Having dropped his last two fights and sporting a 1-3 record inside the octagon, Vince Morales was another fighter on the UFC 265 card badly in need of a win.
Drako Rodriguez, his opponent in the preliminary card bantamweight scrap Saturday, was in less dire straights — having lost his promotional debut after winning his way in on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Rodriguez also went by the nickname “The Great Drakolini,” so bonus points for that.
No glove touch for these fighters. Morales marched Rodriguez down in the opening moments of round one. Morales threw a 1-2 but only landed one of the punches. Rodriguez landed a heavy jab. Morales landed a hook to the body and then followed it up with a body kick. Morales landed an overhand right that got Rodriguez’s attention. Two minutes left in the round, and there wasn’t much action. Rodriguez landed a partial right hand. Morales almost landed a heavy right hand. Morales shot for a takedown, but Rodriguez defended to end the round.
Round two started, and both exchanged men punches. Rodriguez threw a low kick and Morales a right hand that sat Rodriguez down. Morales followed him to the ground but let him up. Morales landed another heavy right hand. Rodriguez got a takedown, but Morales popped right back up. Rodriguez put Vince against the fence and put him on the ground – Morales popped back up yet again. Morales landed a partial 1-2. Morales landed a great combo to the body and finished with a 1-2, capped off with a hook. Rodriguez threw a kick, but Morales caught it and fired back with a punch. Rodriguez landed a perfect hook that stung Morales to end round two.
Both fighters touched gloves to start round three, making up for the opening round. Morales landed a combo to start it off. Rodriguez barely missed on a counter that would have hurt Morales. Morales landed a punch that backed Rodriguez against the fence but Morales let up. Rodriguez shot for a takedown but Morales stuffed it. Morales shot for a takedown with less than two minutes left and Rodriguez defended that. Morales really let his hands go in the last minute of the fight, landing punches, and a heavy hook. Both fighters exchanged combos to end the fight. Come the scorecards, it was a clear decision for Morales, with two judges awarding Drako Rodriguez a single round.
Vince Morales quite possibly saved his job Saturday, and got back into the win column.
Official Result: Vince Morales def. Drako Rodriguez by unanimous decision (30–27, 29–28, 29–28)