Kevin Jousset has announced himself as a bona fide contender in the UFC’s welterweight division with a clinical striking performance in Las Vegas.

In his bout against Song Kenan, Jousset outlanded his Chinese counterpart 158 strikes to 88, landing 134 significant strikes to Kenan’s 62. By the end of the 15 minutes, the damage on Kenan’s face told the story, with Jousset claiming a clear unanimous decision win.

Jousset, who has been training in Auckland’s City Kickboxing gym since moving to New Zealand in 2019, made a statement in his win over a dangerous and more experienced fighter, backing up his first-round submission win on UFC debut in September.

The 30-year-old originally from Bordeaux in France has a background in judo, but it was his striking that dictated the fight. Holding a reach advantage over Kenan, who went into the fight with a 20-7 record and wins in three of his last five UFC bouts, Jousset worked well behind his jab, made a big impact with his leg kicks, and froze Kenan with his feints; picking his moments of when to attack well.

It was one way traffic in the first round as Jousset was finding a home with his jab frequently while Kenan seemed lost with when to attack.

Kenan needed to close the distance in order to have his best chance of landing something of substance on the Frenchman, but when he did, Jousset was able to clinch up and get some short shots away before the two separated.

Song had more success in the second and third rounds, landing some good shots of his own, opening up a cut under Jousset’s right eye, but Jousset seemed unfazed and consistently fired back.

While there was nothing overly adventurous about his approach, it was a clinical performance from Jousset, who fought to the game plan and claimed 30-27 scores all all three scorecards.

Kenan has been something of a litmus test for rising prospects in the past couple of years with all three judges to improve his professional record to 10-2 and will look to carry his momentum on into 2024.

Christopher Reive joined the Herald sports team in 2017, bringing the same versatility to his coverage as he does to his sports viewing habits.

2023-12-10T04:06:51Z dg43tfdfdgfd