A pair of featherweights at very different points in their fighting careers kicked off the UFC Vegas 20 main card on Saturday.
Alex Caceres, better known to fans as “Bruce Leeroy,” entered the fight just shy of the ten-year mark in the UFC. And impressive feat, made even more so by a recent string of successes, as Caceres entered the bout having won his last three straight.
On the other side of the octagon, at least to start, Kevin Croom — entering just his second fight for the promotion. Despite a lengthy career in mixed martial arts himself.
MMA loves characters, and both Cacares and Croom are full of personality. But it was the UFC veteran executing his game plan in the end.
The fight itself had a quick start on Saturday, with Caceres trying to pull off a side kick to the face right off the bat. Caceres went back to his kicks several times early before Croom closed the distance. That led to a battle for position against the fence, with Croom eventually reversing, but Caceres pulling free. Another clinch battle moments later saw Croom working for a trip/takedown, but Caceres showed his defense was up to snuff. It wasn’t until a slip off a knee attempt that Caceres found himself dragged down in a scramble. But it was Caceres getting the better of things, moving back to his feet after landing a couple heavy ground strikes.
Early in the second, Croom ate a check left hook, but was able to control Caceres in the clinch, and get the fight to the ground. With Caceres on his back, Kevin Croom was exactly where he wanted to be. Only, once he had the fight where he wanted it, he was forced to contend with an active ground game from Caceres, who threw up a triangle. The triangle was tight, but Croom gutted it out, and “Bruce Leeroy” eventually dropped the attempt, allowing Croom to move back into the driver’s seat. Caceres would free himself, but again, Croom stayed tight to him along the cage.
The third saw Croom walk into a punch or two early as he tried to close the distance. But the reality was that the former Hard-Hitting Hillbilly, now known as Kevin “Crash” Croom, was likely down two rounds. Getting inside on the lanky Caceres was crucial. Taking more and more damage, however, Croom was soon showing signs of fatigue. When they went to the ground with just under half a round remaining, it was Caceres on top. He’d finish the fight in control, earning a clear decision.
Official Result: Alex Caceres def. Kevin Croom by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)