clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC Fight Night 54 results recap: Raphael Assuncao vs Bryan Caraway fight review and analysis

At UFC Fight Night 54, top 10 bantamweights Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway scrapped for three rounds last night (Sat., Oct. 4, 2014) on FOX Sports 1 inside the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Caraway aggressively pursued Assuncao for the entire fight, but the Brazilian proved to be the better man across three rounds. Find out how below!

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweights Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway battled in pursuit of a title shot last night (Sat., Oct. 4, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 54 on FOX Sports 1 inside the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Assuncao was closing in on the title. As the most recent man to defeat TJ Dillashaw, the jiu-jitsu black belt already had a case for challenging for the strap. Against Caraway, Assuncao looked to further prove his worth.

Caraway had steadily built up an impressive resume at bantamweight. Having submitted each of his four victories, Caraway had an opportunity to become an unlikely contender.

Unfortunately for "Kid Lightning," he was not able to overcome the talented Brazilian.

Early on, Caraway pursued Assuncao relentlessly. Constantly attacking with small strikes whenever possible, Caraway's plan to push the pace was largely neutralized by Assuncao's excellent counter striking.

In the first round, Assuncao's low kicks were his weapon of choice. Assuncao frequently landed on Caraway's thigh, leaving a visible welt. As the fight continued, Assuncao broadened his range of counters, scoring with a number of right hands and left hooks as well.

By the end of the bout, Assuncao was clearly ahead on the scorecards. The Brazilian was successfully evading a majority of Caraway's offense and landing his own shots almost at will, including some gorgeous stepping knees. In addition, Caraway's plan to wear Assuncao down backfired, as all the damage he absorbed significantly slowed him.

To his credit, Caraway did keep pushing forward throughout the entire fight. His striking did look much improved, even if he still relies far too much on his ducking left hook, which Assuncao countered on multiple occasions.

"Kid Lightning" had his best success in the second round. During this round, Caraway twice took Assuncao down, showcasing just how excellent his chain wrestling is. Unfortunately, he was not able to hold Assuncao long enough to attack with his submissions.

In order to improve, Caraway needs to work on his striking and conditioning. His transitional grappling is among the best in the division, but his opponent most certainly knows it's coming. If Caraway developed some type of serious threat on his feet, then he'd be a legitimate title contender.

I'd personally love to see him work on adding powerful kicks into his game, both low and high. Caraway showed that his defensive wrestling is very strong, meaning he wouldn't have to worry about having his kicks caught. Plus, high kicks can raise an opponent's defenses, making takedowns come easier.

For his next bout, Caraway will likely get a lower top 15 fighter. A match up with brutal knockout artist Francisco Rivera could serve as a great test for both men, as the two are excellent finishers in their areas of expertise.

This was a pretty phenomenal performance for Assuncao, as he clearly earned the edge in each round. Sadly for the Brazilian, it still was not good enough. He may have been aggressive for much of the fight, but anything less than a highlight reel finish was not likely to earn Assuncao a title shot over Dominick Cruz.

In order to prepare himself for either Cruz or Dillashaw, Assuncao should continue improving his cardio. He was able to damage Caraway enough to slow him down, but both potential champions are much more difficult to hit. Plus, Assuncao may need to step up the pace or risk losing due to simple volume.

Without the conditioning to go five hard rounds, Assuncao will be very vulnerable to both men.

Still, Assuncao earned a very good win, extending his streak to seven. He's undoubtedly on the short list of title contenders. If he's not allowed to simply wait for the winner of Cruz vs. Dillashaw, then Assuncao could get matched up with Yuri Alcantara.

At UFC Fight Night 54, Raphael Assuncao proved to be the better man against Bryan Caraway. Can the Brazilian finally earn his title shot?

For complete UFC Fight Night 54 results, click HERE.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania