Deron Winn scored an impressive unanimous decision win in his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 153 — also known as UFC at ESPN+ 12 — at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina Saturday night.
The judges scored the middleweight (185-pound) opening event 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 for Winn against Eric Spicely, the third announced opponent for the former two-time junior college wrestling champ, who took the fight less than a week ago.
The Winn-Spicely bout was impressive for a number of reasons:
In its live play-by-play coverage, Sherdog.com declared, “What a fight, one of the best fights of the year so far.”
“Eric Spicely vs. Deron Winn in a middleweight bout opened up the card with fireworks …” is how MMAnews.com opened its coverage of the first-of-the-evening match.
“These two fighters went after it for three straight rounds of hard-hitting action …”
“The card sure started off with a bang,” according to BloodyElbow.com. “Eric Spicely came in on six days of notice to fight Deron Winn, and they went to war. Winn won all three rounds, but they threw an absolute ton of strikes and both put on a great performance. If you didn’t see the card, this is the fight you should go back and watch.”
If that weren’t enough, MMAjunkie.com had plenty of positive things to say about the winner:
“Deron Winn is certainly an intriguing prospect — an undefeated record and the full endorsement of UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will do that for you. At just 5-foot-6, Winn is certainly a unique type in the middleweight division, and his elite wrestling background gives him an incredible base of skills from which to grow …
“Winn showed plenty of positives. The power in his punches is palpable. Eric Spicely deserves all the credit in the world for not wilting in the face of the attacks. Winn’s pressure was relentless, rarely taking a step back. And the fight was one heck of a way to start the night, setting the tone for a fun night and earning Winn and Spicely $50,000 for the evening’s ‘Fight of the Night.'”
“Winn didn’t flash his wrestling skills, but there’s really no question whether or not those exist. Instead, he said he made a conscious decision to try and entertain the fans, electing to just duke it out on the feet … Otherwise, the takeaways seem to show Winn is going to matter in this division — short legs or not.”
Here’s what the two-time NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) wrestling champ for St. Louis Community College, Meramec, said on Facebook this weekend:
“I moved to 6-0 tonight and 1-0 in the @ufc it was an incredible night in this journey of mine. So much work goes on behind the scenes of all this. I got the fight of the night bonus and that makes things so much sweeter. Thank you everybody so much for the support. I have an unbelievable team and support system that helps me every step of the way. I love you guys and all I wanna do is get better to show you how great I can actually be. We are just scratching the surface.. all love on this end.”
With the victory, Winn improves his professional record to 6-0 overall, and 1-0 in UFC since signing in late December 2018. Spicely falls to 12-5.