Jens Pulver earned his way back in the win column on Saturday in Singapore at ONE FC 6, but probably in a way he didn't envision or ever wants to experience again. The former UFC lightweight champion was a unanimous decision after a groin kick in the third round rendered him unable to compete as he writhed in devastating agony on the canvas.
The bout started with some promise. Zhao Ya Fei opened with early inside leg kicks from the orthodox position and while Pulver tried to take center cage, he absorbed several right hands that clearly rocked him and forced him to offensive reset. In the second half of the first frame, Pulver adjusted by securing a double leg takedown, although he was unable to do much with it.
At the start the second round, Pulver began to find his groove and set the offensive tone. He landed a solid left hand as well as several effective leg kicks. He soon rocked Zhau with a crushing left that sent the Chinese fighter crashing to the floor. Pulver pounced and moved into north-south throwing multiple, landing stiff knees to Zhao's head and body.
In the third frame, however, is where matters took an ugly turn. Zhou landed a groin kick early in the round, but it was mostly glancing and only stopped the action momentarily. After the action resumed, Zhou almost immediately landed another only this time with significantly more force and precision. The replay showed the kick to be direct, swift and powerful. Pulver writhed in agony on the canvas trying to alleviate the pain with his allotted five minutes of recovery time, biting a towel to cope with the pain. He was eventually removed from the cage on a stretcher.
Zhou was given a yellow card warning for the illegal kick.
According to ONE FC rules, the bout would be decided by judges decision after Pulver was deemed unable to continue once his injury stoppage time had expired. All three judges, who grade the bout as a whole and not by round, awarded the victory to the injured American.