Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
The Brazilian, who trains alongside uncrowned UFC lightweight king Charles Oliveira, used his wrestling, top control, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu acumen to keep Hadley underneath him for a huge amount of time over three rounds, which resulted in a unanimous decision win. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Nascimento, who celebrated with a photo of his recently deceased father in his hand.
“I’m so happy for this moment,” Nascimento said. “I did this for my father, for my team. I need to change my timing on the floor, no playing on the back on the floor. I’m so happy for this moment.”
Some early striking exchanges led to a well-timed takedown from Nascimento, who then had to fight off a slick omoplata attempt from Hadley on the bottom. A scramble led to Nascimento regaining top position as he sought to maintain better control, but he was struggling to do much damage with Hadley constantly threatening to escape from the bottom.
When Hadley had a chance to reset on the feet, he began to get aggressive, but Nascimento fed him a steady diet of kicks to the legs and body. With Hadley attempting to close the distance, Nascimento was also able to time his takedowns, which continued to give the British fighter problems.
On the ground, Nascimento showed his superior strength as he kept Hadley locked down to prevent any further scrambles to break free.
Hadley finally showed signs of life with five minutes remaining as he came forward looking for the finish, and nearly snatched a guillotine choke after Nascimento shot an ill-advised takedown without any real setup. Hadley continued looking for submissions until Nascimento eventually scored a reversal, which put him back on top again.
Nascimento continued to show strong grappling skills while dropping some hard punches on Hadley with his ground-and-pound just before the final horn sounded.
The performance helped Nascimento earn his first UFC victory after dropping a close split decision in his debut, and now he’ll look to build some momentum in the flyweight division.