Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC on ESPN+ live on your computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
Alex Caceres imposed his will on Steven Peterson, subtle though it may have been.
The MMA Lab representative posted his third win in five outings, as he walked away with a unanimous decision over Peterson in the featured UFC on ESPN 4 prelim on Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, all for Caceres (15-12, 10-10 UFC), who pushed his Ultimate Fighting Championship record back to .500.
Peterson (17-9, 1-3 UFC) was caught in a seemingly endless chase and walked down “The Ultimate Fighter 12” semifinalist with punches, only to have him circle out of danger and answer with shots of his own, two, three and four at a time. Caceres withstood a harrowing exchange in the first round, where he conceded a takedown and was forced to defend repeated rear-naked chokes. He went on to frustrate Peterson with lateral movement and crafty footwork, benefitted from a headbutt-induced cut and pecked away with punches and head kicks from a distance. Peterson tripped him to the floor in the final minute of the fight but could not author the finish he needed.
Pennington Edges Fast-Rising Aldana
“The Ultimate Fighter 18” semifinalist Raquel Pennington put the brakes on a two-fight losing streak, as she eked out a split decision over Irene Aldana in a competitive three-round bantamweight battle. All three judges scored it 29-28: Ruben Carrion for Aldana, Perry Hillin and Marcos Rosales for Pennington.
Aldana (10-5, 3-3 UFC) struggled with distance management through much of the first round, as she swung and missed before being met with one counter after another. She appeared to turn the corner in the second and started to connect with overhand rights, sneaky lefts and strong jabs. A back-and-forth Round 3 saw Pennington (10-7, 7-4 UFC) execute a takedown and deny the Lobo Gym export’s ambitious bids for a heel hook, calf slicer and kneebar. “Rocky” assumed top position late in the period and made a pass at an arm-triangle choke before settling for the decision.
The setback brought an end to Aldana’s run of three straight victories.
Related » UFC San Antonio Round-by-Round Scoring
Abreu Downs Reeling Alvey
Klidson Abreu won for the seventh time in eight appearances, as he earned a unanimous decision over Team Quest mainstay Sam Alvey in a three-round light heavyweight pairing. All three judges sided with Abreu (15-3, 1-1 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Alvey (33-13, 10-8 UFC) spent too much time moving backward. Abreu pressed the issue, utilized the clinch to his advantage and stepped on the gas with punching bursts late in rounds. He did his best work in the middle stanza, where he cracked Alvey with a jumping knee, executed a takedown and scrambled to the back. All that was missing was the finish.
The 33-year-old Alvey finds himself on a three-fight losing streak for the first time in his 46-fight career.
Surging Maia Handles Modafferi
Former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Jennifer Maia moved to 2-0 in her head-to-head series with Roxanne Modafferi, as she captured a unanimous verdict from “The Happy Warrior” in a three-round women’s flyweight rematch. Maia (17-5-1, 2-1 UFC) carried the cards with 30-27 scores across the board.
Modafferi (23-16, 2-4 UFC) was woefully ineffective. Maia, 30, leaned on crisp striking combinations, airtight takedown defense and a clear strength advantage in the clinch. She denied all eight of Modafferi’s attempted takedowns, opened a cut on the bridge of her nose and drew oohs and ahs from the crowd with clean power punches.
Maia, who outpointed Modafferi in their first meeting back in 2016, has won eight of her last nine fights.
Borg Overwhelms Undefeated Silva
Fit NHB export Ray Borg closed the book on a two-fight losing streak, as he was awarded a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Team Nogueira standout Gabriel Silva in a three-round bantamweight tilt. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Borg (12-4, 6-4 UFC).
Silva (8-1, 0-1 UFC) snapped back his counterpart’s head with a right hand, followed with a flurry and struck for a takedown inside the first round. However, his efforts proved futile. Borg overwhelmed the Brazilian with a merciless pace and relentless offense across the final 10 minutes. The former Sugar Creek Showdown champion scrambled into advantageous positions, wore down Silva with ground-and-pound and routinely maneuvered onto the Jungle Fight veteran’s back.
The win was Borg’s first in more than two years.
One-Beaten Bautista Denies Son
MMA Lab prospect Mario Bautista rebounded from his Jan. 19 submission defeat to Cory Sandhagen, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Jin Soo Son in a three-round clash at 135 pounds. Bautista (7-1, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges.
Son (9-4, 0-2 UFC) got off to a slow start and dug an early hole as a result. After an entertaining but relatively uneventful first round, business picked up in the second. There, Bautista battered the Chan Sung Jung protégé with close-range knees, punches, elbows and shoulder strikes before dropping him to a knee with a short right hand to the temple. He turned his attention to the body in Round 3, as he tuned up Son’s ribs with sweeping hooks from both hands and denied the South Korean’s bid to turn the tide of the fight.
The 26-year-old Son has dropped consecutive bouts for the first time in his career.
Colares Upsets Debuting Pilarte
A series of crushing body kicks and grinding clinches carried former Jungle Fight champion Felipe Dias Colares to a split decision over Domingo Pilarte in a three-round bantamweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Colares (9-1, 1-1 UFC).
Pilarte (8-2, 0-1 UFC) spun his wheels out of the gate. Colares drew him into close quarters and fired away with knee strikes, short elbows and even foot stomps, setting the tone for the first half of the fight. Pilarte picked up his pace late in the second round and carried the newfound momentum into the third, where he snuck behind the Brazilian, jumped on his back and secured his position with a body triangle. Colares spent the rest of his time defending chokes and cranks, but the 25-year-old had done enough to curry favor on the scorecards.
The loss snapped a five-fight winning streak for Pilarte.