This was a entertaining fight that almost went the full three rounds, before Brian Ortega managed to get the better of Thiago Tavares on the feet, dropping him with a series of punches in the final minute before finishing by TKO with ground and pound on the mat.
Tavares immediately takes the center of the cage and lands a good punch right off the bat. Head kick attempt and another punch for him before he drops down for a takedown and lands it.
Ortega thinks about an armbar then attempts a triangle choke attempt, but Tavares stays relaxed and is soon out of it. He continues to work in Ortega’s guard and lands a number of ground and pound strikes. Ortega still hunting for potential submission opportunities though, so he has to be careful.
Three minute mark with Tavares still working on top. Body-head combination from him. Ortega with an armbar attempt, then uses it to very nicely sweep on top and moves to mount! Tavares bleeding from a cut to his head as Ortega lands some hard elbows.
Tavares powers out of this bad spot and they stand for a moment before he takes Ortega back down again. Ortega slowly works back to standing again and lands a knee as he does so.
Back to striking range they go. Tavares looking to get some straight punches going. Ortega unleashes a flurry of his own, targeting both the head and body.
Ortega into the clinch, but it’s Tavares who applies the throw to end the round on top.
High kick from Tavares to start the second round. Looks to fire off a couple of punches, but misses. Orega looked to have landed a spinning elbow there and it drops Tavares momentarily. Tavares back up and hits reverse gear under threat.
Tavares manages to get Ortega down though which will be a relief to him. Otega lands a nice upkick, but Tavares stays on top and is happy to start working ground and pound from the guard.
Ortega looks to stand and does so nicely, but Tavares still has a hold of one of his legs and takes him down again. Soto has to avoid another submission attempt from Ortega and looks to work hard on top while the cut on his forehead bleeds heavily.
Another submission attempt from Ortega, but Tavares is managing to handle these so far and again remains in top control. The fact there’s so much blood might be helping Tavares in escaping these attempts now, with both men covered in crimson.
Good triangle attempt from Ortega, but Tavares pops out of it almost immediately for the reason I just mentioned.
This cut on Tavares head is huge, but the fight continues. The two men look to exchange early in the third on the feet. a few punches thrown and then an exchange of leg kicks. Solid right hand connects for Tavares. Ortega does a superman punch of the fence, getting style points and snaps his oponents head back with it.
They think about clinching, but break apart. Ortega lands an uppercut, but then gets caught with a groin shot from a Tavares knee which forces a stoppage.
Back to it they go. A few nice left hands from Ortega. Tavares with a hard head kick but it’s blocked. Tavares pressing forward, but Ortega lands a kick. Ortega trying a spinning attack now. Again Ortega lands with a punch, but then Tavares pushes in with a takedown.
Ortega struggling to stand back up against the cage. He’s on his feet with his hands still touching the mat. Action stalls a little so the ref separates them.
Ortega clocks Tavares with a punch. Another left hand knocks Tavares’ mouthpiece out and the ref stops just long enough to get it put back in.
Ortega really pushing the pace here in the closing stages. They trade strikes and Ortega is getting the better of it with Tavares staggering backwards after eating a clean left hook. Another punch sends him to the mat and Ortega is immediately on top battering his opponent with more offense, and that’s it, he gets the TKO victory with just 50 seconds remaining in the final round.