By Alex Behunin
Joe Solecki had yet to taste defeat in his UFC career, which had Jared Gordon looking to spoil the parade at UFC Vegas 38 on Saturday.
The Fight Night event slotted Solecki vs. Gordon in as its featured preliminary bout. Solecki, a 2019 Contender Series graduate, had won three straight inside the octagon and six overall. Gordon had won his last two, making this bout something to look forward to. It also saw Gordon returning to lightweight after a stint at 145lbs.
Both fighters took the center of the octagon after a glove touch. Solecki feinted a couple of takedowns to start the fight, and then landed one. Solecki controlled Gordon and moved him to the fence, then sneakily trapped his arm. That led to some Solecki ground and pound, but Gordon wall-walked up successfully. Solecki got right back to controlling Gordon and brought him to the fence once again. Solecki took Gordon’s back and started manipulating Gordon side to side, working for a rear-naked choke. With one minute left in the round, Gordon got back to his feet, prompting Solecki to jump for a guillotine. Gordon defended the submission and ended on top of Solecki, where the round ended.
Solecki started round two with another takedown attempt, but Gordon defended. Solecki put Gordon against the fence, where he ate a few elbows that got his attention. After about two minutes against the fence, Gordon finally escaped, but then Solecki finally landed the takedown. Gordon reversed the position and ended up in Solecki’s guard. Not much action for Gordon, but he controlled Solecki and ended the round on top.Ninety seconds into round three, and it had been a kickboxing affair between the fighters, both landing some low kicks. Gordon finally shot for a takedown, but Solecki defended. Two minutes left in the fight, Gordon landed a takedown, but Solecki got right back to his feet. Gordon landed a 1-2 and ate a counter right hand. Gordon put Solecki against the fence for 20 seconds, and then they got back to the center. Both men exchanged punches to end the fight.
A close fight resulting in a split decision. Gordon was successful in his return to lightweight, and becomes the first man to at Solecki in UFC.
Official Result: Jared Gordon defeated Joe Solecki by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)