UFC Kansas City: Gaston Bolanos Victorious in Debut Against Aaron Phillips

Aaron Phillips and Gaston Bolanos, UFC Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - APRIL 15: (R-L) Gaston Bolanos of Peru kicks Aaron Phillips in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at T-Mobile Center on April 15, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

One of two newcomers on the UFC Kansas City card, Bellator vet Gaston Bolanos made his octagon debut opposite the returning Aaron Phillips in a bantamweight match-up.

Known as a purveyor of flashly spinning attacks, Bolanos had what on paper was a favorable match-up with Phillips, who had not competed since a loss to Jack Shore in July 2020.

The fight started off with a blasting straight right hand from Bolanos. Bolanos wasn’t landing anything clean with the kicks but was keeping Phillips on the outside. Over the course of the round Bolanos found his range with his right hand. More than a few times he landed that right as Phillips wasn’t moving his head nearly enough. Bolanos mixed up the patterns with his kicks going to the body and the inside leg. A clear round for Bolanos as Phillips never got started.

In round two Phillips took the advice of his corner and shot for a takedown right away. Bolanos seemed like he could’ve escaped but tried to take the back, and instead ended up on his back. Bolanos was able to quickly get back to his feet. Bolanos worked with his kicks before Phillips exploded forward and got the trip then went right into mount. Phillips did end up taking the back going for the RNC. Bolanos fought the wrists well and escaped the body triangle, scrambling back to his feet. Bolanos did land some good punches standing over Phillips. The round ended with Phillips against the cage and Bolanos landing a lot of volume making up for lost time.

In the final round, both men were visibly tired and their striking was more labored. Not even a minute in Phillips shot in on a single leg. Bolanos defended it and as Phillips tried to take the back Bolanos landed on top. Bolanos was very active in the guard landing a ton of ground and pound. When they returned on the feet Bolanos threw that sloppy spinning elbow allowing Phillips to time a takedown and take the back. Phillips had the body triangle in for the last bit of the round, but ultimately it made no difference.

Official Result: Gaston Bolanos def. Aaron Phillips by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)