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Gunnar Nelson has returned in spectacular fashion at UFC 189

The adopted Irishman submitted Brandon Thatch.

– Paul Dollery reports from Las Vegas

GUNNAR NELSON IS back in the win column.

The Icelandic welterweight returned from a nine-month lay-off tonight to defeat Brandon Thatch via submission at UFC 189 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Nelson, who’s a member of Ireland’s SBG team, dropped Thatch with a beautiful left-right combination early in the bout.

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At the 2:54 mark of the opening frame, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt locked on a rear-naked choke to return to winning ways after suffering the first loss of his career to Rick Story last October.

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Nelson received plenty of vocal support from the predominantly Irish crowd at the MGM Grand. Afterwards, he thanked the fans for their backing.

“I was throwing a few leg kicks and shots, trying to loosen up,” Nelson said. “When I caught him I moved in and kept the pressure. Eventually he opened up.

“He felt really good and moved well. The game plan is important, but with me, instincts take over and I’m just glad I was able to get the better of him.

“The fans here tonight were so amazing. My team is half Irish and they were out in full force tonight to support us. I definitely felt at home.”

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Paul Dollery

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