Dustin Ortiz has made it more and more difficult to ignore him in the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight division.
The Nashville MMA rep pocketed a three-round unanimous decision against onetime Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Alexandre Pantoja in their pivotal UFC 220 prelim on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston. Ortiz (18-7, 7-5 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks across the board.
Pantoja (18-3, 2-1 UFC) controlled extended stretches of the 15-minute encounter, advancing to the back and threatening with submissions -- he had a stretched-out Ortiz in real danger with a neck crank at one point -- in the first and third rounds. However, Ortiz did far more damage on the feet and in the grappling exchanges, his efforts drawing favor from the judges.
Related » UFC 220 Round-by-Round Scoring
Bochniak Spoils Davis Debut
Incessant lateral movement and crisp punching combinations carried CES MMA veteran Kyle Bochniak to a unanimous decision over Brandon Davis in a three-round undercard tilt at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Bochniak (8-2, 2-2 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Davis (8-3, 0-1 UFC) struggled to find the Gloucester, Massachusetts, native with anything other than leg kicks. Bochniak sat down on multi-punch volleys, darted in and out with punches and mixed in a pair of first-round takedowns against the Alan Belcher protégé. The two men fought to a virtual stalemate in the clinch, and though Davis rallied late, it was not enough to alter the scorecards.
The defeat brought an end to Davis’ seven-fight winning streak.
Alhassan Uppercut Sleeps Homasi
Abdul Razak Alhassan knocked out American Top Team’s Sabah Homasi in the first round of their preliminary welterweight clash. Homasi (11-8, 0-3 UFC) hit the deck 3:47 into Round 1. It served as a rematch to a controversial UFC 218 confrontation that resulted in a technical knockout for Alhassan.
There was no disputing the outcome this time. Homasi enjoyed early success, connecting with a knee to the body, an uppercut in the clinch and an overhand right before delivering a takedown. After a questionable referee restart, Alhassan (9-1, 3-1 UFC) sent a devastating right uppercut crashing into his counterpart’s face, freezing him instantly. No follow-up shots were required.
Homasi has lost three fights in a row.
Arce Picks Apart Ige
Former two-division Ring of Combat champion Julia Arce extended his winning streak to six fights with a unanimous decision over Dan Ige in a three-round undercard scrap at 145 pounds. A fill-in for the injured Charles Rosa, Arce (14-2, 1-0 UFC) carried all three scorecards: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Ige (8-2, 0-1 UFC) whiffed on all 10 of his takedown attempts and found himself outgunned in the standup department. Arce picked apart the Hawaiian with a variety of strikes, from lead right hooks and stinging jabs to digging body shots and left uppercuts to the head. He stunned Ige with a right hook in the first round and again with a left uppercut in the third, making a strong first impression in his promotional debut.
The loss snapped a run of six straight wins for Ige.
Barzola Outpoints Replacement Bessette
“The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2” winner Enrique Barzola took another step forward in his development, as he captured a unanimous decision over Matt Bessette in a preliminary featherweight battle. All three judges sided with Barzola (14-3-1, 4-1 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
A short-notice replacement for Arnold Allen, Bessette (22-8, 0-1 UFC) fought well in spurts but simply could not stay upright with enough regularity to maintain his momentum. Barzola chopped away with calf kicks to the lead leg and executed takedowns in all three rounds, consolidating them with ground-and-pound before backing out of the former CES MMA champion’s guard and resuming his attack on the feet.
Barzola, 28, will carry a three-fight winning streak into his next outing.
Makhachev KOs Returning Tibau
American Kickboxing Academy representative Islam Makhachev knocked out Gleison Tibau in the first round of their undercard pairing at 155 pounds. In his first appearance since Nov. 7, 2015, Tibau (33-13, 16-10 UFC) bit the dust 57 seconds into Round 1.
Makhachev (15-1, 4-1 UFC) probed for weaknesses and found one. He countered a low kick from Tibau with a devastating overhand left that floored the American Top Team-trained Brazilian, leaving him semi-conscious and defenseless. Makhachev than connected with a few more lefts on the ground before referee Dan Miragliotta could arrive on the scene.
The 26-year-old Makhachev has rattled off three straight wins.