Heading into the UFC on Fuel TV 7 welterweight bout between Jorge Santiago and Gunnar Nelson, you’d have thought that Santiago – being eight years Nelson’s senior and with three times the fights on his resume – would be the one in command of the fight.
He wasn’t, however, as Nelson, from the bell, appeared to be the one in full control of the fight, even when he wasn’t.
Santiago stung early and stung first with a big right hand and follow-up knee, but Nelson’s timing was nearly perfect throughout.
Every time that Santiago seemed to get something going, Nelson would plant the former Strikeforce tournament winner and Sengoku champion on his back and methodically drop heavy ground and pound on him.
There was a solid exchange to open round two, both men finding their mark, but when Nelson scored, the effects of his attacks was much more evident, as he left Santiago staggering on a couple of occasions.
It was Nelson’s constant takedowns and takedown attempts that wore Santiago down, however. By the third round, Nelson had exhausted Santiago to the point that he was swinging wildly any time Nelson drew near. Nelson was the one that remained calm and relaxed, landing the shots that did real damage, save for a wide right hand from Santiago that rocked Nelson just before the final horn.
Nelson’s composure and superior technique carried him to a unanimous decision victory, keeping his undefeated record intact at 11-0-1, and leaving him as one of the hottest prospects in the UFC welterweight division.