Ben Rothwell spoiled Brandon Vera’s return to the UFC heavyweight division at UFC 164 in Milwaukee tonight, as he wore the smaller man down en route to a round three T/KO victory.

It was an entertaining bout where both fighters enjoyed highlights. In fact, the two both landed straight hands at the beginning of the first round, but Rothwell didn’t seem as affected as Vera. Vera would soon adopt a “stick-and-move” strategy, and Rothwell struggled early with Vera’s quickness. Vera’s hard left kick to the body was particularly effective, as he danced out of trouble again and again in the stanza.

But in the second, Rothwell was able to corner Vera several times and even mixed in a head kick. But the round was close.

In the third, an early punching combination rattled Vera, and Rothwell quickly followed up to force referee Herb Dean to step in and halt the action at 1:54.

Rothwell, fighting in his home state, rises to 33-9. Vera, of San Diego, CA, drops to 12-7-1.

At UFC 164, Ben Rothwell defeated Brandon Vera by T/KO (punches) at 1:54 of round three.