Keita Nakamura remained cool, calm and composed for fifteen minutes on the way to a decision victory over Alex Morono at UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan.
Nakamura’s win ensured that all four Japanese fighters picked up wins in the preliminary bouts; a clean sweep in front of the local fans. Nakamura moves to 3-2 during his current stint in the UFC and now has impressive wins over Alex Morono, Ky, e Noke and Jingliang Li.
Alex Morono now experiences his first official loss in the UFC. After winning bouts against Kyle Noke and James Moontasri, Morono was later stopped by Niko Price at UFC Fight Night 104. The result was later overturned, however, due to Price testing positive for marijuana.
A patient Keita Nakamura sat back and waited as Alex Morono carefully tread forward. Morono’s intentions were clear, reach with the lead jab and distract Nakamura before throwing strikes. Nakamura, wouldn’t fall for it, though, and showed enough composure to not bite for Morono’s feints and eventually punish the body of Morono at every chance. Mid-way through round one, a body kick badly hurt Morono, who retreated for the first time.
It didn’t take long for Morono to get back to his stalking ways, though, and he began cutting the octagon off at every opportunity. Nakamura had limited room to work with, but managed to keep Morono from unloading with strikes with the constant threat of a counter shot.
Morono was the more active of the two fighters, but Nakamura’s strikes were the more convincing ones.
A takedown in the third round saw Nakamura end up on top of Morono. As soon as Nakamura tried to pass to side control, Morono blocked his transition and scrambled back to the feet. Nakamura opened up with a rare combination, but Morono slipped underneath and returned a left and right hook. As the third round progressed, it was Morono controlling the octagon and pushing Morono backward. An elbow from Morono cut up Nakamura’s face and blood started to pour everywhere. It was Nakamura’s body kicks that were the most damaging aspect of the fight.
Alex Morono vs Keita Nakamura
Nakamura’s patience and composure was extremely effective, but not the most entertaining of styles. A significant moment of the fight occurred in round three when Morono opened up a cut on Nakamura. Outside of that, Nakamura was just landing the more powerful strikes throughout the contest, whereas Morono was trying to land more often.
Fight rating: 48/100
Nakamura’s experience was on display tonight. While he used to fight at a faster pace and go for the kill, these days he is more concerned with getting the victory no matter the means. He sat back and waited for Morono all three rounds before punishing the body with well-timed kicks. His takedowns were well-timed, but he was unable to keep the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on the mat.
He was outmatched by a patient counter striker who didn’t try and trade with him. Morono excels when an opponent wants to bite back, but Nakamura remained calm enough to pick at only the safest striking opportunities. Morono was hesitant to unload with combinations even when Nakamura had been backed into the octagon.