Bermudez was hoping to the right the ship after losing to Chan Sung Jung his last time out, while Elkins wanted to continue his climb up the featherweight rankings. It was Elkins that achieved his goal.
Bermudez started strong, landing several leg-bending kicks early in the fight and followed with some heavy hands. Just as he was gaining steam, however, Elkins closed the gap, clinched, and tripped Bermudez to the canvas.
Bermudez quickly regained his feet, but Elkins put him right back down. This happened again, but a short time later, Elkins drug Bermudez back to the canvas, this time taking his back and locking on a body triangle. From there, he landed several shots to the head before Bermudez could return the fight to standing.
Though Bermudez put Elkins on the fence and landed a hard body shot, Elkins shot again, scooping Bermudez up and slamming him to the ground.
They again returned to their feet, Elkins glued to Bermudez, but he could do little with the position before Bermudez separated and landed some hard body shots before the end of the round.
The second frame turned into a slugfest early on, which played to Bermudez’s favor. While Elkins is no slouch on his feet, when Bermudez settles in, his punches are powerful and his leg kicks destructive.
After shucking off an Elkins takedown attempt midway through the round, Bermudez surprisingly took the wrestler down, although he had a difficult time keeping him there.
Elkins ate a couple of shots upon standing, but eventually got Bermudez in a front face-lock position, driving a couple of knees to his face before Bermudez dropped to his knees to so that Elkins couldn’t keep aiming for his head.
Bermudez eventually gained his footing, but got taken down again before time ran out.
The third and final frame was Bermudez’s best of the fight, as he continued attacking with multi-part punch combinations, frequently followed by devastating leg kicks, but he couldn’t put Elkins away.
Although Bermudez was outgunning him on the feet, Elkins tried to return fire and often clinched, putting Bermudez on the fence in an attempt to negate his offensive output.
The strategy worked, as his frequent takedowns and controlling Bermudez on the fence had the judges seeing it in a split for Elkins. He earned 29-28 scores from two of the judges, while the third judge scribed the same score for Bermudez.
It was Elkins’ fifth consecutive victory and the most prominent notch in his belt, which should keep him climbing the ranks as he searches for a UFC featherweight title shot.