Featherweight Diego Nunes survived a couple of hard right hands from Manny Gamburyan to grind out another decision win at UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. Nunes used his superior Muay Thai striking to hurt Gamburyan with kicks to the leg and body and used his wrestling skills to fend off Gamburyan's repeated take down attempts.
The win should move Nunes another step up the featherweight ladder. Going into the bout he was ranked as the #6 featherweight in the world in the December USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings. Nunes trains with UFC FW champ Jose Aldo at Brazil's Nova Uniao camp so that may limit his potential for growth in the division.
Gamburyan entered the fight at #13 but the loss is his second straight in the UFC. Gamburyan earned a title shot against Aldo in the WEC, before that organization was absorbed by the UFC, but hasn't won a fight since. I'd put the chances that Gamburyan gets cut around 50%.
Manny blamed the loss on a shoulder injury early in the first round.
"I can't really take anything away from this. It was a really close fight. Unfortunately I hurt my shoulder early on, the same one I hurt in UFC 135 and I could only use one hand. He's a tough fighter, and a good one, and you can't fight against him with just one arm. I give him props, he did a good job. I was done," Gamburyan said after the fight.
Nunes improves his UFC record to 2-1 and improves to 6-2 overall in Zuffa's featherweight division. His UFC 131 loss to Kenny Florian will probably keep him out of the title picture until he picks up another win or two. What hurts him even worse is his unbroken record of 8 straight decisions with the organization.
Nunes, despite his striking skills and repertoire of flashy spinning kicks and punches, just hasn't shown himself to be an exciting fighter while with the organization. He's racking up the wins to stay in the divisional picture but is doing little or nothing to excite fans or build his name.
"I'm very happy with the victory tonight. Manny Gamburyan can take a lot of punishment because I hit him with a lot. This just motivates me to come back and be better, I want to come out and keep getting better and better every time. It motivates me to train harder and keep working hard. I have some room for improvement and I'll work hard," Nunes said after the fight.