Carlyle vs. Quarantillo was everything we’d hoped and then some; a wildly entertaining fight on one of the UFC’s better cards this year
A rare planned catchweight bout graced the main card of UFC Vegas on Saturday night. “The Alpha Ginger” Spike Carlyle was making his second trip to the octagon, after pulling off a big win over Aalon Cruz at UFC Norfolk earlier in the year. In an interesting bit of booking, Cruz’s teammate Billy Quarantillo was the man throwing down with Carlyle in the UFC’s return to Vegas.
And while Quarantillo told us during the UFC Vegas media day that he was trying to keep things business as usual, you know he’d welcome a chance to avenge his teammate’s loss.
This one was wild. Spuke Carlyle came out flying with the kick right off the opening bell. Charging across the octagon Jorge Masvidal style to deliver it. He then started to maul Quarantillo, taking him to the ground and dropping bombs. He took Quarantillo’s back and worked for a choke. Quarantillo defended well but Carlyle stuck with him; Quarantillo rolled but Carlyle got back to mount and dropped more shots on him. Quarantillo scrambled and was able to reverse the position and now it was Carlyle who had to defend. Impressively, Carlyle was able to turn into the body lock of Quarantillo and was on top again where he looked to land damage from inside the guard. Quarantillo worked back to his feet for a moment and seemed to consider going for a knee bar. But Carlyle quickly landed another take down and worked in strikes from the top.
Quarantillo escaped again and Carlyle walked away but the round wasn’t over! Quarantillo landed a punch from behind and followed it with a takedown to close the round. One had to wonder if that was fatigue, some sort of miscommunication, or if Spike just lost track of time.
"It's like a movie." 😅
— UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2020
If you thought round one was crazy, they weren’t done. Carlyle opened up the second round with a leg kick before the two exchanged lefts. Carlyle landed a stiff right then went for an elbow but Quarantillo spun around him and got the take down. Quarantillo worked from Carlyle’s back and briefly went for the choke but Carlyle spun into this guard and worked from the top. The fight became something like watching the spin cycle. Or the Tasmanian Devil. Quarantillo worked for a guillotine for a moment but Carlyle kept the pressure on and forced Quarantillo to give up on the attempt. Carlyle now landed punches on a downed Quarantillo. Quarantillo worked free for a moment but again Carlyle stuck with him, took his back and dragged him to the mat. The action continued fast and furious.
Quarantillo was able to work back to his feet and landed a stiff knee to the body of Carlyle that he followed up with a takedown of his own. Carlyle was quick to get back to his feet but this time Quarantillo stuck with him and worked against the cage. They separated and exchanged in the center of the cage but Carlyle caught Quarantillo’s leg and they went to the mat. It was Quarantillo however who went for a triangle choke, one that looked pretty tight. Carlyle slowly worked free from the submission attempt but Quarantillo wasn’t going to let him off that easy. He transitioned to an arm-bar attempt before Carlyle escaped that as well to end the round.
After two hard fought rounds, you’d have to figure the pair would slow a little in the third. And they did, if only slightly. Quarantillo took center and fired off a right hand but Carlyle ducked and spun to take Quarantillo’s back. Spike had his opponent down for just mere moments though. Quarantillo reversed and ended up on top of Carlyle, where he worked for mount. But Carlyle exploded to escape and took the back of Quarantillo, who in turn reversed and got on top. Quarantillo landed punches from there before Carlyle gave up his back. That led to a choke attempt from Quarantillo, but Carlyle broke free and ended up on top where he looked to land.
Quarantillo tried for another arm-bar from the bottom before he was able to work back to his feet. Again, Carlyle stayed with him and worked to secure another takedown— but it was Quarantillo who got the takedown on Carlyle and ended up on his back, where he worked to land punches and opened up Carlyle for a submission. Carlyle escaped to his feet and the two unleashed a flurry on each other to close out the round.
Swinging to the finish! 👊
— UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2020
A fight that at times had an absolutely dizzying pace could have gone either way with little complaint. A lot would hinge on how the judges saw the second round, with Spike taking the first, and Billy claiming the third. Ultimately, they awarded the bout to Quarantillo, but as cliche as it is, there were no losers in this one.
Official Result: Billy Quarantillo def. Spike Carlyle by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)