All-time UFC fights and wins record holder Jim Miller stepped back in the octagon at UFC Vegas 69, looking to add to those statistics at the expense of Alexander Hernandez.
Hernandez blasted open the door to the UFC lightweight division in his debut in 2018 by knocking out Beneil Dariush but has faced hard times lately, going 1-3 in his last four including a failed move down in weight for his last fight. Hernandez does possess extreme explosiveness but his losses have generally been associated with cardio issues later in fights, giving both him and Miller a realistic way to win the fight.
The bout opened with both men feinting heavily, Miller from his southpaw stance and Hernandez from orthodox. Over the next ninety seconds they slowly turned up the pace until fans saw Miller land a head kick that made Alex back up to the fence which led to them trading like mad in the pocket. The fight kept going and both men had success with their straight punching. Jim Miller did also have success with his lead hook, by extending the combination by one punch to catch Hernandez with his hands down. The fight stayed fifty-fifty for the rest of the round, with both men landing punches but not gaining dominance.
The second round began with Hernandez looking to pressure more. He landed a great left hand on Jim in the opening seconds. Miller began to look for a takedown, trying to run Alex into the clinch, but Hernandez stayed out of trouble. Jim Miller then looked to his classic low kick, but Hernandez caught him on one foot and hurt the veteran, who got back in the fight after a moment’s pause. Still, the second round was all Hernandez through about half of it, and then he still led for the rest. He pressured Miller back and landed all the big, clean shots of the round. Alex looked at his sharpest at that point, but he was not able to keep up the pressure and the fight began to trot all around the octagon once more. Hernandez still stayed in the lead until about one minute left in the round when Miller landed a clean combo, to which Alexander responded with an elbow on the chin. The fight sped up a mite for that final minute, but Hernandez was once again clearly leading the dance.
The final round saw Miller need to close a bit of a gap, though he may have won the opening round. But Hernandez came out swinging once again and landed early, reopening one of the cuts that the cutman had closed between rounds. One minute into the round Miller landed with a massive left hand and hurt Jim Miller. Hernandez attempted a takedown, perhaps an ill-advised one, and Miller looked to wrap up the neck. Alex withdrew after a moment of worry, and got back to striking. On the feet, Miller seemed to hurt Hernandez with a kick as one particular calf kick made Alexander’s leg wobble. Yet his cardio held up, he went away from massive shots trying to knock out Miller and stuck to a sharp jab which kept the veteran at bay.
Miller’s face was a mass of blood by the time there were two minutes left, yet not for a moment did he look bothered by it, even as Hernandez continued to slightly out-strike him. Hernandez did throw his right hand every so often, but he took something off of it, smartly looking to just land instead of trying to take Miller’s head off. With forty-five seconds left Hernandez threw a kick and got dumped to the ground, belly-down. Miller grabbed his back and looked to lock in a rear-naked choke. Hernandez was only just able to create an angle that allowed him to stay conscious, and when the time was right he slipped out of the choke and got on top. From top position in the last ten seconds, Hernandez threw as much ground and pound as he could until the bell sounded.
The scorecards were needed after fifteen amazing minutes of violence and so Joe Martinez stepped into the octagon to announce them. All three judges had the fight for the rightful winner, Alexander Hernandez, who earned a big win against a legend of the sport.
Official Result: Alexander Hernandez def. Jim Miller by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)