Jake Matthews not thrilled with win at UFC-Sydney, but believes welterweight is his home

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SYDNEY – It wasn’t very smooth sailing for Jake Matthews on Saturday night in front of his home fans. But a win is a win is a win.

Matthews (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) took a split decision from Bojan Velickovic (15-6-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC) in their welterweight bout on the UFC Fight Night 121 main card. It was Matthews’ return to 170 pounds for the first time since before he was in the UFC.

UFC Fight Night 121 took place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

“It’s obviously good to get the win,” Matthews told MMAjunkie after the fight. “I was very nervous before this fight after the last two losses. I knew I had to get the win, but the nerves had shut me down a bit. It wasn’t the best fight. I pretty much flipped the game plan around.”

Matthews came into the fight with back-to-back losses as a lightweight. The victory was his first since a “Fight of the Night” submission of Johnny Case in March 2016.

Getting back in the win column was crucial for Australia’s Matthews, so much so that he said he had to control the emotion to make sure he focused on the fight.

“I was just harboring a lot of emotion,” Matthews said. “I couldn’t even look at the crowd walking out because I would start crying. To be fighting in Australia, back in the octagon after 12 months out, I could hear all my friends and family – it was good.”

Ten of the 14 media members tracked by MMADecisions.com scored the fight for Velickovic, though. Only three scored it for Matthews, and one scored it a draw.

But Matthews believes he’ll start to feel more comfortable in his new weight class and thinks welterweight is where he belongs after being at lightweight his first seven fights in the UFC.

“I’ve still got a good 12 months before I probably get up to a proper welterweight size,” Matthews said. “I went 7-0 as a welterweight (before I came to the UFC), and I was walking around probably at 165 pounds back then – weighing in in pants and with phones in my pocket just to seem bigger.

“Obviously, welterweight in the UFC is a little different. I was just testing the waters (Saturday), but I’m just happy to get a win. I got a little bit sick after the last one cutting that much weight, so I felt a lot better this time.”

For more from Matthews, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 121 results: Jake Matthews takes split from Bojan Velickovic in return to 170

Jake Matthews was hoping to be rejuvenated in his return to welterweight, and his first UFC fight in the division. But Bojan Velickovic made it a struggle throughout.

Matthews (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) took a split decision from Velickovic (15-6-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC) with a pair of 29-28 scores; Velickovic had one 29-28 of his own. Velickovic outstruck Matthews by plenty, but Matthews’ time on top in the first round appeared to be enough to edge things out – despite Velickovic’s disbelief when the decision was read.

The welterweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Matthews closed the distance 20 seconds in and tied up Velickovic for a takedown. When it wasn’t coming, he had to eat some elbows and short punches from Velickovic. But Matthews stayed after the single – and kept paying the price with body shots and short punches to the face. Finally, nearly two minutes in, Matthews got the takedown.

Velickovic got back to his feet quickly, but Matthews stayed glued to him. He wanted the fight on the ground again, but still ate short punches from Velickovic trying to get it. With 75 seconds left, he got it and went to work on top in half-guard. Velickovic went after a heel hook, but Matthews spun out of it near the end of the round.

Velickovic tried a jumping knee 30 seconds in and it connected. Matthews went for a defensive takedown, but Velickovic wrapped up a guillotine choke, and a tight one. Matthews popped his head out, but had to deal with Velickovic on top in mount with a full four minutes to work with. Velickovic took Matthews’ back and tried to get a rear-naked choke. He worked Matthews oer with punches, then pulled him back. Matthews stayed defensive and tried to shake Velickovic off his back, and with 100 seconds left he finally broke away and got back to his feet.

Matthews cracked Velickovic with a right elbow, but Velickovic tied up Matthews’ head nad landed a knee. With a minute left, they broke and Matthews lunged forward with a right and left. But he looked tired, and Velickovic seemed filled with energy. Matthews clipped Velickovic with a right hand with 20 seconds left, then a left right after. But they probably weren’t enough to steal the round back.

Matthews landed a few punches early in the third, then got a single leg and drove Velickovic to the canvas for his most definitive takedown of the fight. Velickovic worked his way out and back to his feet, but went after a takedown of his own and got it. Velickovic took Matthews’ back and worked punches. He then went after a rear-naked choke right in front of Matthews’ corner.

Matthews tried to shake Velickovic off and finally did with two minutes left. Matthews started working short punches from up top, but they all may have been too little, too late. Velickovic worked for a late kimura, but it wasn’t there. Matthews took Velickovic’s back late and went after a rear-naked choke of his own. But he lost the position and Velickovic took top position for a moment before one last reversal.

Matthews snapped a two-fight skid and won in his return to the welterweight division. Velickovic lost for the second straight time and has dropped three of his past four.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 121 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Sydney.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

Jake Matthews admits there's pressure to perform at UFC Fight Night 121

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SYDNEY – Sometimes, a change of scenery can be just what the doctor ordered. Jake Matthews is hoping that’s the case with his move back up to welterweight this weekend.

Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) returns to 170 pounds after fighting his first seven UFC bouts at lightweight when he meets Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) on the UFC Fight Night 121 main card.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Sunday (but airs live on Saturday in North America due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The move for Matthews comes on the heels of back-to-back lightweight losses in 2016 to Kevin Lee, who recently fought for an interim 155-pound title, and Andrew Holbrook. The latter fight came by split decision nearly a year ago, and Matthews hasn’t seen action since. He was the heaviest favorite on the card against Holbrook at UFC Fight Night 101 in New Zealand.

In his return, he’s hoping to give a glimpse of the potential that was pegged on him when he debuted in the promotion as a 19-year-old Australian in 2014.

“I know it’s a must-win fight, but that’s not adding to the pressure at all,” Matthews told MMAjunkie at a media day in support of UFC-Sydney. “I expect myself to go in there and win the fight, anyway. I’m just going to go in there and this time, do what I normally do when we’re sparring and training and just not hold back – still be smart, still be patient where I need to be, but just have that aggressiveness that I used to have back in the day.”

Back in the day, Matthews started out 8-0, including consecutive submission wins over Dashon Johnson and Vagner Rocha to open his UFC tenure. After a submission loss to James Vick, he stopped Akbarh Arreola with a TKO at UFC 193, then got a “Fight of the Night” bonus for his submission win over Johnny Case, which moved him to 4-1 in the promotion with four stoppages.

But it’s been a struggle since then, and one he thinks he could’ve avoided. He blames himself for both losses, saying he didn’t give all he could have given.

“I could’ve dug deeper and tried to push and really win those fights,” Matthews said. “And it does make me hungry. I want to go in there and show everyone what my skill set is, what my potential is, and show that I could’ve won those last two fights. And even though Kevin is a top contender now, I could’ve won that fight.

“But if I win this fight, I’ll be right back up there with guys like Darren Till and hopefully get a bigger fight and keep moving up.”

For more from Matthews, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 event in Australia.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC Fight Night 121 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Sunday (but airs live on Saturday in North America due to the time difference at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura

Records: Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC), Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC)
Past five: Werdum 3-2, Tybura 4-1
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Werdum No. 3, Tybura honorable mention
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Werdum -360, Tybura +300

Take Our Poll
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Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Bec Rawlings

Records: Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC)
Past five: Rawling 2-3, Clark 2-2 (one no-contest)
Division: Women’s flyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Rawlings -150, Clark +130

Take Our Poll
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Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad

Records: Tim Means (27-8-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC), Belal Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Past five: Means 3-1 (one no-contest), Muhammad 3-2
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Means -260, Muhammad +220

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Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic

Records: Jake Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC), Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC)
Past five: Matthews 2-3, Velickovic 2-2-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Matthews -150, Velickovic +130

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Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou

Records: Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
Past five: Kelly 4-1, Theodorou 3-2
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Theodorou -260, Kelly +200

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Alex Volkanovski vs. Shane Young

Records: Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Shane Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Volkanovski 5-0, Young 5-0
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Theodorou -260, Young +200

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For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Jake Matthews announces return to welterweight for fight vs. Bojan Velickovic at UFC-Sydney

Jake Matthews will fight in front of his home fans again, and he’ll do so in his original weight class.

Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) will move back up to welterweight to fight Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 121 next month. The Australian announced his move from lightweight and the fight booking to Australia’s Herald Sun. The UFC has not yet made a formal announcement of the booking.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Nov. 18 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The event airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Matthews started his career at welterweight for his first six fights, all of which came in his native Australia. But he dropped to lightweight for an opportunity to sign with the UFC, where he won four of his first five fights with the promotion – all by stoppage.

But in July 2016 at the TUF 23 Finale, he was stopped with a first-round TKO by Kevin Lee, and later that year, in November, he dropped a split decision to Andrew Holbrook, who was the biggest underdog at UFC Fight Night 101, giving him the first losing skid of his career. When he steps in the cage against Velickovic, it will be his first fight in a year.

Bojan Velickovic

Velickovic will try to get back on track after a decision loss to Darren Till in September in the Netherlands. That erased the good memory of a bonus-winning knockout of Nico Musoke in Sweden in May, which was his first win in more than a year.

The latest UFC Fight Night 121 card includes:

  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Humberto Bandenay vs. Alex Volkanovski
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
  • Jenel Lausa vs. Eric Shelton
  • Alex Chambers vs. Nadia Kassem
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie