Round 1: Each fighter immediately starts throwing testing punches, trying to gauge range. Kuivanen is the early aggressor with the striking, however, as Salas tries to time his takedown, but is unsuccessful early. Salas, a southpaw, starts working the low kick and his jab, testing out his stand-up with Kuivanen. Finding his range, Salas shoots the double, gets Kuivanen moving backwards, and scores the takedown. Salas lands a couple body shots from standing in Kuivanen’s guard, but Kuivanen sweeps Salas and they quickly are back to their feet, trading blows. Kuivanen lands a hard straight right. Kuivanen takes center Octagon, but Salas moving a lot, trying to be a hard target for Kuivanen, while at the same time finding some openings for his own strikes. Salas scores another double-leg takedown just before the horn. MMAWeekly.com scores round one 10-9 for Salas.
Round 2: Salas opens with a right hook, but Kuivanen isn’t shaken. Salas keeps pressing, pushing Kuivanen up against the cage, driving a couple knees to his thighs. Salas is circling, moving a lot, jutting in and out, landing shots, while Kuivanen seems to wan to hold the center of the Octagon and make Salas come to him. Salas shoots the single leg, doesn’t get it, but does take Kuivanen up against the fence again. They split and Kuivanen lands a solid kick to the body. Both fighters spend the latter half of the round just trying to find an opening, Kuivanen landing a little more frequently than Salas. Salas shoots again near the end of the round, but again, Kuivanen fends it off. MMAWeekly.com scores round two 10-9 for Kuivanen.
Round 3: Salas lands a solid kick to the body to open round three. Salas is tenacious, driving a double-leg takedown until he gets Kuivanen to the mat. Standing in Kuivanen’s guard, he starts landing some hard ground and pound, but Kuivanen defends by attempting a heel hook. Salas spins around out of the heel hook, once again on top and grounding and pounding Kuivanen. Salas stands again, landing some hard shots from standing, driving a left hand into Kuivanen’s jaw. Kuivanen gets up, avoiding a Salas guillotine attempt. Kuivanen lands a solid right hand, but follows with a kick to the groin. Salas just shakes it off and keeps going, shooting and pressing Kuivanen to the cage, doing a little dirty boxing before they separate. Kuivanen lands a right hand followed by a left, but Salas scoops him up and plants him on the mat, landing in side mount. Kuivanen gains half guard, but Salas stands up and starts landing some more blows from standing. Kuivanen gets up, but eats a knee to the face upon standing. MMAWeekly.com scores round three 10-9 and the fight 29-28 for Salas.
Justin Salas def. Anton Kuivanen by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27), R3