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It wasn’t easy for Daichi Abe down the stretch, but a late rally in the final 20 seconds of the fight likely gave him a win over Hyun Gyu Lim.

Abe (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) took a unanimous decision from Lim (13-7-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC), likely thanks to a big knockdown late in the fight that broke Lim’s nose.

The welterweight bout opened up the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 117 event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of the rest of the card on FXX.

Lim worked kicks early, but Abe tried to get his shots in with heavy counter punches. When Lim stepped forward a minute in for a right hand, he ate a big counter punch from the smaller Abe. They traded hard left hands not long after that, but it was Abe who continued to find success with his punches, and Lim seemed to be trying to work through some possible damage to his right eye. When Lim landed his right hand, it was with authority. But Abe consistently fired back. With about a minute left in the frame, Abe got off his best combination of the fight and backed Lim to the fence and had him wobbled.

Just past a minute into the second round, after a slower pace of low kicks and jabs, Lim pawed a left hand out with his fist open and caught Abe in the right eye with a finger. After a delay for Abe’s eye to be looked at, the action started back up. Not long after, Lim landed a big right hand that stopped Abe in his tracks with the heaviest punch of the fight to that point. With 45 seconds left, Lim again landed a big right hand that stunned Abe. He stayed patient, and it cost him. With only a couple seconds left, Abe landed a big right hand that took Lim off his feet just before the horn.

The third round was a little safer for both fighters in the first half of the frame. Neither landed anything major, but in the final 90 seconds Lim landed another solid right and stayed light on his feet on the outside. The change in strategy over the final two rounds seemed to pay off for Lim, who was less reckless than in the first five minutes.

But with 20 seconds left, Abe absolutely cracked Lim with a massive right hand. He busted Lim’s nose open, and Lim started bleeding all over the place. Abe pounced on him and landed more punches while Lim tried to get up, then landed a takedown just before the horn. The question was if it was too little, too late.

It was not. In the end, the judges awarded Abe with a unanimous decision from a trio of 29-28 scores.

With the win in his UFC debut, Abe runs his winning streak to six to start his pro career. Lim lost for the third straight time and fourth time in five fights.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 117 results include:

  • Daichi Abe def. Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Japan.)

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