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Both fighters spilled blood, but it was Keita Nakamura who made his home fans happy in Japan.

Nakamura (33-8-2 MMA, 3-5 UFC) took a split decision from Alex Morono (13-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC), taking a pair of 29-28 scores to a dissenting 29-28 for Morono, in yet another back-and-forth slugfest on the prelims in Japan.

The welterweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 117 event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It aired on FXX ahead of the main card on the same channel.

Both fighters got some solid work done in the first round. Nakamura’s heavy left hand bloodied up Morono around his right eye. And Morono put enough pressure on his Japanese opponent to keep him backing away from the offense. Morono seemed to do more work, but it was Nakamura who landed the bigger and better strikes.

The second round was more of the same. Morono was able to sneak through a few jabs, along with some low kicks. With about 90 seconds left, Morono nearly landed big, but moments later found himself eating some kicks to the body from Nakamura. Morono led the round with the hands, but Nakamura led the round with the feet, making for another tough one to score.

A minute into the third, Nakamura got a crucial takedown and passed to side control But after only 30 seconds, Morono got back to his feet without taking any damage on the ground. Midway through, Morono landed a right hand that opened a cut on Nakamura’s left side. The gash was deep, and the bleeding was heavy. Nakamura landed another takedown, but again Morono was right back up after briefly threatening with a guillotine choke. The two slugged it out with punches and kicks down the stretch, including a late body kick from Morono. Both fighters had blood flowing nicely at the final horn.

Nakamura got back in the win column after a loss nearly a year ago. Morono lost for the second straight time after a seven-fight winning streak that included victories in his first two UFC fights.

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

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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