Coming into his UFC on Fuel 7 match up against Jorge Santiago, Gunnar Nelson's name was starting to make waves in the sport. We're talking about a guy with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Renzo Gracie to go along with a Goju Ryu karate black belt. Interesting stuff. Question was, would Nelson still be as interesting after taking on Santiago?
Get ready, get set, go!
Santiago managed to connect with some hard punches as he came inside aggressively on his opponent in round one. Nelson landed some solid kicks, including a side kick to the body. Eventually, Nelson took Santiago down, though was unable to do much with his success before his adversary got up. The rest of the stanza was pretty even up to the bell.
Tough round to call.
Round two saw Nelson connect with some hard punches with that in and out karate style of his. After a successful punching combination along the cage wall, the two clinched and Nelson took his adversary down. From there, Nelson began to beat Santiago up on the ground slowly with elbows and strong punches. Eventually, the fighter from Iceland mounted his adversary and continued the pounding until the bell.
Clear stanza for Nelson.
Early in round three, Nelson landed a side kick to the body; Santiago connected with a hard right hand. Nelson connected with a low kick. Nice round kick to the body from Nelson with the front leg. Then came another round kick to the face from the young fighter. Solid right hand from Nelson. Santiago clinched with his younger adversary along the cage wall and landed multiple knees and an elbow. Moments later, things got interesting as both competitors landed some huge punches, with Santiago getting the worst of things. And for the majority of the rest of the stanza, Nelson won out on the striking. But at the tail end of the stanza, Santiago landed a big time punch amidst a flurry.
Tough fight to call. But I'd give Nelson rounds two and three, thereby giving him the fight.
Gunnar Nelson defeats Jorge Santiago by unanimous decision.