After seeing a fight with Gregor Gillespie in March fall through, Brad Riddell had another solid lightweight opponent at UFC 263: Drew Dober. Though coming off of a loss to Islam Makhachev a couple of months back, Dober remained a ranked and imposing opponent at 155lbs.
Right off the opening bell, “Quake” showed that he was game to stand and trade. As did Dober, but it was Riddell doing damage first. Dober fired a left, Riddell landed a kick to the body, then Dober rocked Riddell, dropping him. Riddell made it up, only to be hit again and shoot for a desperation takedown. A wise move by Riddell, as he bought precious recovery time while working for the double-leg. Dober actually tried to upend him during the attempt, but couldn’t wrench him up. Instead Riddell stayed on it, dragging Dober down — but he was quickly back to the feet, with Riddell landing an elbow as they finally broke.
Back at range, there was more trading, with both men firing heavy shots. Dober punctuated a combination with a heavy low kick. Riddell connected with a hard left hook. Dober was a little more active at the end of the round, with Riddell firing single counters — but once or twice he landed flush on Dober, who appeared no worse for the wear.
These guys are THROWING 💣💣💣
— UFC (@ufc) June 13, 2021
Riddell connected with a left early in round two. He was looking to pick up where he’d left off right at the end of the third. But it was Dober tagging Riddell, who shot for a takedown that Dober pulled free of. Riddell clocked Dober. Dober fired back. Then Dober shot and landed a takedown, taking Riddell by surprise.
They wouldn’t stay down for long. Riddell had been bloodied. They continued trading, and then Riddell scored a takedown of his own. Riddell moved to mount but Dober recovered and escaped out. Both men connected upstairs. Both men landed to the body. Just a wildly evenly matched brawl, one that had the Arizona crowd ecstatic.
Round three opened with Riddell rocking Dober with a right. There seemed to be only one gear in Dober vs. Riddell, and that was high. With Dober hurt, he shot in for a takedown, but Riddell reversed. Dober landed a kick to the body. Riddell fired one back that was almost caught. That both men were still standing in the final minute felt miraculous. Riddell slipped off a high kick, and Dober seemed to back off, as if to say “I don’t want to win that way.” Riddell wobbled Dober late, and Dober shot out of sheer desperation! Riddell nearly had a crucifix arm-bar, but it seemed almost fitting that this one went the distance. Absolutely a bonus-worthy fight.
— UFC (@ufc) June 13, 2021
It’s cliche, but there were no losers when it came to Brad Riddell vs. Drew Rober at UFC 263. Except on the scorecards, which saw Riddell take the decision.
Official Result: Brad Riddell def. Drew Dober by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)