It was no crowd-pleaser, but the fight went almost exactly as Nik Lentz planned it. The former collegiate wrestler grounded Diego Nunes early and often, and rode that grappling advantage to a unanimous decision win at UFC on FX 7.
The judges scored it 30-28, 30-27, 30-26 for the American.
The featherweight bout drew plenty of boos from the crowd at Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but Lentz accomplished most of what he wanted by limiting Nunes' offense.
Nunes did have a few moments of success. He dropped Lentz in the final seconds of round two and landed a powerful combination early in round two after stopping Lentz's first takedown. His best moment came in the final seconds of the bout, when he freed himself and let go with a barrage. At least two power strikes landed clean and Lentz looked stunned but managed to initiate a clinch and survive to the final bell.
Lentz never landed anything heavy, although he did have full mount on one occasion. Instead, it was his wrestling that won him the fight. He scored takedowns in every round, including three in the third to seal the victory, which is his second straight since making the drop from 155 to 145.
Lentz is now 23-5-2 with 1 no decision.
Nunes, who was fighting in his home country for the first time since 2008, fell to 18-4, and has now alternated wins and losses in his last six fights.