Goran Reljic returned to the light heavyweight division after an unsuccessful run in the 185-pound division against Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 122, but came up short losing by unanimous decision.
It played out like a kickboxing bout early with Soszynski getting the better of the exchanges, but Reljic showed his takedown ability, putting Soszynski on his back. Soszynski immediately went for his signature submission, the kimura, and nullified Reljic’s ability to do anything from the top position.
In the second round Reljic timed Soszynski moving forward and ducked under and got a takedown early. Unable to do damage or improve his position, the referee stood the fight up and the two engaged in a clinch battle against the cage. Soszynski went for a standing kimura but Reljic quickly escaped.
The first two rounds were close and heading into the third, it appeared it was anyone’s fight.
In the final round Soszynski took over the fight, dominating Reljic on the ground. Reljic shot in for a takedown and Soszynski stuffed it, trapping him on the ground. The rest of the round Soszynski battered Reljic with hammer fists and punches sealing the deal on the judges scorecards who all scored the bout 30-27 in his favor.
Soszynski gave Reljic props following the win. “That boy’s tough,” said Soszynski. “He’s one tough Croatian.”
Soszynski admitted he was worried that Reljic’s takedowns may have stood out in the minds of the judges.
“I really was. You never know what the judges are going to score,” stated Soszynski. “I felt like I had him standing. He took me down, but that third round sealed the deal for me.”
Soszynski got a much needed win coming into UFC 122 off a loss to Stephan Bonnar. For Reljic, that’s three loses in a row, putting his status on the UFC payroll in jeopardy.