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UFC Vegas 38 results: Krzysztof Jotko ekes out split decision victory to spoil Misha Cirkunov’s middleweight debut

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UFC Fight Night: Cirkunov v Jotko Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Krzysztof Jotko played spoiler at UFC Vegas 38 as he eked out a split decision win over Misha Cirkunov, who was making his middleweight debut.

While it wasn’t the most exciting fight Jotko’s ability to use his striking and range to avoid Cirkunov’s takedowns allowed him to stay ahead until the final horn. The back-and-forth battle resulted in Jotko earning the win with two judges giving him 29-28 scores with the third official giving the same 29-28 to Cirkunov.

“I was a little bit scared,” Jotko said about the decision. “When I take him down in the end, I knew I win the fight. I keep a very high pace from the beginning to the end.”

In his first fight at 185 pounds, Cirkunov was looking to close the distance and take the fight to the ground but Jotko was doing a good job avoiding his opponent’s wrestling. Jotko was firing back effectively at times on the feet but he was also cautious not to overextend himself, which could have allowed Cirkunov to get the fight down to the canvas.

Cirkunov was still attempting to seek the takedown as the fight moved into the second round but a blatant fence grab from Jotko stalled the action with referee Herb Dean missing the foul. Once he was able to get some separation, Jotko showcased faster hands with his combinations while still avoiding Cirkunov’s advances.

With five minutes remaining, Cirkunov was finally able to drag the fight down to the ground with a couple of takedowns but he was also struggling to maintain control with Jotko slipping free and returning to his feet.

While Jotko wasn’t connecting with any serious power, he was still landing on target at a much higher volume in the third round, which along with a late takedown likely helped him secure the victory.

Jotko has now won four of his last five fights including this latest win over Cirkunov, who drops his second straight overall and first since making the move down to the middleweight division.