“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 alum Alex Caceres submitted Damacio Page with a second-round triangle choke in a preliminary bantamweight scrap at UFC on Fuel TV 4 “Munoz vs. Weidman” on Wednesday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Caceres (7-5, 2-3 UFC) finished the maneuver 87 seconds into round two.
Page was the aggressor out of the gates, as he delivered a quick takedown in the first round and unleashed some mild ground-and-pound. Caceres fired off submissions from the bottom, but the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative bullied his way out of danger. Page was not as fortunate in the second stanza. After absorbing another takedown, Caceres found enough distance to thread his leg over his foe’s left arm. From there, he secured the triangle choke and the tapout.
Page (15-8, 0-3 UFC), once considered one of the world’s Top 10 fighters at 135 pounds, has lost four consecutive bouts, all of them via choke.
“I’ve been working a lot on my jiu-jitsu. I knew once we started standing up that he would want to take me to the ground immediately,” Caceres said. “He was a powerful guy, so he could hold me down, but, at the same time, I felt him rushing a little bit, so I waited for my opportunity.
“None of the blows landed too heavy on my afro, so I have pretty good protection. Other than that, I was just being myself,” he added. “In the first round, I was kind of disappointed I couldn’t get the finish, but I knew if he kept [throwing] ground-and-pound like that, I would catch him.”
Cariaso Streak Reaches Three
A multi-faceted offensive attack -- crisp boxing, trip takedowns and heavy ground-and-pound were the chief weapons -- carried Chris Cariaso to his third consecutive victory, as he took a unanimous nod from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 alum Josh Ferguson in a preliminary flyweight tilt. All three cageside judges scored it for Cariaso by identical 30-27 marks.
Cariaso (14-3, 4-1 UFC) landed his left cross at will. He staggered Ferguson (8-5, 0-2 UFC) with it in the first round and floored him briefly with a follow-up combination. Ferguson was valiant in defeat but largely outgunned. He threatened Cariaso late in round three, when he transitioned to his back off an attempted kimura and fished for a rear-naked choke. Cariaso defended beautifully from a standing position and waited for time to expire.
“I feel like I found my weight class,” said Cariaso, a former bantamweight. “I feel really good and comfortable. I’m happy to be fighting guys my size now. The whole game plan was sprawl-and-brawl, and that’s what we did. A big thing in training for this fight was to keep my speed. I definitely feel like I’ve got the speed and power in this weight division.”
Craig Head Kick KOs Natal
Former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Andrew Craig roared back from the figurative dead to knock out Rafael Natal with a wicked second-round head kick in an undercard bout at 185 pounds. The undefeated Craig (8-0, 2-0 UFC) brought it to a dramatic close 4:52 into round two.
Natal (14-4-1, 2-2-1 UFC) was in command for most of the match, but he let his ego get the best of him and resorted to taunting his opponent by dropping his hands. He had Craig badly hurt with a looping left hook in the second frame, but the resilient Texan recovered, returned to his feet and delivered the kick and follow-up ground strikes for the finish.
“It was definitely close [to being over],” Craig said. “The guy hits really hard. He hit me with a few bombs. That’s the first time I’ve ever been on wobbly street. I was really excited to showcase my hands and my [striking] in this fight, but I didn’t really land anything until that [head kick], I guess.”
Newcomer Guimaraes Edges Stittgen
Former Jungle Fight champion Marcelo Guimaraes made a successful Octagon debut, as he captured a split decision from Daniel Stittgen in a preliminary welterweight duel. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them in favor of the unbeaten Guimaraes (8-0-1, 1-0 UFC).
Guimaraes controlled much of the bout in the clinch, as he pressed the American into the cage and occasionally mixed in punches and knees. Stittgen (7-3, 0-2 UFC) did his best work in the second round, as he swept the Brazilian to the ground with a leg kick and unleashed some nice multi-punch combinations. It was not enough to deny Guimaraes, who sealed it with strong clinch work late in round three.
Assuncao Dispatches Tamura in Second
WEC veteran Raphael Assuncao stopped Issei Tamura on second-round punches in an undercard matchup at 135 pounds. Tamura (7-3, 1-1UFC) met his end 25 seconds into round two.
Assuncao (18-4, 2-1 UFC) established his strengths from the start with a series of effective kicks to the legs, body and head. He also denied Tamura’s lone takedown attempt. Less than half a minute into the second round, Assuncao countered the Shooto mainstay with a ringing left hook. The Alpharetta, Ga.-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt then swarmed his wobbled foe with punches for the finish. Tamura had no chance to recover.
“I’m just trying to work and improve,” Assuncao said. “Every day I’m at the gym, not just grinding but also working on concepts and getting better.”