Performance bonus-winning machine, Vicente Luque, returned to action at UFC 265 tonight (Sat., Aug. 7, 2021), taking on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 winner, Michael Chiesa, in a pivotal Welterweight scrap. Luque — a dynamic stand up specialist — was riding a three-fight win streak coming into the 170-pound bout, while Chiesa — a grappling ace — had strung together four straight since returning to the division 2.5 years ago.
The winner more than likely would earn a title shot, or at the very least, a No. 1 contender eliminator match later this year. And, in the end, it was the “striker” who submitted the “grappler,” with Luque locking in a d’arce choke in the opening round to force a tap.
Both fighters touched gloves to get the action started, with Chiesa circling early from a Southpaw stance. Luque stood in the center of the cage and chased him in circles around the cage early. Chiesa fired off a jab, with Luque dropping a low kick that had “Maverick” off balance for a minute. Chiesa fired off a hard shot, but as usual, Luque just walked right through it and continued his hunt. Another left hand from Chiesa found its mark, opening a cut under Luque’s eye. Moments later Luque popped him with a hard shot that put Chiesa on his butt for a second, but then he was back on his feet securing a takedown. It wasn’t long before Chiesa had his back and was angling for a rear-naked choke. Luque rolled with great defense after Chiesa tried to transition to an armbar, and after a few precarious moments, he reversed position and quickly locked in a tight d’arce choke as Chiesa was in a seated position. Chiesa realized he was in trouble and rolled, ending up on his back with Luque still strangling him. In the ensuing scramble, Luque got a tighter grip on the choke and eventually forced a reluctant tap.
It wasn’t what anyone really expected, especially Chiesa. But, Luque proved once again that he is a fantastic finisher and, as a result, one step closer to a 170-pound title shot.
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