Alex Caceres had to contend with Kevin Croom’s constant attempts to clinch up with him tonight at UFC Fight Night 186, but when he had the opportunity he proved to be the sharper striker and also appeared to have the edge in the grappling exchanges on his way to a unanimous decision victory.
Side kick upstairs from Caceres. Leg kick from Croom. Side kick to the body from Caceres. Another kick from Caceres and then clinches briefly.
Croom into the the clinch against the cage and they jockey for position against the cage. Croom wins that battle and presses Caceres into the cage. Caceres moves out though and lands a hook as he goes back to striking range.
Leg kick for Croom. ow he bursts forward with winging punches to set up a takedown attempt against the cage. Caceres doing a good job of staying upright and then turns into him. Croom quickly reverses again and is back to working for a takedown.
Good job from Caceres to stay on his feet under this pressure. Croom working hard on a single-leg, but Caceres reverses and then lands a knee upstairs, but slips.
They go to the mat and Caceres scrambles on top. Caceres with a few strikes and then Croom is back up to his feet.
Cacares now tries to take Croom’s back against the cage, but Croom turns into him and presses into the cage.
Croom moves to the back and tries to work a takedown. He drags Caceres down, but then his opponent slips out and gets back to his feet and lands a few clipping punches as Croom is rising up, then tries for a head kick attempt that lands more to the chest.
Croom bundles quickly into a takedown attempt, but doesn’t get it and Caceres is looking for punches. Back on the feet and Croom comes into range again and gets clipped with a counter hook.
Croom relentless with his pressure game though and is soon back into the clinch against the cage and moves around to the back.
Caceres turns into Croom and lands a knee, but then is taken down from it and Croom finally gets to work from his opponent’s full guard.
Caceres going for a high guard and manages to catch Croom in a triangle choke. It looks good, but as he appears to be locking in tighter he suddenly lets it go.
Croom back to working in the full guard and still taking his time. He tries to pass to side control, but Caceres is able to scramble back to his feet.
Croom stays attached to him though and has his back. Caceres turns into him and attempts a spinning backfist, but doesn’t connect and Croom is straight back in tight in the clinch. Caceres tries to break free and Croom lands a punch and grabs him again. Final seconds of the round and Croom is happy to stay clinched to his back.
Hooks exchanged to start the third round, without anything landing with any notable power. Caceres with a good counter hook now and Croom was hurt by that.
Caceres moves back and then clips him again as he comes into range. Croom manages to get the clinch, but Caceres manages to land another punch as he breaks free.
Croom to the clinch again. Not doing much with it and Caceres connects with another hook and an uppercut as he escapes.
Croom a bit of a sitting duck on the feet so he’s doggedly sticking to this clinch strategy. He does get Caceres down now, but he’s tired. Caceres back up and looking to land that hook again. Croom steps in again, but now it’s Caceres who is able to get a takedown.
Caceres working to Croom’s back. He sinks in his hooks as Croom is on his knees. Caceres rolls to his back and starts looking for the rear-naked choke.
Final minute of the fight. Croom just in purely defensive mode now as Cacares chips away with punches to soften him up for the submission. He’s not going to get it though, so he just lands a few more punches until the final horn sounds.
The judges are unanimous in their verdict, declaring Alex Caceres the decisive winner (30-26 x2, 30-27).