Li Jingliang made his second fight in the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 54 against Nordine Taleb in Canada on October 4, 2014. The Leech showed off his ever-improving game with active and smart stand up with well-timed shoots and throws.
However, twice his opponent was able to get him to the canvas and keep him there. While he did next to no damage there, the fact that Taleb was in top position coupled with a crisp jab that managed to close Li’s eye seemed to be the deciding factors for the judges.
Play by Play:
Round 1. Li looks to take the center of the cage and bring the fight to Taleb. Taleb is cautious while Li picks up the combinations and goes in with them, including mixing in kicks. Taleb’s jabs do some work as he searches for his distances. Taleb body kicks but Li grabs it and looks for the takedown, Taleb balances. Taleb gets a clinch but it’s Li with the work inside and he grabs Taleb’s head to score a throw! Taleb gets right up. Li goes in with another combo and Taleb counters with a shot that lands, and counters with a leg kick on Li’s next foray inside. Li with another leg kick. Li starts throwing wide and Taleb starts to land his jab. Li shoots, Taleb stuffs it. Li lands a right! Taleb shoots for a big double leg at the end of the round.
Round two. Li comes out still willing to take the center and attack, but now Taleb stays in the pocket and trades for a while. Li starts varying his attacks with level changes, Taleb backs off. Taleb lands a right but doesn’t faze Li. Taleb slips a jab, circles out, comes back in for a double leg against the fence. Li defends so Taleb picks him up and slams Li! Li recovers guard but Taleb passes to side, Li takes the opportunity to stand out. Li lands two take downs in a row, finally taking the back at the end of the round.
Round 3. Taleb rushes in to the center, Li again cuts him off and forces him to sit back. Nice jab lands. Li now picking single shots, looking a little more focused on something big. Taleb gets in a counter. Li keeps landing and throws leg kicks too. Taleb with a leg kick. Li starts to get fancy with his fists and Taleb hooks him for it. But Li continues with his fast hands. Li shoots and works for the takedown. Taleb defends, Li tries for the single. Taleb reverses and goes for the double, Li counters by a waist grab. Li is forced to turn into guard and he holds on as Taleb tries to position his head against the cage. Taleb lands an elbow.
Nordine Taleb defeats Li Jingliang by Split Decision 29, 28, 29, 28-29, 30-27