If you were looking for Waldo, you found him inside the octagon at UFC Vegas 63 on Saturday. There, Waldo Cortes-Acosta, a Dana White’s Contender Series winner, faced off with Jared Vanderaa in main card action.
Early on, Cortes-Acosta took some big swings, while Vanderaa hung on the outside. Vanderaa began landing kicks to the lead leg, mainly inside. Another big swing for Cortes-Acosta, who seemed to have one game plan in the early going: swing for the fences.
The Dominican Republic-born fighter would land some heavy swings in a combo shortly after, at least one right hand landing flush to the side of the head. Vanderaa wore that well, retreating but apparently no worse for the wear. Vanderaa, however, appeared out-gunned on the feet, and he spent a fair amount of time circling and retreating, though a calf kick hit home with just over a minute remaining, then another. Both times, Cortes-Acosta was wobbled, and mobility issues appeared to be looming. One more came in the final twenty seconds, and Cortes-Acosta switched stances in response.
Vanderaa continued to attack the lead leg of his opponent early in the second. Cortes-Acosta took another big swing, the crowd gasped in response — but he whiffed on the attempt. About a minute in, Cortes-Acosta landed a right hand, and went on the attack. But Vanderaa covered up, tied things up, circled off and escaped. Cortes-Acosta was limping, and began screaming at Vanderaa, upset with his leg being picked apart. Finally, the Dominican fighter checked a kick. The problem being, the other twenty were he hadn’t. The pair then tied up, and Vanderaa popped off a few short shots by the fence before breaking.
Back at center, Waldo Cortes-Acosta fired a leg kick of his own. Vanderaa connected with one of his own. Cortes-Acosta went to the thigh with a kick. Vanderaa went inside on the lead leg, then outside. Vanderaa ducked a punch, and landed a counter. They came together, phonebooth fighting for just a moment before the buzzer.
Vanderaa, who entered the night on a four-fight skid, stuck with the game plan to open the third. Chew up the leg, hamper the movement. An inside leg landed, and Cortes-Acosta had to catch his balance. Another leg kick spun him right around. A left hand landed for Vanderaa; Cortes-Acosta returned fire. Cortes-Acosta did a bit of showboating late in the fight, trying out some boxing footwork. Vanderaa answered with some moves of his own, but it was Vanderaa landing a left and following up with a leg kick. They traded kicks late in the round, and Vanderaa closed things out with a missed head kick.
With the significant strikes relatively close, the judges ultimately downplayed Vanderaa’s kicks, giving Waldo Cortes-Acosta the unanimous decision win. He maintains his undefeated record, improving to 7-0.
Official Result: Waldo Cortes-Acosta def. Jared Vanderaa by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)