Aaron Simpson made a successful welterweight debut by grinding out a dominant decision victory over Kenny Robertson on the UFC on Fuel TV 4 event. The former Arizona State wrestling standout used a strong top game to control Robertson on the mat over the course of three rounds.
What Fans Will Take Away From This Fight
Simpson was making a debut at a new weight class and looked like a better fighter tonight. Yes, he brings the same skill set as he did at middleweight, but Simpson didn't gas out like he has in previous outings.
Simpson didn't secure the finish but looked very impressive.
What We Learned From Kenny Robertson
Robertson was making a return to the Octagon after picking up a victory last October via spinning-back fist. He attempted to repeat history numerous times but ultimately, found himself against the cage or on the canvas.
He was able to show off some slick moves in a handful of grappling scrambles, but Simpson's grinding pace obviously slowed Robertson down.
What We Learned From Aaron Simpson
Fans were expecting to see a different fighter tonight when Simpson stepped into the cage, and you could argue that Simpson looked different while being much the same as before.
Simpson had improved conditioning and didn't relent with his wrestling but still lacked the striking prowess to avoid being put on wobbly legs at one point in the contest. Simpson's wrestling is obviously his strong point, but it'd be nice to see him evolve more in the striking/submission aspect of grappling as well.
Where Do the Fighters Go From Here
Simpson looked great at 170-pounds, but he's also 37 years old, and a title run isn't likely at this point in his career. Add that to the large number of strong grapplers at welterweight, and Simpson likely won't make a lot of noise in the division.
As for Robertson, he could find himself on the outside of the Octagon looking in as it only took one loss for the fighter to be handed his walking papers before. He still sports a good record at 11-2, so finding ways to make it back to the big leagues shouldn't be an issue if Robertson gets the pink slip.
If Robertson does remain in the UFC, he hopefully won't face off against another Division-I wrestler in his next contest.
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