After 15-months out of the octagon, Jake Matthews (18-5, 11-5 UFC) returned in emphatic fashion, putting on a striking masterclass to defeat Portugal’s Andre Fialho (16-5, 2-2 UFC) via second-round TKO.
In a career best performance, the young Welterweight showed evolution to his game, displaying controlled aggression which allowed him to land at will. Matthews entered fight week saying he wanted to test his striking skills, with Fialho entering the fight fresh off two first-round knockout victories.
The Melbournian got his wish and from the opening bell looked to be a hard puzzle for Fialho to solve, constantly moving and countering each time the Portuguese fighter threw anything. The ‘Celtic Kid’ was able to damage the lead leg of Fialho early, with noticeable bruising and swelling from the leg kicks he was throwing.
The action heated up in the final 30 seconds of the first round, with both men swinging and able to land clean punches on each other’s chins. Fialho appeared to land the more damaging punch, with one connecting with Matthews’ temple, sending him to the mat in the final seconds of the round.
The second round was far less competitive however, with Matthews’ able to pick Fialho apart at distance, landing at will and wobbling the 28 year old multiple times.
While having lots of success, Matthews remained composed, not rushing but rather sticking to the outside and continuing to hurt Fialho.
It did not take long before Matthews finished the fight, landing a left which wobbled Fialho, followed by a shot to the body, another left and then a right hand, forcing the referee to step in and end the fight.
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Post-fight, Matthews spoke about the evolutions he had made to his game and the new approach he took entering UFC 275.
“I’ve had this sort of skill level my entire career and thank god we were able to bring it to the fight this time,” Matthews said post-fight.
“Everything you have seen from me before this point is 50 per cent of Jake Matthews, so get used to seeing that.
“Either of us could’ve gone out at any point of that fight and I knew going into this fight it was knock him out or get knocked out trying and I just put it together better tonight.”
Matthews striking accuracy was the difference maker in the fight, able to land at 52 per cent to outstrike Fialho 47 to 18.
The fight marked the 16th time that Matthews has fought in the UFC, having made his debut back in 2014 when he was just 19 years of age. Although he has suffered setbacks in his career, he looks to have turned a corner and matured as a mixed martial artist.
After such an impressing performance, Matthews could quickly make his way up the Welterweight rankings, with him being just a few wins away from fighting a ranked opponent. A fight with the likes of Max Griffin or Elizeu Zaleski could make sense for his next contest.
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