The lone fighter to miss weight for UFC 288 kicked off the card on Saturday in Newark, NJ, as middleweight Joseph Holmes took on Brazil’s Claudio Ribeiro.
Missing the mark by three pounds, “Ugly Man Joe” was on thin ice having entered the bout on a two-fight skid.
Holmes opened the fight with some heavy kicks, then landed an early takedown, though Ribeiro didn’t stay down long. When they came back up, Ribeiro pressed Holmes into the fence; he later reversed, launching a couple of knees to the thigh and body of the Brazilian.
From that point on, the fight became considerably one-sided. After a good chunk of time on the cage, a Ribeiro kick took Holme’s leg out from under him, and nearly clean off. Ribeiro followed up with a few punches, and landed a takedown on Holmes, who had started strong but was seeming to fade. To that end, Holmes appeared to have escaped danger on the ground, only to slip back down and later give up his back to Ribeiro.
With Holmes carrying his opponent’s weight, Ribeiro rained down blow after blow. It felt like the fight was over, with Holmes soon flatted out and covering up, but the horn sounded before the stoppage came, giving Holmes a chance to fight on.
Holmes ate another nasty kick to open round two, with Ribeiro then clinching up. Holmes reversed on the fence, but as in the first, could not do much with the position beyond landing a few knees. Near the midway mark of the round, Ribeiro exploded with a huge right hand, connecting, though Holmes survived that blow. A big knee sent Holmes down shortly after, however, and Ribeiro let loose with lefts and rights while standing over his fallen foe, who could do nothing but cover up.
Now THAT is how you kick off fight night!
— UFC (@ufc) May 6, 2023
Official Result: Claudio Ribeiro def. Joseph Holmes by TKO, Round, 2, 3:21