Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Tony Ferguson and Abel Trujillo battled for a spot in the top 10 last night (Dec. 6, 2014) inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There has been a fair amount of hype behind Ferguson for some time. If he managed to pull off a dominant victory against Trujillo, then it would be about time for him to get in the cage with a ranked opponent.
Though Trujillo hasn't yet earned a signature win, his brutal come-from-behind knockout of Jamie Varner definitely put the division on notice. After a match up with highly-ranked Myles Jury was scrapped, "Killa" finds himself in a war with a fellow up-and-comer.
Ferguson proved that Trujillo is still too green for the division's elite.
The first round was fought at a torrid pace. Early on, Ferguson looked to switch stances and land kicks, but an overhand from Trujillo sent him to the mat. Ferguson was quick to get back to his feet, but Trujillo turned his flurry into a brief takedown.
Later in the round, Trujillo landed another powerful double leg. Ferguson attempted to play rubber guard but ate some vicious power punches for his trouble. Ferguson began taking control of the stand up near the end of the first round, but it was not enough for him to take back the round.
"El Cucuy's" face was seriously battered up.
Trujilo's earlier flurries had clearly tired him out. He swung hard early but missed often, as Ferguson continued to dig in with kicks. Trujillo then attempted to turn the fight into a wrestling match -- which at first was not successful -- but Ferguson gave up top position while looking for submissions.
Before long, Ferguson had reversed position and began doing some serious damage from the top. While he attacked with punches, Ferguson also frequently mixed in submission attempts. This time, he prioritized position over submission, and wore his opponent down from back mount.
Allowing him to lock in the rear naked choke.
This was a strong performance for Ferguson, even if he still made some fairly serious mistakes. Thankfully, Ferguson's toughness and excellent grappling skills earned him the victory.
It certainly helped that Trujillo gassed about four minutes into the first round.
Ferguson consistently makes some terrible choices while he fights. He routinely gives up position in pursuit of low percentage submissions. In this fight, it gave Trujillo a chance to rest and let the powerful puncher land some hard shots.
Against the truly elite, Ferguson cannot make mental errors. Still, Ferguson has earned a ranked opponent, such as Jorge Masvidal.
Trujillo has yet to really evolve as a fighter. He still has huge power -- and in fairness, his striking has gotten a bit better -- but his conditioning leaves quite a bit to be desired. Similarly, his explosive wrestling begins to evaporate as he gets tired, which happens fairly quickly.
If Trujillo can correct those issues, he'd be a serious challenge to just about anyone with his physical tools. For his next opponent, I'd like to see Trujillo face off against Bobby Green.
At UFC 181, Trujillo fell to the grappling assault of Tony Ferguson. How high can "El Cucuy" go in the crowded lightweight division?
For complete UFC 181 "Hendricks vs Lawler" results and play-by-play click HERE.