied Johnson up and got double underhooks, looking to take the fight to the ground. Matthews kept things standing, but had his back against the cage as the powerful 19-year-old pressured him. Ninety seconds into the round, Johnson jumped for a guillotine choke. But he couldn’t hold it, and Matthews unloaded with big right hands on him. Johnson got back to guard, but Matthews dragged him away from the cage and landed big elbows. With plenty of time left, he cut Johnson open and continued to unleash the elbows before passing to north-south – and again dragged Johnson away from the cage.
Johnson landed a solid right hand in the second that stunned Matthews, but he got back to his feet. And when he did, he went after a takedown. But as he trying to drop down, Johnson landed multiple 12-to-6 elbows directly to the back of Matthews’ head. He lost a point for the infraction.
Matthews dodged a pair of big uppercuts from Johnson in the third. But he landed a takedown, rolled right into a mounted choke, then gave it up to land big ground-and-pound. He took Johnson’s back with more than three minutes left. Matthews kept after the finish, but Johnson rolled out and got to the top position.
But Matthews stayed calm, threw up a triangle choke, and that was it in a brilliant debut.
“The goal was always mid-20s, but you’ve always got to step up and do better, so it came quicker,” Matthews said. “The triangle choke is probably my favorite technique, so I was glad to pull it off in my debut.”
Matthews kept his perfect streak intact and won his UFC debut. Johnson lost for the first time in his career.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 43 results include:
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(John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Auckland.)