Antanas Jazbutis vs. Brad Wheeler
Time these men entered the cage the tone had been set for the evening with some superb bouts previously and this one followed suite. Wheeler quickly took the middle of the cage and started throwing the jab out; Jazbutis timed one to perfection, slipped it and pushed Wheeler against the cage. From there it was a real battle for position as both men tried to implement their gameplan upon the other. Jazbutis scored two takedowns but Wheeler popped straight back up both times, as Jazbutis looked for takedown number three he left his neck out and Wheeler locked onto it. Feeling he had the guillotine tight he pulled guard, unfortunately in doing so he lost the hold and the last 10 seconds of the bout saw Jazbutis on top landing hard punches straight to Wheeler’s head.
Jazbutis took the fight to the floor straight to the mat at the start of the second and sat in Wheeler’s guard looking to land more ground and pound. Wheeler wasn’t prepared to just take it though and was actively looking for something off his back. However each submission Wheeler attempted was met with brutal hammerfists from Jazbutis. Weathering those shots Wheeler made his way back to his feet and the pair clinched against the cage. With not a lot happening Howard Hughes separated the men and Wheeler landed three hard shots that saw Jazbutis clinch and take the fight against the cage once more. Wheeler looks for another guillotine and it looks tighter than the first, Wheeler drops to the mat once more and Jazbutis looks in trouble. However he guts it out and eventually frees himself and lands a big shot to Wheeler’s head right on the bell.
The third follows the same pattern as the second, Jazbutis goes straight to work in taking Wheeler to the floor, Wheeler is straight back to his feet but once more Jazbutis trips the Essex man back to the mat. Jazbutis is visibly growing as this fight goes on and is really landing some telling shots in Wheeler’s guard. It’s relentless from Jazbutis on top and he opens up cuts above Wheeler’s right eye and on the bridge of his nose. Blood is everywhere by now and Howard Hughes halts the fight to get the cuts checked. The medics give Wheeler the ok to resume and the fight restarts on the feet, Wheeler chases Jazbutis down looking to land the shot that will turn the tide, Jazbutis scores another takedown on the bell that Wheeler gets straight back up from. It’s probably three rounds to zero in Jazbutis’ favour now and Wheeler will need to rethink his gameplan from here on in.
Into the championship rounds and Jazbutis looks for the instant takedown once again but this once is defended and Wheeler is looking for the guillotine once more; Jazbutis uses it to his advantage however and deposits Wheeler on the mat once again. Wheeler keeps moving though and works his way back up to his feet. The men clinch against the fence and Wheeler is busy trying to work to Jazbutis’ back. The Trojan Free Fighters man uses the fence to stop Wheeler getting his hooks in, as they separate Wheeler lands a big knee that sends Jazbutis reeling, he follows that up with another to the chest as Jazbutis is grounded against the cage. In my head I was seeing a similar ending to that of Silva vs. Sonnen II but tonight Jazbutis was lying down for no man. He exploded off the cage and scored yet another takedown and saw the round out hammering yet more shots down upon the grounded Wheeler.
It’s do or die for the bloodied Wheeler now and he stuffs Jazbutis’ takedown attempt and starts looking for one of his own. The men clinch against the cage once more and Wheeler drags Jazbutis on top of him as he looks for a way to finish the fight. Jazbutis stays calm and turns into Wheeler and exits the danger back to his feet, Wheeler meets him in the middle and is looking to land the fight changing shot. However Jazbutis refuses to be drawn into that and takes it down once more, time is running down and Jazbutis is content to stay in Wheeler’s guard landing shot after shot until the bell sounds.
What a fight, that was the best Antanas Jazbutis I’ve ever seen and he will rightfully be crowned the Staydown FC Lightweight Champion after a superb performance.
Winner: Antanas Jazbutis via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44) Round 5, 5:00