Disappointing the Florida fans who cheered the adopted home favorite throughout the close three-round battle, Augusto Sakai pulled out a split decision win (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Andrei Arlovski.
Sakai cut Arlovski with an eye poke as he defended a big jab, cross combo from the transplanted Russian a minute and a half into the fight, but the referee allowed the action to continue.
Sakai just missed on a couple of overhand rights, and then missed a spinning back fist as the first round continued. Sakai used his size advantage to push Arlovski into the cage, where they traded clinches. Arlovski was able to circle out and land a side kick as the first round ended.
Sakai came out aggressive in the second round, throwing a hard overhand and a kick. He then backed up Arlovski with a six-punch combo that barely missed the mark. A big overhand right from Sakai landed halfway through the second round but the former UFC heavyweight champion was able to counter with a chopping right.
Sakai then just missed on a jump knee before getting caught with a low blow that briefly stopped the action late in round 2. Arlovski started switching up landing punches to the body and overhands to the head as round 2 came to an end.
Arlovski, who trains at nearby American Top Team, complained about another eye poke from his brazilian opponent during a clinch against the cage early in round 3 but referee Dan Miragliotta again waved the action on. At the halfway mark of round 3 the action started to pick up, with both heavyweights landing hard punches.
Sakai went for single leg attempt against the cage but Arlovski was able to defend.
Arlovski pressed forward with punches and kicks as the fight came to an end.
Sakai improved to 2-0 in the UFC, while Arlovski is now winless in his last four fights.
— UFC (@ufc) April 28, 2019