LAS VEGAS – No one doubted Jim Hettes’ skills, but many openly questioned whether he could show the same promise against proven big-show talent.
Those doubters likely will be silenced following the youngster’s dominant unanimous-decision victory over veteran featherweight and “The Ultimate Fighter 12″ semifinalist Nam Phan.
The fight kicked off the pay-per-view main card of UFC 141 and followed prelims on Facebook and Spike TV. It took place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Quite simply, the fight was all Hettes.
The 24-year-old jumped out to an early lead after slamming Phan to the mat and then dazing him with a dizzying barrage of punches from the top. Phan attempted to escape, but each time he created distance, Hettes poured on the punishment. Halfway through the round, though, Phan got to his feet, reset and regained his composure. The reprieve was short-lived, though. Hettes took him back to the mat and unloaded a barrage of punches to the head and body before trying an armbar that was cut short by the end of the round.
Badly bloodied from the lopsided first round, Phan was taken to the mat again early in the second. The onslaught then continued, and Phan took more heavy shots. He escaped to his feet a few times, but Hettes quickly closed the distance and continually put himself in dominant positions.
The third round offered little new. Hettes dominated the action from the top and continually poured on punishment with punches and elbows between submission attempts. Phan survived for the final horn, but he took a beating in the process.
In the end, the judges scored the lopsided fight 30-25, 30-25 and 30-26 for Hettes.
Hettes (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) keeps his perfect record intact but fails to stop a fight via submission for the first time in his two-and-a-half-year career. Phan (17-10 MMA, 1-3 UFC), meanwhile, falls to 2-5 in his past seven fights.
Up-to-the-fight UFC 141 results include:
Jim Hettes def. Nam Phan via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Ross Pearson def. Junior Assuncao via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Danny Castillo def. Anthony Njokuani via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Dong Hyun Kim def. Sean Pierson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jacob Volkmann def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Diego Nunes def. Manny Gamburyan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)