The flyweight bout opened up the preliminary card of today’s UFC on ESPN+ 6 event at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. It streamed on ESPN+.
Espinosa (14-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was light on his feet to start, taking the center and leaping forward before pulling out of range. An early takedown attempt failed, but Shelton (12-6 MMA, 2-4 UFC) was hesitant to engage early with his opponent’s rapid, frantic movement. However, as the round unfolded, Shelton was able to time the entries and answer with some crisp counters that landed clean. Espinosa did have success kicking the legs, but it was Shelton’s blows up top that were the most memorable.
Espinosa got deep on a double-leg with a minute remaining, but Shelton defended the effort in perfect fashion, also evading a big strike as the two disengaged.
The two fighters were quicker to engage in the second, with Shelton appearing much more comfortable with the unpredictable movement of his opponent. Both men had their moments on the feet, effective with quick punches up top. Shelton held the center of the cage, but Espinosa was effective darting in and out of range. A late takedown for Espinosa brought the action to the canvas, through Shelton was back to his feet almost immediately.
An Espinosa eye poke marked an unfortunate start to the third frame, but the contest carried on rather quickly. The back-and-forth action on the feet continued, with Espinosa the busier man in terms of footwork but Shelton having success with his striking, as well. Neither man could gain full control of the momentum, but Shelton remained the man in the center and moving forward. He caught his opponent’s legs a few times but could never capitalize with it. Still, Shelton was the man pressing at the close of the contest. For the judges watching, it didn’t matter, with Espinosa taking home a unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
“I felt like I was a lot more efficient than he was,” Espinosa said. “I landed a lot more when I threw and I made him miss a lot. I felt confident that I would win the decision. I knew I won two out of three for sure, and two of the judges gave me all three rounds, so I’ll take it.
“I’m just grateful. I’ve been in this sport for over 10 years now, and this has been a long time coming. I’m grateful to have my team behind me and my family and friends that support me. Honestly, it’s not about the result as much as it is just being grateful and enjoying where I’m at in life and doing what I love to do.”
Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN+ 6 results include:
- Jordan Espinosa def. Eric Shelton via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Hashtag Files: Stephen Thompson shows us what it would look like if a PB&J had a Twitter
- UFC Nashville's Marlon Vera: Frankie Saenz's prime is over, but it's still a fight
- Dana White's Contender Series returns on ESPN+ this summer
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC Nashville results: Jordan Espinosa victorious in debut, outpoints Eric Shelton