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UFC 221 live blog: Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang

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Jake Matthews and Li Jingliang at UFC 221
Jake Matthews will try to end Li Jingliang’s four-fight win streak at UFC 221 on Saturday.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

This is the UFC 221 live blog for Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang, a welterweight bout at Saturday night’s UFC event at the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.

Matthews, who made a successful return to welterweight last November with a split-decision win over Bojan Velickovic, fights Jingliang, the winner of four straight bouts, on the main card.

Check out the UFC 221 live blog below.

Round 1: Mark Simpson the third man in the cage for this fight. Slow start to this one with both fighter flicking out low kicks and jabs. Jingliang catches Matthews with a solid jab as he comes in. Matthews comes in with a pair of hooks, the right one landing. Another right hand causes Jingliang to stumble for a half second, but he’s up quickly. He continues to come forward. Left jab is working for Jingliang. Matthews landing the right hand, then he drops Jingliang with a left. He jumps in for ground and pound and quickly advances to full mount. Matthews landing unanswered punches from top position. Jingliang gives up his back. He has Matthews’s left hand, but the Australian is softening up his defenses with punches from back control. There’s over a minute left for Matthews to work. Matthews in position for an arm triangle, Jingliang keeps fighting the hands, Matthews stays in back control.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Matthews.

Round 2: 30 seconds in and Matthews blasts Jingliang with a straight right. They go to the mat and Matthews puts on a tight guillotine choke. Blood is pouring from above Matthews’s right eye and that may have contributed to Jingliang popping his head out. It also appears that Jingliang may have gouged Matthews’s eyes to break the hold, which caused the cut. They’re swinging at each other now, both men landing hooks with both hands. Jingliang stalking, but Matthews isn’t afraid to exchange with him. He comes over the top with the right again. 90 seconds left, round could still go either way. Matthews with the left hand. Leg kick from Jingliang, then they open up again and trade punches. Matthews has his hands down just daring Jingliang to throw. Back in the center, they finish with another fast, sloppy exchange.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Matthews. Overall 20-18, Matthews.

Round 3: Jingliang approaching with a jab and low kicks. Matthews rushes him and tackles him against the fence, landing several left hands before Jingliang is able to get back to his feet. They move back to the center of the cage. Jingliang dodges a right hand, but Matthews makes him pay with the left. Both men slowing down in the final frame. Right to the body by Matthews, then he explodes with a right to the head that puts Jingliang down. Matthews follows him down and Jingliang somehow reverses position. He settles into Matthews’s guard up by the cage. Punch to the body from top position by Jingliang. He tries to dive down with a backfist, Matthews counters with a double leg and gets back to his feet. Matthews still working for the takedown with Jingliang against the cage. They separate. 1-2 combo for Matthews scores. He goes for a flying knee and it hits, but Jingliang cracks him with a counter right. Matthews with a big takedown to close the round. Jingliang right back up and he lands some punches on Matthews, who is holding onto his leg.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Matthews. Overall 30-27, Matthews.

Official result: Jake Matthews def. Li Jingliang via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28)