The featherweight roster for the 2021 season includes plenty of new faces, including talented UFC veterans Sungbin Jo (9-2) and Tyler Diamond (12-1). Jo entered the league as the first fighter to represent South Korea and had finished all of his nine career wins. Diamond was a finalist on The Ultimate Fighter and has trained with two-time featherweight king Lance Palmer.
A massive leg kick from Diamond knocked Jo to the mat early. Jo answered with a right hand to wobble Diamond momentarily. Jo landed a big knee up the middle as Diamond struggled to close the distance. Both fighters connected with right hands before Diamond caught a head kick from the South Korean and took the fight to the ground. Diamond tried to move to the back, but Jo was able to stand. Diamond stayed glued to Jo and dragged him to the mat again. He struggled to hold Jo down and eventually Jo was able to separate. Diamond attacked with more low kicks and the lead leg of Jo turned red. Jo countered a kick with a big right hand with a minute left in the round and the pair exchanged heavy punches. Diamond closed the round with a takedown.
Jo used his reach to stay on the outside early in the second frame. He landed a heavy low kick of his own as Diamond struggled to connect with his punches. The jab of Jo frustrated Diamond, as he could not navigate the length of the Korean. Diamond shot for a takedown, but Jo stuffed it. A calf kick from Diamond landed flush and Jo stumbled hard. Diamond clipped Jo with a right hand before changing levels, but was again stuffed. Jo delivered a knee in the round’s waning seconds, but Diamond used it to power into a takedown.
Round three opened with each fighter looking to land a spinning backfist, but neither was able to connect. A right hand from Jo caught Diamond flush and it hurt him badly. Jo flurried with a knee and punches. Diamond tried to fire back, but ate another heavy shot in the process. A desperation takedown from Diamond allowed him to recover from the onslaught. Diamond stayed heavy from inside the guard of Jo. A series of heavy right hands from Diamond rocked Jo as Diamond was able to tie up the left wrist along the fence. Diamond sold out in the final minute, dropping heavy punches, but Jo survived to see the scorecards.
The judges at cageside rewarded Diamond for his efforts, handing him the unanimous nod and three points in the featherweight standings.
Tyler Diamond def. Sungbin Jo by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)