Kai Kamaka III vs. Tony Kelley
UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3 | 2020.08.15 | Las Vegas, NevadaDiscussion
PRELIMINARY CARD | FEATHERWEIGHT · 145 LBS | MMA
Kai Kamaka III defeats Tony Kelley via 3 Round Decision
#57 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2020
UFC 252 Fight of the Night
Round 1 – Touch of gloves to start the night, and the two go straight to work after. Punches traded in rapid fashion to open. Kelley adding in some kicks, as well, but Kamaka answering over the top. Quick pace in the early going. They finally settle a bit after the opening minute. Kamaka with a quick clinch, but he separates quickly. Kamaka getting the best of the exchanges right now, and he mixes in a knee. He scores with a stiff jab. Kelley on the back foot right now. Kamaka lands a right up top and then fires another to the body. Kelley rushes forward, but Kamaka moves away with solid footwork. Kamaka shoots inside. They fo to the floor, but Kelley controls the neck. Kamaka backs up to the feet and continues teeing off. Kelley engaging, but Kamaka has the volume. Another takedown from Kamaka. Kelley stands up but takes some punches to the body before the end of the round. MMA Junkie gives it to Kamaka, 10-9.
Round 2 – Kamaka gets to the center right away and resumes his attack. Kelley on the outside and throwing when he can, but the volume remains on the other side. Kamaka with another rip to the body and then a few punches up top right behind. Kelley with a brief slip, but he pops back up. Kamaka continues to stick the body, and it’s clearly having an effect. Kelley lands one punch but eats three. Still, he’s not going away. Kelley’s nose bloodied, but he’s still pressing. Kamaka changes levels and drags him to the floor. Kelley gets to a seated position against the fence. He works up to a kneeling position as Kamaka tries to control. Kelley stands, but Kamaka staying in tight right now. Kamaka changes levels and drags his opponent down once again. Kelley stands though and gets off the fence. They’re trading in the final minute. Kelley gets a Thai clinch and scores with a few knees. Kamaka may be fading a bit. Still, MMA Junkie gives him the round, 10-9.
Round 3 – Kelley pushing like a man behind on the cards. He’s striking and having some success. Kelley tries to grab a guillotine and drop to guard. He misses it, and his corner immediately yells for him to get up. Kamaka working inside his opponent’s guard and happy to be there. He punches from the top. Kelley scoots his way to the fence and gets his back against it in a seated position. Kamaka pulls him away, so Kelley turns and stands. They’re back in the center and teeing off on each other. Kamaka continues to go to the body with success, but Kelley is definitely landing. Kamaka tries again to change levels, but Kelley sprawls against the fence and stays upright. He pushes away and creates space, and they go back to trading. Kelley lands a knee to the groin, and we get a stop. Could be valuable rest for Kamaka, but the shot certainly did land clean to the cup. About 90 seconds left on the restart. Kelley doesn’t immediately press. They trade punches, and Kelley lands a knee inside, as well. Now he turns up the volume. Hell of a start to the night. Both men busting each other up. Kamaka continues to beat up the body. They end on the feet. MMA Junkie gives the final round to Kelley, 10-9, but gives the fight to Kamaka, 29-28.