Maybe the pressure was too much for Jake Matthews Saturday night at UFC 193.
But after a rough first round, the 21-year-old from Melbourne showed why many believe he is a future champion, scoring a finish vs. Akbarh Arreola in front of his home crowd.
“I am always pushing myself,” he said. “I am getting better and showing the evolution of Australian martial arts.”
Matthews (9-1) improved to 3-1 inside the UFC, getting back on track after a May submission loss to James Vick ended his unbeaten run. He’s also bested Vagner Rocha and Dashon Johnson since signing with the promotion in 2014.
Following a rough opening four minutes vs. Arreola, Matthews found his game and went to work. He closed the first round strong and dominated the second five, leaving the Mexican with a bloody face.
“I could see it was pretty bad,” he said. “We’ve been working the elbows. I found the sweet spot (and went to work).”