PBC on ESPN live coverage kicks off at 10 p.m. ET.
Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.
Hugo Ruiz vs. Julio Ceja
Round 1Ceja comes right out and tosses a series of jabs. Ruiz is coy, sizing up his foe. Ceja continues with his jab, though he can’t land anything clean yet. Ruiz flicks his own jab out there as well, backing up and trying to set a trap. Ruiz sticks Ceja with a few straight lefts to the body but misses with a right upstairs. Very cautious approach for both. Ruiz tags him with a nice uppercut on the inside but he suffers a cut near his right eye from a clash of heads. Double jab by Ruiz ends the round. 10-9 Ruiz.
Round 2Ruiz misses a fierce left hook as soon as the round starts. Ceja is looking to force his way inside behind the jab, but he keeps running into his taller foe’s leads. Ruiz pops him with a lead left hook but his follow-up hook misses. Nice counter left hook to the head by Ceja moments later. Ceja is increasing his punch output with a minute left, but he’s not tagging Ruiz cleanly. Beautiful jab snaps Ceja’s head back with 45 seconds left. Ceja lunges in with a right/left, but they are telegraphed and easily blocked. Left hook from Ruiz is blocked late, but he follows it with a straight right to the forehead at the bell. 10-9 Ruiz.
Round 3They come together in the center of the ring right away and trade rights to the head. Ceja continues to swing away, trying to force his opponent into a close-quarters brawl. Ruiz opts out of the agreement and backs off, re-establishing his jab. Ceja lands a glancing left hook, but he eats a clean overhand left in return. Ceja explodes with a four-punch combo but every one of them misses. Ceja leaps in with a left hook but again he telegraphs it. Huge counter left hook drops Ceja and he is hurt. He springs to his feet but he is in serious trouble with 40 seconds left. He backs into the ropes and Ruiz stalks him down. Ruiz doesn’t unload a barrage until a right hand clobbers him. Ceja sags into the ropes and Ruiz looks to end it. A big left and right to the head, but Ceja survives the round. 10-8 Ruiz.
Round 4Ceja comes out with the jab to start the frame but his legs are still a little gelatinous. Ceja eats a few jabs but comes back with a sweeping right/left. He misses them both and is rifled by another jab. Ruiz is remaining calm, picking his man apart from the outside. Ceja cracks him with a left hook to the head and then one to the body. They trade hard rights to the head, but Ruiz doubles his up; the second one hurts Ceja. Lead left to the face again by Ruiz with 40 seconds left. Ceja is tough and he appears to have cleared his head completely now. They trade some decent leather at the bell. 10-9 Ruiz.
Round 5Ruiz digs a left/right Ceja’s intestines as soon as the fifth starts. Ceja leaves a droopy right hand out too long and is popped by a counter left over the top. Ceja is more active early, throwing shots upstairs and down, but there’s not much behind any of them. Ruiz is patient, countering when he needs to. Ceja goes with another telegraphed left hook; it misses by two feet. Huge counter left hook to the chin floors Ruiz. He lands flat on his back and struggles to his feet. Ruiz sags into the ropes and Ceja chases after him. He unleashes a fury of hell to the head and body; all Ruiz can do is cover up. Big right to the head and left to the body doubles Ruiz over, who now stumbles into the corner. Ceja is relentless with his bombardment and finally referee Raul Caiz has no choice but to pull him off.
The Official ResultJulio Ceja def. Hugo Ruiz via TKO at 2:34 of the fifth round
Round 1Santa Cruz meets Mares in the center of the ring and they immediately swing for the fences. They clinch and continue to swing away. They split up but return right into each other, both gunning for the knockout. Santa Cruz complains about rabbit punches and then regroups. Santa Cruz tags him with a mean right and then another. Mares comes right back after him. The intensity ebbs a little as they catch their breath. Mares charges in with a right to the body but he eats a left for his effort. They trade seriously leather again, with Mares landing a hard right to the ear. They clinch but continue to rip into each other. They stand forehead-to-forehead, where Mares rifles off a series of right uppercuts. Nice right to the head by Santa Cruz late. Left hook by Santa Cruz is met with two overhand rights by Mares. Awesome action. 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 2Santa Cruz storms out with two rights to the face. Mares charges right in but eats another right. Mares continues to dig his way inside and digs to the body. Mares misses with a right and is nailed by a counter right from the taller Leo. They take a breather and jab a few times a minute in. They exchange lefts to the head and body. Another right by Santa Cruz but mares retaliates with a left/right. Mares backs away as Santa Cruz tags him a few times with the jab. They tear into each other’s bodies with a minute left. Santa Cruz cracks him with a loopy right but Mares fires back with a flurry. Santa Cruz welcomes it and trades with him. They go toe-to-toe at for the final 10 seconds. 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 3The action picks up right where they left off. They tear into each other in the center of the ring. Nice left hook by Santa Cruz but Mares is right there with the right and then some shots to the ribs. Mares charges right into his chest and slugs away. Santa Cruz laughs as Mares clinches him along the ropes. Mares backs off and tastes a few decent jabs. Santa Cruz pops him with a jab when Mares misses a right uppercut from too far. Nice overhand right by Abner with a minute left. They clash heads and Mares is cut on his forehead. Two lefts to the body and then a right to the head by Mares late. They again stand in the pocket and go toe-to-toe again for the final 15 seconds. Mares got the better of the exchanges. 10-9 Mares.
Round 4Santa Cruz cracks him with a right uppercut but mares fires back with a left hook to the forehead. Mares rattles off a flurry to the body and then a few upstairs. Santa Cruz answers with a double right and left to the head. Mares backs off a little and allows Santa Cruz to jab him, but only briefly. They again trade some nasty leather in the center of the ring, but nothing crushing lands. Again, another wild exchange at center ring, with both landing to the head and body. Santa Cruz continues to stalk Mares down and lands a few shots, but they clinch. Santa Cruz is warned for clinching with 45 seconds left. Mares is starting to box more as he’s moving away and darting in and out. 10-9 Mares.
Round 5Santa Cruz charges right at Mares and unloads a quick blizzard to the head and body. Mares withstands it and fires back. Mares decides to back off and moves to his left. Now his right and Santa Cruz is just following him. Santa Cruz clocks him with a loopy right to the jaw, but Mares storms back with a right of his own. Santa Cruz is slowly stalking him down now, trying to make Mares commit first. They clinch briefly and then split up. They go to the body viciously with 70 seconds left and Santa Cruz takes a deep breath. Mares triples the jab but they all fall short by a few inches. Santa Cruz is tagged by a right hand mid-flurry but he takes it well. 10-9 Mares.
Round 6Santa Cruz pops him with a right/left to the head. Mares darts in but misses with his flurry. Mares lands two decent jabs but is hit with a lead right. Mares again gets inside and they clinch. Mares isn’t moving like he was in the previous rounds; he’s charging in and trying to maul Leo. Nice jab/straight right to the face by Santa Cruz with 75 seconds left. Jab, jab, jab by Leo, he has suddenly taken control of the frame. Mares lands a right but he has to walk through a forest of jabs to do so. A right to the head by Mares lands right after the bell. 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 7Mares storms out of his corner and pins Santa Cruz into the ropes until they clinch. Santa Cruz is trying to separate himself, but Mares has turned into a leech. Jack Reiss warns them both for clinching. Finally, they open up their arsenal and drill each other with multi-punch combos. Santa Cruz nails him with a jab and then a right/left. Mares tries to get inside but he eats another right. Toe-to-toe once again in the center of the ring but it lasts only briefly. Santa Cruz is stalking Mares down again and gets drilled by a powerful right hand. Mares clinches. Nice left hook by Santa Cruz late but Mares answers with a couple of shots at the bell. 10-9 Mares.
Round 8Mares comes right after his foe per the norm and slugs away. Santa Cruz obliges and tears into the smaller man’s body. Santa Cruz spins out and lands a nice left hook, forcing Mares to clinch. Mares lunges forward but he is clipped by a jab and left hook. Mares continues to try and brawl on the inside but Leo ties him up. Big lead right to the head from Santa Cruz snaps Mares’ head back, his best punch in a few rounds. Mares lands a right cross but Santa Cruz answers with a harder right uppercut. Santa Cruz nasty left hook rocks Mares, who backs into the ropes. They unload on each other until they separate. 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 9Mares’ left eye is swollen badly to start the round, but he’s able to avoid the two missiles coming his way. Powerful jab/right to the face by Santa Cruz and then Leo goes to the body. Mares returns the favor with a combo to the body, but his follow-up shots upstairs miss. Mares misses a right hand coming in and walks into a counter left hook. Mares looks like he’s tiring out and misses three lunging hooks from way too far outside. Santa Cruz goes back to the jab and then comes with the overhand right. Mares clinches again. Double jab/right cross/jab from Santa Cruz, who is in total control at the moment. Counter left hook/straight right to the nose by Santa Cruz elicits an explosion from Mares, who forces another toe-to-toe affair until the bell. 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 10Santa Cruz moves to his left, firing off a plethora of jabs. Mares bobs and weaves, trying to get inside. Mares lunges in for an exchange but Leo tags him with two decent left hooks. Mares eats a few jabs but answers with a nice right up top. Santa Cruz is keeping away with the jab, looking to spring a trap on Abner. Mares’ right eye is swelling quickly with 70 seconds left. Santa Cruz’ jab can’t miss late in the frame. Nice right/left to the face by Leo and Mares is bleeding from around his left eye. Loopy left hook lands cleanly for Mares, his best punch in a while. Mares is desperate late, trying to create war. Reiss tells Mares that the cut is from a headbutt and, “to relax.” 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 11Entering the championship rounds, the fight is likely hanging in the balance for either man. Mares comes out quickly, but he stops short of going crazy when he swallows a few jabs. Mares clinches and then shoves Santa Cruz into the ropes, but he’s warned by Reiss. Mares is trying his damnedest to get inside but Leo continues to tie him up. Santa Cruz digs a few shots to the gut, but Mares is suffocating him. Reiss warns Mares to let him go a few times a minute in. They are chest to chest, ripping uppercuts to the body. Reiss warns Mares again for holding with 70 seconds left. They continue to fight from the clinch, trading blows downstairs. Santa Cruz tags him with a lead right and then a jab. Nice combo upstairs from Leo, who just round the round. They again swing for the fences briefly before the bell but nothing lands. 10-9 Santa Cruz.
Round 12This war can literally go in any direction: Mares, Santa Cruz or draw. Whoever wins this round most likely wins the battle. They meet in the center of the ring and let their hands fly. Huge straight right from Santa Cruz snaps Mares’ head all the way back, by far his best punch of the fight. Mares walks right through it, though, and tears into his foe. Nice left/right to the head by Mares, followed by a hellacious flurry to the ribs. Santa Cruz counters with another left/right to the head. Santa Cruz connects with another lead right, which elicits a wild exchange along the ropes. Left hook by Abner is blocked with a minute left. Left to the head and then a slick right to the jaw from Santa Cruz. Mares clinches and then tries to brawl. They continue to clinch. The crowd is on their feet with 20 seconds left. Mares backs off, resets is feet and goes toe-to-toe with his rival for the final 10 seconds, both taking as good they give. 10-9 Santa Cruz (116-113 Santa Cruz).
The Official ResultLeo Santa Cruz def. Aber Mares via Majority Decision (114-114, 117-111, 117-111) 3:00, R12
« Previous ShoBox Weigh-in Results: Bryan, Rossy Make it Official Next Video: Andre Berto Open Workout »