UFC 253 Results: Juan Espino Returns, Submits Jeff Hughes

Juan Espino and Jeff Hughes, UFC 253
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 27: (L-R) Jeff Hughes gets taken down by Juan Espino of Spain in their heavyweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Juan Espino needed all of a round to dominate and submit Jeff Hughes, earning his first UFC win in the process.

Heavyweight Juan Espino, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 28, returned to action Saturday at UFC 253. Espino was paired up with Jeff Hughes on the Fight Island card, with Hughes still in search of his first victory inside the octagon. Espino, meanwhile, had not fought since winning TUF 28 in November 2018 — nearly a two-year layoff.

Espino was very cautious in the opening minute of the bout, staying on his bike until he shot in for a successful takedown about a minute in. Hughes did a good job of defending, but he couldn’t stop Espino from dragging him down and then immediately moving into side control. Hughes wrestled his way back up but Espino dragged him down once again. Hughes worked his way to the cage, but picked him up and threw him down once again. Hughes tried to slide out the backdoor, but Espino jumped on him and got into side control quickly. Espino then went for the scarf hold and he got the tap almost instantly, great work by Juan Espino.

Juan Espino needed all of a round to show all the potential that he showed in The Ultimate Fighter. He looked like he was trying to make up for the lost time and he did exactly that by submitting Hughes. While an older heavyweight, Espino still has lots of potential to make some waves in the 265-pound division.

Official Result: Juan Espino def. Jeff Hughes via submission (scarf hold), Round 1 (3:48)