Heavyweights Don’Tale Mayes and Roque Martinez opened up a beleaguered UFC Vegas 14 card on Saturday. The Fight Night event, which aired on ESPN+ in the U.S., and TSN on Canada, lost three bouts between Friday morning and Saturday night. Saparbek Safarov vs. Julian Martinez, Eryk Anders vs. Antonio Arroyo, and Louis Smolka vs. Jose Quinonez were all last minute scratches — and that’s after Islam Makhachev fell out of the main event, only to be replaced by a game Paul Felder.
Mayes and Martinez, at least, made it to the party. Both fighters were coming off losses. In the case of Mayes, the Contender Series 2019 winner had lost both his UFC bouts to date.
Martinez opened up with a leg kick on the much larger Mayes. Mayes was happy to answer back with more than one of his own. Roque moved in with an overhand that landed, and would go back to that well again moments later. Martinez would struggle a bit with the size and reach advantage with Mayes, who was able to keep the shorter fighter on the outside. When Martinez did close the distance, however, he was able to land more than once. Say what you will about his physique, but Martinez also pulled off a nifty kick combo ending in a spinning kick. However, he was taken down at the end of the frame, with Mayes working from half-guard.
The second round saw Mayes warned for having his fingers extended. The ref had warned him several times in the opening round as well. Mayes later landed a step-in knee, but he was in danger of losing a point due to his lack of finger control. Undeterred, Mayes began picking up steam as the round wore on, laying into Martinez with a number of punches, which Martinez ate while covering up. Martinez would later work for his own takedown, but Mayes pulled free — then jumped into a flying knee that Martinez survived. Martinez would connect with an uppercut, but finished the round under siege.
The third round saw Martinez in need of a finish. With that in mind, he managed to get Mayes in a guillotine, but wasn’t in position, and Mayes was able to escape. Martinez would have his moments in the third, but tied up and controlled Mayes when he needed to be looking for a finish. Mayes would fire off another jump knee late in the round, but Martinez couldn’t be stopped.
— UFC (@ufc) November 14, 2020
Plenty of heart and a solid chin on the part of Roque Martinez — but the winner was clearly Don’Tale Mayes, who finally picked up his first UFC victory.
Official Result: Don’Tale Mayes def. Roque Martinez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)