UFC on FOX 18 had plenty of quick finishes and mismatches on the card but at least one fight was so evenly matched that it was a knockdown, drag out war from start to finish.
It was a stiff test for the surging Jimmie Rivera, who had won his first two UFC fights before being thrown into the fire against veteran bantamweight Iuri Alcantara.
Rivera used constant pressure and mixed in takedowns in his attack against Alcantara, who for his part tried to use a reach advantage to counterpunch the stocky fighter.
Early tentativeness gave way to big right hands from Rivera in the first round as he bullied Alcantara against the cage and tried to cut the Brazilian off before he circled away.
In the second round Rivera pushed the pace, countering a knee with a pair of left hooks early on. Reacting quickly to Alcantara's strikes was a key part of this fight as whenever Rivera would get hit, he'd react with a quick combination to dispel any notion he'd been hurt. Rivera finished the second round by taking the back of his opponent and putting himself up two rounds on the scorecards.
With renewed urgency Alcantara looked to find a way to finish Rivera in the third round, landing kicks to the body and fishing for a kimura in a scramble. Rivera, however, prevailed in the exchanges and although he dropped the last round it was enough to win the fight 29-28 on all judges' scorecards.
The fight was also good enough to earn a $50,000 bonus for the combatants as "Fight of the Night."