kick. Another takedown goes for Riddle with 90 seconds left and Martinez pulls rubber guard as he’s scooted into the fence. Closed guard now for Martinez; Riddle pins his man’s head down with his right arm and slugs away with his left. Riddle keeps the pressure on with hard elbows and punches to the horn.
Official result: One judge has it 29-28 Martinez, while another sides with Riddle, 29-28. The final and deciding judge sees the bout 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Matt Riddle.
Chris Cope vs. Matt Brown
Cope works the clinch on the fence with dirty boxing until Brown exits with a knee. Cope backs him off with punches but Brown gets a takedown along the fence. Cope pops back up and gets pushed into the cage with Brown looking for knees inside. Cope reverses and the welterweights fight inside until Brown drops down for a single-leg. He hoists the leg into the air and trips the other; as Cope stands back up, Brown lands a solid knee. Cope is swinging wide on his punches and Brown works a few low kicks. Cope answers with a leg kicks of his own; Brown finishes off with a pair of clean right hands.
Brown comes in with an overhand right and lands a kick to the body. Cope tries some kicks of his own, has his head snapped back with a punch. Brown is walking forward, swinging hands at Cope, who backpedals and snaps off counter-shots. Brown misses a jab but catches Cope with the follow-up right hand behind the ear. A left hook sends Cope to the floor and Brown lands a couple more punches on the floor before referee Kim Winslow steps in to save the dazed Cope. The official time of the TKO stoppage is 1:19 of round two.
Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa
Figueroa flicks out a jab while the southpaw Caceres goes low and high with kicks. A left hand rattles Figueroa’s head, and the next one puts him on his rear. He hops right back up and, seconds later, catches a Caceres low kick square on the cup. Figueroa writhes in pain on the mat, rolling over to the fence as referee Herb Dean calls a break in the action. Figueroa is still on the mat a minute later, but after two, he’s back on his feet. They resume and Caceres goes back to kicking, but he’s felled a minute later by a Figueroa head kick. Caceres seems to come to as he hits the ground and stays alive as Figueroa pounces and tries to finish. Caceres recovers and nearly secures Figueroa’s back on the floor. Figueroa escapes and stands, but “Bruce Leeroy” hops on his back again and rides him down. Caceres works a neck crank with a body triangle, can’t get it and gets rolled over. He loses back mount, regains it and goes for another neck crank. Again, Figueroa defends; he staves off two more rear-naked choke attempts at the end of the round.
Caceres goes back to landing effective kicks to the leg and body, and Figueroa swings punches. Figueroa scores with a solid counter left, but a moment later, another low kick from Caceres crashes into Figueroa’s cup. Figueroa hits the deck again, this time sitting in the middle of the cage with ref Dean watching over him. When Figueroa is finally ready to resume, Dean deducts two points from Caceres. They resume and Caceres moves Figueroa into the fence, blitzing with punches and then giving chase to the ground. Caceres takes Figueroa’s back again, locks up a body triangle and works to soften him up with punches. Still defending the choke, Figueroa twists around and winds up in Caceres’ guard, whereupon Caceres throws up a triangle with an armbar. Figueroa defends and stands above Caceres to finish the round.
Caceres pushes with front kicks but a windmill right from Figueroa sends him stumbling backward. Figueroa moves forward, winging tired arm punches and half-kicks. A turning kick from Caceres lands in Figueroa’s breadbasket; he responds with one to Caceres’ leg. Caceres stuffs a straight left in Figueroa’s face and gets clipped with an overhand right. Caceres knocks Figueroa down with a low kick and leaps onto his back again as he tries to stand. Figueroa stays up, pushing Caceres’ back into the cage and defending the RNC again. Caceres can’t lock up the choke through several attempts and Figueroa dumps him head-first onto the ground. The afro’d one maintains the back, though, and with 80 seconds left, he peels off for an armbar. It doesn’t come and the move gives Figueroa the opportunity to drop ground-and-pound through Caceres’ guard. Caceres tries to throw up another triangle and Figueroa spins for a toe hold. Caceres takes Figueroa’s back and drags him to the mat one more time as time expires.
Official result: All three judges’ scorecards read 28-27, one for Caceres and two for Edwin Figueroa, the winner by split decision.
Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway
Both featherweights are swinging hard punches early, then Holloway tries a jumping knee. Poirier fends him off with punches, staying out of the range of Holloway’s own shots and turning kicks. Another flying knee from Holloway grazes, but it allows Poirier to get a hold of the Octagon newcomer. He can’t get the takedown right away, but the next try has Holloway on his back with Poirier in full mount. Poirier seems to be sneaking up for an armbar, then he ties up the right arm of the turning Holloway and socks him in the face with rights. Holloway tries to push off the cage and buck loose, but Poirier stays on and takes the chance on an armbar. It’s deep, but Holloway won’t tap. Poirier slaps on a triangle from underneath, sweeps to mount and locks up a nasty straight armbar.
Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks
Herman comes out swinging nasty lead uppercuts; he scores with a few before Starks gets inside to tie up. He muscles “Short Fuse” into the cage with an underhook and socks him with right hands while Herman attacks inside... (Continues on next page)