BRISBANE, Australia – Nam Phan‘s bantamweight debut didn’t go exactly as planned, as he lost a three-round war to Takeya Mizugaki. However, the “Fight of the Night”-worthy performance may have saved his spot on the UFC roster.
The bantamweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 33 event at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Australia. It aired on FOX Sports 2 following a single prelim on MMAjunkie and ahead of the main card on FOX Sports 1.
Both fighters focused on their boxing to start, and the result was a few impressive exchanges. Mizugaki’s left hook was especially sharp, but he kept Phan guessing by mixing in a takedown, as well. Phan wouldn’t stay pinned to the floor, but he ate several big punches as he returned to the feet and pulled away.
Phan continued to stand firm in the pocket as the round played out, but Mizugaki was the sharper striker, and he landed heavy leather to both the body and head.
In the second, Mizugaki continued his assault, again using a powerful left hand to rock Phan and then following up with a dizzying barrage of strikes that seemed destined to end the fight. Yet somehow, it didn’t. A gritty Phan survived the onslaught and even started to establish a little offense as Mizugaki understandably slowed after the early offensive output.
Phan entered the third round like a man who realized the importance of a big round, and he staggered Mizugaki with some big punches in the early going. But a comeback wasn’t in the cards, as Mizugaki reset and again established his strength in the striking department, landing a few solid shots while cruising to the final bell.
In the end, Mizugaki was awarded a unanimous-decision nod, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-28.
With the result, Mizugaki (19-7-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) now boasts a four-fight winning streak. Phan (18-11 MMA, 2-5 UFC) is just 1-3 in his past four fights but continues to impress with his durability and willingness to engage.