In front of the Brazilian fans Raphael Assuncao rose to the action at UFC Fight Night 29 tonight, seizing a close split decision victory over TJ Dillashaw.
Hard leg kick from Assuncao to start this one off. Dillashaw moves in again and gets clobbered by a nice right hand.
Again the Brazilian clips Dillashaw as he moves in. Dillashaw undeterred though and lands a leg kick of his own.
Terrific shot in from Dillashaw to secure a takedown, but he’s unable to keep his opponent down for long and they reset on the feet.
Good straight left from Assuncao. Dillashaw looks for a high kick that just misses.
Couple more nice punches from Assuncao and Dillashaw again looks to go upstairs with a left head kick. It lands, but Assuncao’s partially blocked and caught it and kicks his opposite leg, though is unable to knock him off-balance enough to take him down.
There’s a bit of a scramble on the feet and Dillashaw wheels around to Assuncao’s back. He’s able to get him down while latched to his back and is looking for the rear-naked choke.
It looks tight, but Assuncao gives the thumbs up to the referee. Dillashaw tries again, but very good defense being shown by Assuancao who’s able to fight off the attempt and not long after works back to his feet.
Dillashaw really liking the head kicks in this fight so far and he goes for one again, but this time he misses and loses his balance, falling to the mat for a second, and that’s pretty much the final action of a high-tempo first round.
Assuncao starts the second off nicely, now mixing in some good kicks of his own to the legs and body alongside the heavy punches.
Dillashaw gets another head kick right up towards Assuncao’s neck, but there’s not enough power on it to really hurt him.
Dillashaw’s lightning quick in with a takedown, but Assuncao is imediately looking for a choke, forcing his opponent on the defensive. Dillashaw attempts to break out, but Assuncao adjusts and tries to lock it in tighter against the cage. Eventually he uses it to transition on top, but Dillashaw gets back up and they break apart.
More solid punches from Assuncao, he’s really doing well this round and looks confident. Dillashaw manages to get Assuancao down, but again can’t keep him down long enough to really make him pay.
Back on the feet towards the end of the round both men are letting their hands go and trading good punches until the horn sounds.
Early kick from Dillashaw and Assuncao catches it and tries to bundle him to the mat. A scramble ensues and they remain upright.
Dillashaw lands a nice knee, but Assuncao catches his leg too, putting him off-balance.
Dillashaw starting to really take the center of the cage and push the action now, but he’s not going all out, choosing to pick his shots instead. Couple of sprawls from Dillashaw and on the second as he comes up he lands a good knee to the midsection.
A couple of minutes to go. Dillashaw thinks about a takedown, but Assuncao shoves him aside. Nice hook lands for Dillashaw.
Assuancao’s definitely slowed a little in this round, not offering a whole lot of offense now. Dillashaw gets him to the mat momentarily, but he’s back up instantly.
Another good strike lands for Dillashaw and it’s the last notable moment of a competitive encounter.
It’s a close one and that’s reflected in the split decision verdict from the judges, but it’s Raphael Assuncao who gets the victory (29-28 x2, 28-29).