A historic card from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday featured a pivotal bout in the UFC’s flyweight division on the FS1 preliminary card between No. 5-ranked Wilson Reis (21-6) and Ulka Sasaki (19-3-2), who competed for the second time of his career at 125 pounds.
Reis was recently scheduled to challenge for the flyweight division’s title against pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson. However, ‘Mighty Mouse’ pulled out of the bout due to an undisclosed injury. He took on UFC newcomer Hector Sandoval at UFC 201 instead and won the fight via first round submission with a rear-naked choke.
Sasaki made the drop down to 125 pounds after two consecutive losses at bantamweight, and won his flyweight debut against Willie Gates with a second round submission via rear-naked choke. Now Sasaki looked to propel himself into top contention at flyweight with a win over Reis.
In a thin 125-pound division, the winner of this bout could’ve land himself in a title eliminator bout or possible immediate title shot.
The first round kicked off with both men picking up where they left off at the previous night’s weigh-ins, right in each other’s face and aggressive. After exchanging a few good strikes Sasaki landed a nice right upper cut and followed up with a right hook. Reis took the fight to the ground and threatened to take Sasaki’s back, but Sasaki was able to get the fight back on the feet.
Reis once again took the fight to the ground and landed some nice ground-and-pound for the final minute of the round, seemingly taking it with his ground control.
Reis gets the fight down to the ground early but Sasaki once again gets back to his feet. After a brief scramble Reis is once again able to get the bout to the ground and establish dominant position. The Brazilian smoothly worked his way to his counterpart?s back and began to threaten the rear-naked choke.
For the majority of the round Reis attempted to lock in the rear-naked choke but Sasaki was able to stand back up once again. With seconds left in the round Reis gets yet another takedown before time expires.
Sasaki was able to capitalize on Reis, who appeared to be a little winded. After connecting on a few shots, Sasaki was taken down by Reis once again. Sasaki was able to get back up and defend a few more takedown attempts, before quickly finding himself on Reis’ back after an insane scramble.
The round ended after Sasaki delivered a plethora of elbows to Reis’ head mixed in with some good punches, and the two embraced after the horn.
Judges’ Official Scorecard: Wilson Reis def. Ulka Susaki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
With another dominant win for Reis he makes a strong case for the next shot at Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight title.
With No. 1-ranked Joseph Benavidez also coming off of a good win that puts him in the title picture, perhaps a matchup between he and Reis is on the horizon.