Raphael Assuncao Blanks Bryan Caraway
Raphael Assuncao won his seventh consecutive bout with a decisive unanimous decision victory over Bryan Caraway in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 54 at the Halifax Metro Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada on Saturday night.
Walking through strikes
Caraway appeared to be the Terminator at the start of the match. He continually walked right through Assuncao’s hard punches and powerful kicks to give a good account of himself in round one. But barely one minute and a half into the first round, Caraway’s lead leg showed signs of bruising following Assuncao’s leg attack. Assuncao scored on a takedown but Caraway was quick to get up. However, a flying knee from Assuncao flushed the left eye of Caraway and caused a cut.
Caraway scored on two takedowns in round two but failed to score in those sequences. Assuncao continued his leg kicks and would often catch Caraway’s face with sharp knees as the American had the tendency to duck while throwing his punches. The third round was more of the same, with Caraway scoring with punches and Assuncao with his leg kicks and knees.
Although Caraway wasn’t in serious trouble at any point in the bout because he was able to take Assuncao’s best shots, the volume of punishment dished out by Assuncao was enough to give him the 30-27 shutout in all the judges scorecards. Fightmetric stats had Assuncao nearly doubling up Caraway’s total strikes at 83-46. He had a huge 25-7 edge in leg kicks scored.
No immediate title shot
Although the #4 ranked Assuncao is on an impressive winning streak, there will be no immediate title shot for the victor. UFC bantamweight title holder T.J. Dilllashaw is expected to make his next defense against former champion Dominick Cruz who made a successful return to the Octagon at UFC 178.
Cruz was stripped of the title in 2013 after a series of injuries put him out of action for an extended period of time. Renan Barao became the interim and the full time champion before Dillashaw unseated him last UFC 174 last May.
However, the UFC retained Cruz as the #1 contender with the agreement that he gets a title shot should he win his comeback fight. Cruz knocked out Takeya Mizugaki in 60 seconds during his return last month to officially earn a title shot against Dillashaw who also knocked out challenger Jose Soto at UFC 177 last August.
Nevertheless, it was an important win for Assuncao, as a loss could have moved him down in the very competitive bantamweight division. Assuncao improved to 23-4 in his MMA career and 7-1 in the UFC while Caraway dropped to 19-7 overall.
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