Round 1: Cariaso throws a kick that’s blocked and Martinez presses forward looking to get the fight to the ground. Cariaso defends the attempt and they separate. Cariaso lands a leg kick and fires one off at the head. Martinez blocks it. Martinez moving forward. Cariaso lands a combination and Martinez answers with a counter. Martinez looks to get the fight to the ground, but Cariaso defends the attempt. They battle for position along the cage. Martinez lands to the body and moves away. Cariaso throwing a lot of kicks. He lands a kick to the body. Martinez closes the distance and works for a takedown and gets it. Cariaso delivers right hands to the body of Martinez. Cariaso gets to his feet. Martinez drops down again. He turns Cariaso away from the cage and slams him to the canvas. Cariaso lands short elbows from the bottom. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Martinez.
Round 2: Martinez lands a right hand. Cariaso delivers an inside leg kick. Martinez is winging wide punches. Cariaso counters with straight shots. Cariaso lands an outside leg kick. Cariaso lands a right hand. He lands his jab. Martinez works to get the fight to the ground. Cariaso shows his takedown defense and stays on his feet. They separate. Cariaso lands a stiff jab. Cariaso steps forward with a combination. He lands a kick to the body followed by a left hand. Martinez decided to try and get Cariaso down. He secures the takedown. Cariaso moves to the cage and uses it to stand. Martinez works for another takedown. Cariaso lands short elbows to the side of Martinez’ head. Martinez gets him down but Cariaso immediately gets back to his feet. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Cariaso.
Round 3: Cariaso lands a stiff left hand. Cariaso is the more technical striker and it’s showing. Martines lands two hard left hands. He presses forward. They work for position along the cage. Martinez drops down and works for a takedown. Cariaso defends the attempt and they separate. Martinez ducks under and secures a takedown. He has Cariaso down in the center of the cage. Cariaso uses his feet on Martinez’ hips and pushes him away to get to his feet. Martinez presses forward and looks to get the fight to the ground. Two minutes remain in the round. They separate. Cariaso throws a couple of kicks to the head but Martinez blocks them. Cariaso landing his jab. Martinez steps in with a right hand. Cariaso lands a left hand. He delivers a combination. Martinez presses forward and looks to take Cariaso down. Cariaso defends the attempt. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Cariaso. Close round.
The judges scored the fight for Cariaso by unanimous decision. All three scorecards read 29-28.
“I felt great about this fight. My hands were really going and my jab was really working. Just a little frustrated because he was really working my legs. But I think working my jab really won me this fight. I wanted to use my wrestling defense to get out the cage a little bit more but everything went according to plan.”
“Tough fight. Chris Cariaso is #9 for a reason. He deserves to be there, I deserve to be there too. I appreciate UFC for giving me my chance. I felt like it was my Super bowl. I definitely went out there and gave it my all but it didn’t go my way. “