TUF 16 runner-up Mike Ricci (8-3) was back in his natural weight class and able to grind out a unanimous decision win over TUF The Smashes lightweight finalist Colin “The Freakshow” Fletcher (8-3) on the main card at UFC 158 on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
All three judges awarded the fight 30-27 to Ricci with the 26-year-old fighting in front of his home town fans.
Both fighters traded kicks early on, but neither looked to stamp his authority on the fight. Ricci caught Fletcher with a right hand down the pipe, which he followed with a spinning back kick, clipping the Brit to edge out a close opening round.
Ricci and Fletcher stepped on the gas early in round two with Ricci landing a head kick before taking Fletcher to the mat. In a dominant position, the Canadian, Ricci, was able to bust open Fletcher’s face with strikes. The Freakshow returned to his feet, where they continued their striking battle, but wasn’t able to undo any of the damage done by Ricci early in the round.
With the instruction from Fletcher’s corner to look for the submission, he shot in for a single leg off the bell, but Ricci was equal to the task and able to nulify Fletcher’s takedown attempts. Ricci was able to take Fletcher down inside the final minute, taking his back, but solid submission defense saw Fletcher take the fight to the judges’ scorecards.
The win was Ricci’s first in the UFC, while Fletcher has now dropped two decisions since progressing from The Ultimate Fighter series.
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