Jonathan Martinez returned to the bantamweight division at UFC Vegas 55 on Saturday, riding a two-fight win streak that included a foray up to 145 pounds in his last fight.
While successful against Alejandro Perez, Martinez had spent most of his UFC career at 135, and was set to meet Vince Morales Saturday at the Apex — who had also won two straight.
The bantamweight duo looked to find their rhythm early, with one fighter finding it. That was Martinez, relying heavily on his kicks. He worked the body as well, and soon had Morales on the outside, back to the cage, using lateral movement to escape. Morales found a home for a couple of leg hooks. But Martinez stayed on his leg kicks, to the point that by the end of the round, Morales actually reached down to try and catch one. That was the signal to Martinez that the attack was working, and he finished the frame throwing a jump knee up the middle.
Morales looked to switch things up in the second, leading the attack. But soon enough, he’d eaten a couple more outside leg kicks. Martinez switched up his stance a few times, as did Morales, whose left leg was a deeper shade of red. The pair exchanged, both fighters landing. Martinez cracked the leg of Morales again. The leg kicks were preventing Morales from finding his rhythm, even as he soldiered through them.
A knee and a left finished off the round for Martinez, who stuffed a late Morales takedown attempt.
After two rounds, Martinez was ahead in the fight, and Morales hadn’t found an answer to his leg kicks. With his stance switches, Martinez had been able to attack both legs throughout the fight. Morales no doubt needed a finish in the third, but whether he had the mobility to pull that off remained a question.
Morales moved in early in the third, only to eat a couple of counters and make his exit. A left hand connected to the body for Martinez; Morales fired back, and Martinez landed a kick to the midsection. They’d end up going the distance, with Morales gutting it out — but there was never any question as to who was winning the fight. Care of a one-sided unanimous decision, Jonathan Martinez claimed his third straight win at UFC Vegas 55.
Official Result: Jonathan Martinez def. Vince Morales by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)