A fun heavyweight scrap helped open the UFC 263 card, with Carlos Felipe coming out on top after 15 minutes.
Once upon a time, Jake Collier was a UFC middleweight. Five years removed from his last bout at 185lbs, however, and the Missouri native was 1-1 as a heavyweight in the promotion. On Saturday, he returned to kick off the main card against Brazil’s Carlos Felipe.
With neither man of the ‘chiseled physique’ variety, fans could consider this one the Battle of the Bulge.
Collier opened up fast, mixing in kicks to the body and down low. Felipe was more patient and looked to land the overhand right, but early it was all Collier, who seemingly had a large speed advantage. Felipe began targeting the body, however, and landed a hard left hand to the body followed up with a heavy right overhand. Felipe continued targeting the body and began backing him up to the fence. The main highlight of the round was the two throwing haymakers near the fence within the final seconds of the frame, to the roar of the crowd.
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Felipe began the second round by yelling and hyping up the crowd, but once again it was Collier doing good work early in the frame. Collier landed a good jab, then once again went low with the leg kicks, doing a great job of staying busy. Felipe kept taunting and trying to bait Collier into a war, but Collier was doing a good job of sticking to the game plan. However he was also fading. Felipe started to turn up the pressure and found a home for the right hand upstairs. Felipe landed a nice 1-2, and Collier responded with a labored knee up the middle. Collier threw a flurry that mostly missed, and Felipe landed a sneaky left hand to the body and went back to backing him up to the fence. The round came to a close with a nice step-in elbow by Felipe.
Felipe turned up the pressure in round three, opening up with a big combination and the tide seemingly turned entirely in Felipe’s favor. Collier shot for a takedown to no avail; Felipe went right back to landing big combinations, targeting the body as well. Felipe began working his jab more, however, Collier started to get a second wind. Collier landed a nice step-in knee and Felipe responded with a right hook that landed. The two heavyweights would go to the judges after winging shots in the final seconds. Felipe took home the split decision, in what turned out to be an entertaining fifteen minutes from the two big men.
Official Result: Carlos Felipe def. Jake Collier by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)