Christian Rodriguez became the first man to defeat young prospect Raul Rosas Jr tonight at UFC 287, claiming a unanimous decision win on the scorecards.
Rosas rushes forward straight away and goes for an immediate takedown, but Rodriguez sees that coming and defends.
They go over to the cage in the clinch and jockey for position. Rosas looking for another takedown, but Rodriguez does well to stay upright.
Rosas again working to get this fight to the mat and grabs a single-leg, hoisting it up high and then finally bringing his man down.
Rosas trying to set up a potential d’arce choke attempt here, but Rodriguez does a very nice reversal to end up on top now.
Rosas able to scramble back up and is straight back to working for a takedown against the cage. Rosas working around to his back. He tries to hop onto it without success and his mouthpiece spills out in the process. The ref sees that and retrieves it, but doesn’t give it back to him just yet.
Rosas again tries to hop onto his back and this time he gets there and locks in the body lock while resting his back against the cage. He’s looking for a rear-naked choke, but Rodriguez defends for now.
Rosas adjusts and works hard for the choke again. It’s in, but not quite tight enough to force the tap-out. On the mat now and Rodriguez is trying to find a way to free himself, but Rosas resecures the body lock and makes it to the end of the round.
Rosas into a takedown attempt straight away, but doesn’t get it and Rodriguez is able to bring him down instead in the center of the Octagon.
Rodriguez into side control, but then Rosas gets back up. Rosas pressing forward into the clinch, but eats a knee to the body as he does so. He takes it though and continues to work from the clinch hoping for a takedown.
Nothing doing for now, but as Rodriguez looks to strike Rosas ducks and clinches up. He’s around to his back and tries to drag him down, but Rodriguez staying upright.
They are going to the mat and Rodriguez nicely moves on top. He gets side control and Rosas scrambles to his knees. They continue to roll and Rodriguez does well to stay on top in side control.
Rosas trying to walk the cage and rolls onto his knees again, but Rodriguez takes his back. Rosas attempts to escape, but Rodriguez gets the body lock.
Final minute of the round and Rodriguez drops back trying to get the rear-naked choke. He’s unable to really get it sunk in though and Rosas defends until the round ends.
Left hand lands for Rosas as Rodriguez connects with a right. Spinning backfist attempt from Rosas.
Good punch lands for Rodriguez. Rosas tries for the takedown and it’s stuffed. Rosas tries to keep this going, but then has to get back upright.
Another takedown attempt from Rosas and again Rodriguez sprawls and gets back to his feet. He tries for a third time and not only does Rodriguez stuff this one, he gets on top.
There’s a scramble and Rodriguez takes his back. Big elbow lands for Rodriguez. He rolls and tries to go for the rear-naked choke. He’s unable to get that for now but does land a solid elbow.
Rodriguez chipping away with punches to the ribs now. Rosas going from side to side trying to escape and eventually with just 15 seconds left he finally gets free and back to his feet.
There’s not enough time to really get anything else going though and so we’re headed to the scorecards.
The 18-year-old Rosas showed his inexperience tonight by pushing a pace early that he couldn’t maintain, while expending a lot of energy trying to get the fight to the mat.
On the other hand, Rodriguez showed his maturity to stay calm and gradually turned the screw as the fight went on, showing off his own ground skills to control the action for extended periods and emerge with a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).