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UFC 243 results: Dhiego Lima leg kicks his way to split decision win over Luke Jumeau

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dhiego Lima fed Luke Jumeau a steady diet of leg kicks over three rounds to play spoiler in his journey to Australia for UFC 243.

The former “Ultimate Fighter” contender seemed to do more than enough with a measured striking attack to get the job done, although he ultimately had to sweat out a split decision with two scorecards reading 29-28 in his favor with the third card going 29-28 for Jumeau.

It was a slow paced start to the fight but Lima was able to target Jumeau’s lead leg with several stinging kicks that began paying dividends. Lima was selective with his strikes but he definitely had Jumeau’s calf turning several shades of red by the end of the opening round.

The kick heavy attack led to another blistering shot to Jumeau’s leg at the start of round two that twisted him around before a brief exchange on the ground. Back on the feet, Lima used his size advantage to really weight on Jumeau against the cage trying to wear him down while operating at a grueling pace.

Late in the round, Jumeau managed to land his best strike with a punch that slipped through Lima’s defense and rattled him momentarily. Jumeau rushed forward looking to take advantage of the opening but Lima stepped back and started launching bombs back at him before transitioning to a takedown.

With five minutes remaining, Lima’s kicks were still his most effective weapon and one look at Jumeau’s leg showed his game plan was paying off. While the damage done to the leg obviously affected him, Jumeau was just never able to put together the kind of combinations outside of that lone punch in the second round to help him score points with the judges or get the finish.

While the fight ended in a split decision, Lima seemed confident he was going to get the victory after traveling halfway around the world to get his third straight win overall.

Lima has been wildly inconsistent at times during his career but now with three victories in a row, he’s put together his longest winning streak since 2013.