Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira just managed to edge out Max Griffin by split decision in a bloody battle to open tonight’s UFC 248 main card in Las Vegas.
Griffin darting straight into range and throws a power punch. Body punch for him. Oliviera just misses with an uppercut.
Front kick to the body from Oliveira and then another missed uppercut. He lands a right hand though and then clinches Griffin up against the cage.
Back to striking range they go. He just grazes Griffin with a right hand. Now a front kick to the body again. He connects with the uppercut at last.
Right hand for Oliveira but he’s leaning in and Griffin lands a counter. Another right hand for Griffin and then an even harder one that leaves Oliveira clinching up. Griffin goes for a takedown and lands it.
Body punches from Griffin in Oliveira’s full guard. He moves into half guard with the best part of two minutes of the round remaining.
Oliveira stifling Griffin’s offense for now. Short blows to the side of the head from Griffin, more of an annoyance than anything else.
Oliveira to his knees and stands with Griffin clinched tight to his back. Griffin looking for a takedown in the final 10 seconds, but Oliveira goes down working on a kimura attempt and almost uses it to get on top, but then they get back up .
The two go back to striking straight away and Oliveira lands an uppercut. Good low kick for Oliveira and then follows it up with another.
Griffin pumping out the jab. Griffin trying to get into the clinch and work a takedown, but Oliveira reverses and presses him into the cage. Griffin bleeding heavily from that earlier uppercut and that forces a stoppage so the doctor can look at the cut near his eyelid.
The fight is allowed to continue. Oliveira lands a good leg kick again. Again he chops it and lands again soon after.
Now Oliveira is landing punches too from range. Inside leg kick. One-two. Both fighters just misses each other with a big punch apiece.
They go back to the clinch and jockey for position with Oliveira getting the better of it and pressing Griffin up against the cage. Flashy attempt at a strike at close range from ‘Cowboy’ as they separate.
Oliveira soon back into the cage clinch again. Knee from Griffin as he defends this. They move apart and Oliveira lands the rangey jab.
Front kick to the body from Oliveira. And again. Now a superman punch. Griffin tries for a spinning backfist but Oliveira saw it coming and ducks underneath looking for a takedown that doesn’t pay off and the round ends in the clinch.
Oliveira working front kicks to the body and then tries a head kick. Griffin into the clinch against the cage looking for a takedown. Oliveira does well to keep his balance and stay upright.
He can’t get anything going, but then it’s Oliveira who is looking for a takedown and he gets it. Griffin now getting a bloody mask across his eyes as Oliveira settles into half guard.
It must be hard for Griffin to see now and worse still Oliveira gets to full mount and starts landing some punches. however, Griffin then manages to transition on top with two minutes to go!
Griffin moves to half guard. Oliveira working hard to shut him down here. Griffin almost getting to full mount and trying to work short elbows now and that’s the final action of the round.
Extremely close fight then but it’s Oliveira who has just done enough over the course of three rounds to earn a split decision victory (29-28 x2, 28-29).