By Ben Fowlkes
For two and a half rounds, Emmett (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) dipped and dodged as he ripped Tuck (9-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to the body and head, with only a grisly finger injury slowing him down late in the fight. Still the work he put in early was enough to edge out Tuck on the scorecards, resulting in a split-decision win for Emmett by scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28.
The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 87 event at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on FOX Sports 1.
For the first two rounds of the fight, Emmett seemed to have Tuck mesmerized by his movement. He slipped effortlessly away from Tuck’s offense, firing back with a diverse array of punches and kicks from the outside, zinging Tuck with body blows and jabs and then drifting easily away from attempted counters.
Emmett’s speed and movement seemed to frustrate Tuck, who had a hard time tracking him down and only walked into stiff, straight punches when he charged in recklessly.
Heading into the third, Emmett seemed to be in control of the fight, but as Tuck threw a spinning wheel kick midway through the round it caught Emmett’s outstretched left hand. He glanced down at a gnarled finger only briefly, then continued with the fight, but it soon became apparent that his left hand had been rendered useless.
The bout was halted once so the referee could question Emmett about the injury, but after he voiced a strong desire to continue the fight restarted, now with Tuck on the offensive against an essentially one-handed opponent. Tuck pressed that advantage for all it was worth, attacking Emmett with body kicks and overhands, leaving him battered and in full retreat in the final seconds.
But Emmett survived the onslaught and made it to the scorecards, two of which had him as the victor. After the decision was announced, he held up his bloody left hand to the camera, showing what appeared to be a compound fracture on his left ring finger.
“I feel great besides the third round when he caught me on the hand with the kick,” Emmett said. “I felt good in the first and second rounds. It was just that one moment in the third, and from then I had to fight with one hand. I’m excited to be here, though, and I really enjoyed the fight. I took this fight on four days’ notice, so just wait until I get a full camp – then you will see what I can do.”
With the win in his UFC debut, Emmett maintains his perfect professional record. Tuck has now lost two of his last three.