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UFC on ESPN 7 results: Rob Font edges out Ricky Simon in back-and-forth bantamweight slugfest

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A tough year for Rob Font ended on a good note after he picked up a unanimous decision win over Ricky Simon to kick off the main card at UFC on ESPN 7.

Injuries prevented Font from competing since last December but he made the most of his return to action with a strong showing over all three rounds before earning the win with the scorecards reading 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 all in his favor.

The win came through a disciplined attack on the feet combined with strong grappling defense that kept Simon from ever doing much on the ground despite numerous takedowns and several more attempts.

“We worked a lot on my wrestling,” Font said. “I’m not losing another decision off my back.”

The action moved at a break-neck pace with Font trying to keep Simon on his back foot while establishing a strong striking attack on the feet. Font’s lead jab continuously found a home at distance but Simon refused to go away as he sought a path to the inside to work his grappling game.

In fact, one of the strongest moments in the fight for Simon came after he rushed forward with a blitzing combination including several hard knee strikes that seemingly staggered Font in the opening round.

As time ticked away, Simon wasn’t setting up his takedowns with his hands as much, which then allowed Font to pick and choose his shots on the feet. When Simon did dive forward with reckless aggression, Font made him pay with several nasty uppercuts and then sprawling out so he never got locked on the ground for very long.

Still, Simon kept coming forward displaying incredible durability and he found a home for a body shot late in the third round that landed with a sickening thud. Simon managed to follow up with a takedown but he failed to maintain control on the ground, which then allowed Font to stand back up again and again.

The final 45 seconds saw Font and Simon throw game plans out the window as they just started winging punches at each other until the final horn sounded.

It was an important win for Font after defeating Sergio Pettis in his last outing as he looks to continue the climb up the bantamweight rankings.

“I don’t care who it is. I’ll sign the contract right now,” Font said as he looks to stay active heading into 2020. “Just put me back in, please.”