Going into UFC Fight Night 84, we already knew Makwan Amirkhani had a slick submission game -- the SBG Irelafighter by way of Finland had nine of his 12 career victories by way of tapout.
Saturday, we found out Amirkhani's submission defense is pretty tight, too. In an intiriguing featherweight matchup, Amirkhani got the best of Mike Wilkinson for the bulk of the fight. But he also had to fend off a pair of wild Wilkinson submission attempts en route to a unanimous decision win. The judges scores in London were 29-28 and a pair of 30-27s.
"I knew Mike is a tough fighter and he has a big heart," said Amirkhani (13-2), who improved to 3-0 in the UFC. "I knew we'd give a big show for London and we did it."
In the opening round, Amirkhani spent time controlling from the top, deftly transitioning from side control to full mount. Wilkinson came out of the round bleeding from the mouth. But Wilkinson almost stole the fight with a gnarly keylock from an odd angle. Amirkhani stayed patient and regained control.
The second was similar to the fast, as Amirkhani outrgrappled Wilkinson. But Wilkinson again took advantage of a split-second lapse and got Amirkani in a tight guillotine. Once again, Amirkhani stayed patient and regained control of the fight.
Wilkinson, sensing he needed a finished, went for broke in the third, but he eventually ran out of gas as Amirkhani sealed the win.
Wilkinson, fighting for the first time since Oct. 2014, dropped to 9-2.