Paul Craig came into his UFC Adelaide main-card opener against Jimmy Crute with nine of his 10 career victories coming by way of submission, so it was only natural he’d want to take the fight to the ground.
That Crute would get the best of most of those exchanges, and then earn the submission near the end? That was an unexpected development.
But that’s how things played on Saturday night at the Adelaide Entertainment Center, as the 22-year old Crute, a Contender Series alum making his official UFC debut, delighted his countrymen with a win via Kimura at 4:51 of the third round in their light heavyweight matchup.
“Oh man, that feels incredible, I’ve been training for this moment for 10 years,” Crute said.
To be sure, Craig had his moments on the ground, as he demonstrated with a triangle from the bottom in the opening round. But Crute proved resilient and at one point reversed position and locked his opponent into a head-and-arm choke.
There was a rinse-and repeat pattern to the fight as Craig would score takedowns, but Crute would find his way into dominant positions. That included the bulk of the final frame, as Craig scored a takedown, only to have Crute work him over, right up until he cranked the Kimura and got the tap.
“I ’m not afraid to fight fire with fire,” Crute said. “I heard he’s one of the best grapplers in the division. I’ll fight any way.”
Crute improved to 9-0 with his sixth career win via finish. Scotland’s Craig (10-3) has dropped three of his past four fights.