Dustin Jacoby (Phil Lambert/GLORY Kickboxing)

UFC Nashville’s Dustin Jacoby: ‘I’ll Beat Him to The Punch’

MMA judging has been fairly egregious as of late. What is seeming to be a worsening problem, fighters are too often ending up on the wrong side of the scorecards. In Mar. 2023, fans saw Cory Sandhagen absolutely dominate Marlon “Chito” Vera for a full five rounds to end up winning by split decision. In Oct. 2022, fellow Colorado fighter Dustin Jacoby went a full three rounds with Khalil Rountree in Las Vegas, and while nearly every outlet had Jacoby winning the fight, two judges gave the fight to Rountree. These are merely two examples of the dozens and dozens of bad decisions just in the UFC in the past year.

Jacoby is a veteran fighter, basically, on the third leg of a storied career that started in MMA, moved to GLORY Kickboxing, and now back to MMA. Going into the Rountree fight, he was on a nine-fight unbeaten streak, with the last eight happening in the Octagon. Needless to say, the split decision was a slap in the face. His next fight was against Azamat Murzakanov in Apr. 2023, and that was a unanimous decision loss he really felt was fair.

“The Rountree fight, obviously, I thought that I had won,” Jacoby told Combat Press. “You know, 14 of 16 media outlets that covered the fight thought that I won. It was a very tough fight. Rountree’s good. But, I thought I got dubbed by the judges, unfortunately. I had to pick up, move on. And, then, the Azamat fight, man, his speed just really threw me off. He was super fast. He was a smaller light heavyweight, was super fast, and, you know, you just got the better of me that night.


“It’s like, how do you measure damage? Like, [Rountree] landed some hard hits, but I was never waffled. I, for sure, was never rocked, and I hit him twice as much as he hit me, so I was scoring damage. Is it because he hits hard, or because I hit him more? I don’t know. I felt like, at the end of that fight, it was two guys. We shook hands, we locked eyes, and I think, right there, it was clear that I won, and he had lost. We both felt that, and I think he received a gift when the judges announced the decision.”

Currently the UFC’s fifteenth-ranked light heavyweight, Jacoby, a member of the Factory X fight team and an avid golfer, has been around a long time. After almost 13 years as a professional fighter and hundreds of rounds of golf, he knows that it just isn’t always going to be his day. However, as he looks to get back in the win column, he has had his eyes set on his next opponent, Kennedy Nzechukwu.

Nzechukwu, like Jacoby, entered the UFC through the Contender Series, only two years earlier in 2018. Since then, the Nigerian fighter has gone 6-3 and is currently riding a three fight winning streak. All but one of his UFC wins was by finish, and one of his losses was a split decision, after he was deducted a point for repeated eye pokes. In just the last year, The “African Savage” scored TKO victories over Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba, and his last fight was a technical submission of Devin Clark. However hyped Nzechukwu currently is, “The Hanyak” welcomes the challenge.

“It’s a fight that I really liked,” Jacoby explained. “You know, he’s up-and-coming – a guy on the rise – and I really like the match-up. I think I match up well with him. I like fighting bigger guys, longer guys. I feel like I’m a little bit quicker, and I’ll beat him to the punch.

“I think that he stands tall, he’s got a wide base, so I really think my kickboxing will come into play. And, you know, my wrestling and ground game – I’ve always been pretty good at takedown defense and not getting stuck on the bottom, and I think this will be no different. The guy who is doing the takedown is the guy who gets more tired. I don’t think he’ll be able to take me down and control me. I think I’ll be able to avoid that and beat him to the punch.”

Jacoby vs. Nzechukwu serves as a feature fight on the main card of UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Font tonight at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. As Jacoby looks to get back to his winning ways, he would like to get an early stoppage, so he can get one more in by the end of 2023.

“I’d like to go in there and get a quick finish, so I can line something up for November, December – maybe Madison Square Garden or the end of the year show in Vegas.”

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Font airs live in its entirety on ESPN+ and ESPNstarting at 6 p.m. ET.