Jon Tuck picked a tremendous time to turn in the best performance of his career, striding into the Octagon in the final preliminary card bout of the night against Takanori Gomi and choking out the Japanese legend in less than 75 seconds.
A glancing front kick to the body hurt Gomi in the first exchange and though he tried to play it off, Tuck sensed his opportunity and capitalized. He swarmed, connecting with a serious of rapid-fire right hands that prompted the former Pride champion to cover up, exposing his back. Tuck sunk in a hook and dragged Gomi to the canvas, quickly lacing his left arm under the chin and tightening his squeeze until “The Fireball Kid” was forced to tap.
RNC submission a minute into the first by @JonCruzTuck to defeat “The Fireball Kid”!! #UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/zKKG1X7KVE
— UFC (@ufc) June 17, 2017
After coming out on the wrong side of split decision verdicts against Josh Emmett and Damien Brown in his last two outings, Tuck made sure there was no room for heartbreak on Saturday, evening his record in the Octagon at 4-4 and moving to 10-4 overall with the first-round finish.
ASKER VS. HARRIS
Walt Harris wanted no part of shaking hands with Cyril Asker at weigh-ins on Friday. One night later, the Birmingham-based heavyweight took care of business inside the Octagon, finishing the Frenchman in less than two minutes.
AND @TheBigTicket205 WITH THE TKO! pic.twitter.com/xblPTh0bPX
— UFC (@ufc) June 17, 2017
Asker actually landed the first serious shot, stiffening Harris in the opening stages of the contest, but “The Big Ticket” steadied himself and returned fire. A right hook corralled Asker into a clean left hand down the pipe that put him on the canvas and while he smiled as he crashed down to the mat, Harris immediately erased that grin and ended the contest, raining down heavy punches and hellacious elbows from top position until referee John Sharp stepped in to end the punishment.
After dropping his first three UFC appearances, Harris has gone 3-1 over his last four fights with Saturday’s win giving him back-to-back stoppage victories inside the Octagon for the first time in his career.
CACERES VS. DY
After sharing the Octagon with two of the featherweight division’s top rising stars in his last two outings, Alex Caceres used his superior experience and savvy to get the best of game newcomer Rolando Dy on Saturday night in a fight that was called to a halt following the second round.
Caceres started hot, sniping home clean strikes in space as Dy backed himself onto the cage. A clean left hand connected for Caceres early in the frame and caused vision problems for the Filipino featherweight for the remainder of the fight. After dropping Dy with another clean left, Caceres climbed on his back looking for the finish, but failed to snake his arm under the neck to secure the choke.
In the second, the former Ultimate Fighter contestant continued to attack, showcasing his flowing brand of striking. Dy countered with a couple sharp punches of his own, but continued to be bothered by reduced vision, squinting, blinking and wiping at his right eye throughout the middle stanza.
The entertaining contest came to an anticlimactic close between frames, with referee Neil Swales calling a halt to the bout due to Dy’s struggles to see clearly out of his right eye. While it wasn’t the ending Caceres was hoping for, it was a strong showing nonetheless and gets him back in the win column after back-to-back losses.
SCOGGINS VS. SASAKI
Ten seconds into this fight, Justin Scoggins tossed Ulka Sasaki on his head with a powerful suplex and the action didn’t let up until Sasaki was able to squeeze a tap out of his American counterpart to secure the come-from-behind victory.
Scoggins hurt Sasaki with a spinning back kick to the ribs early in the first before putting him down with a crisp one-two as the lanky Japanese fighter tried to steady himself after a spinning wheel kick whizzed by his face, missing by a whisker as color commentator Dan Hardy said on the broadcast.
The second began much the same way, with Scoggins once again putting Sasaki on the canvas with a spinning back kick. But after weathering a string of elbows, Sasaki was able to scramble free and used the opportunity to rapidly shift the momentum into his favor, mounting Scoggins in the center of the Octagon.
What a comeback! @UlkaSasaki with the fantastic finish!#UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/XUVVoJDL9L
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) June 17, 2017
When Scoggins gave up his back, Sasaski fished his arm under the neck and sunk in the rear naked choke. The tap came seconds later and the celebration began for Sasaki, who moves to draws even at 3-3 inside the Octagon and 20-4-2 overall with the victory.
JINGLIANG VS. CAMACHO
Everyone expected Li Jingliang and Frank Camacho to engage in a back-and-forth smoke show when this fight came together and the welterweights did not disappoint.
Both men had their moments in the opening stanza, with Camacho cracking Jingliang with a pair of power shots early in the round before “The Leech” found his footing and began using his superior size and strength to muscle the short-notice newcomer Camacho to the ground. The second was contested exclusively on the feet, with Jingliang showing more bounce and movement, offering superior volume, while Camacho commanded the center of the cage while slinging power shots.
In the third and final frame, Jingliang’s superior conditioning and early investment in leg kicks started paying dividends, as Camacho’s mobility became compromised and gave Jingliang the opportunity to tee off with combinations and turn the tight contest into a one-sided affair down the stretch.
When the scorecards were turned in, all three judges saw the fight for Jingliang, awarding the steadily improving Chinese prospect his third straight victory with scores of 29-27, 29-27 and 28-27.
KWAK VS. DOANE
Russell Doane maintained Hawaii’s hot streak inside the Octagon on Saturday, burying Kwan Ho Kwak under a torrent of strikes along the cage to pick up the first-round stoppage victory.
And thats it! @RussellDoane135 gets the huge KO in the first round at #UFCSingapore https://t.co/bnnVtMGAJe pic.twitter.com/uRrOL796m2
— UFC (@ufc) June 17, 2017
Following on the success of Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros at UFC 212 in Brazil, Doane started slowly, but quickly turned things around and closed out the contest in impressive fashion, stinging Kwak with a right hand and right high kick before a clean right dropped him to the canvas. Piston-like punches followed and prompted referee Steve Perceval to step in and wave things off with just under a minute remaining in the opening frame.
The victory halts a four-fight losing streak for Doane, who picked up a second-round submission win over Leandro Issa the first time the UFC ventured to Singapore in January 2014. The 30-year-old bantamweight moves to 14-7 overall with the victory, while Kwak suffers his second consecutive setback inside the Octagon after beginning his career with nine straight wins.
INOUE VS. DE TOMAS
In a clash of unbeaten flyweight newcomers, Naoki Inoue maintained his perfect record with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Carl John de Tomas that showcased his exciting ground game and high upside, collecting 10-9 scores from all three judges in all three rounds.
The younger brother of Invicta FC standout Mizuki Inoue, the 20-year-old neophyte exhibited strong grappling from the jump, bringing de Tomas to the canvas with a slick arm drag in the first before sinking in his hooks and threatening with a rear naked choke for the majority of the round. In the second, it was more of the same, with Inoue again controlling the action on the canvas and looking for the finish, chaining together submission attempts, including a deep armbar that looked sunk as the horn sounded to end the frame.
Though de Tomas came out hard in the third, cutting Inoue on the left side of his head with a series of hard elbows, the Japanese prospect weathered the storm and resumed his attack on the canvas, threatening with further submission attempts as the round came to a close.
Inoue has now won 11 straight to begin his career, while de Tomas tastes defeat for the first time and falls to 6-1.
KIM VS. PUDILOVA
Lucie Pudilova and Ji Yeon Kim kicked things off with a high energy, back-and-forth battle that went to the scorecards. When the final tabulations came through, Pudilova picked up her first UFC victory, earning 29-28 scores across the board.
The action was frantic to begin the contest, with both women starting quickly and stinging each other with sharp jabs in the first. While the newcomer Kim appeared to find her footing and take command of the contest in the second, Pudilova shifted the momentum in her favor to start the third, pressing forward into the clinch and forcing Kim to defend a pair of guillotine choke attempts.
Although she wasn’t able to compete either submission attempt, Pudilova made both of them count, maintaining control before dragging Kim to the canvas with her first attempt and scoring with hard knees in the closing moments of the fight with the second.
With the victory, Pudilova draws level at 1-1 in the UFC and pushes her record to 7-2 overall, while Kim falls to 6-1-2 with the loss.