Roger Huerta’s game plan against Sidney Outlaw at Bellator 234 was a bit of a puzzle, and his over-reliance on kicks cost him the fight.
The co-main event of Bellator 234 in Tel Aviv, Israel featured UFC and ONE veteran Roger Huerta, once again looking to turn things around against the rising Sidney Outlaw. The card went down Thursday, but aired Friday on Paramount Network via tape delay.
Huerta opened on the outside, circling, but Outlaw almost immediately shot for a takedown, scooping his opponent up and putting him on his back. Huerta kept his guard closed, and high up the back. Outlaw dropped an elbow and controlled Huerta’s head with one hand. He then worked to step over his opponent, working to half-guard. Huerta managed to get a butterfly hook on the inside, stalling Outlaw briefly. However he eventually made it to mount, only for Huerta to scramble free. The next time they went down, just seconds later, Huerta reversed, getting a few short punches in on Outlaw. However, grappling was the story early, as Outlaw again looked to control his opponent by the cage and take him down.
Huerta would finish the opening round on his back. He’d be right back there early in the second, trying to throw elbows from bottom. A leg kick was the culprit. A scramble saw Huerta escape, but Outlaw wasn’t exactly against standing with him either. However Outlaw soon caught another leg off a kick and easily took the fight back down. Huerta would spend far too much time there, finally exploding out with just over a minute remaining in the second, only to be take down again, crammed up against the fence.
That led to a standup due to the lack of action, or namely the inability of Outlaw to either improve position or work for a finish. But yet another takedown followed, and Roger Huerta entered the third round badly in need of a finish. If you guessed his kicks were costing him the fight, you won a kewpie doll.
A finish for Huerta was not forthcoming in round three. Instead, Huerta was fighting off a takedown early thanks to a poorly placed kick, to no avail. He was planted on his back, with Outlaw trapping him along the fence. Huerta would scramble out, but he tried a kick that was once again caught. Deja vu all over again. Once again Huerta was taken down. Once again he broke free, but that took him to the ninety second mark. Another kick moments later was caught again; Huerta’s kicks were too slow, and too transparent. His continued reliance on them may not have cost him the fight, but they were certainly a big factor. Scratch that, they very much played a factor in costing him the fight.
Huerta has now lost all three of his Bellator fights in his current run. Outlaw, meanwhile, improved his current win streak to nine straight.
Official Result: Sidney Outlaw def. Roger Huerta by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)