A bantamweight attraction at UFC 173 started strong, slowed way down, and ended in a wild exchange — as Takeya Mizugaki edged Francisco Rivera in Las Vegas tonight.
Mizugaki, who entered the bout a -160 favorite, floored Rivera with a punching combination barely a minute in. A stunned Rivera struggled to recover in his half guard. But he was able to get back in the fight, landing some punches and leg kicks in a slow first stanza.
Rivera would acquit himself better in the second, but after a good exchange on their feet and a guillotine attempt, he slowed. Mizugaki took over, hit a few shots, and nearly secured a rear naked choke as the bout’s action again would grind to a near-halt.
The third saw Rivera grounded out and neutralized. But he rose to his feet for an exciting exhange to finish.
Still, the judges’ decision was obvious.
The win marked the fifth consecutive victory for Mizugaki, of Kanagawa, Japan, who advances his record to 29-7-2. Rivera, of Buena Park, California, drops to 10-3-1 with the loss.
Takeya Mizugaki defeats Francisco Rivera by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).