UFC Vegas 74: Alex Caceres Thrills in Back-And-Forth Decision Victory Over Daniel Pineda

Alex Caceres and Daniel Pineda, UFC Vegas 74
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 03: (R-L) Alex Caceres kicks Daniel Pineda in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Alex Caceres, a.k.a. Bruce Leeroy, entered his fight at UFC Vegas 74 with six wins in his last seven, the best seven-fight run of his UFC career. Sitting across from the number 15-ranked featherweight was Daniel Pineda.

Pineda returned from a two-year layoff to beat Tucker Lutz by guillotine earlier in 2023, but Caceres presented a much more experienced and dynamic test. He would prove too much for Pineda in the end.

Caceres came out southpaw against the orthodox Pineda to start the fight. Caceres used his bouncy, bladed stance to dance in and out of range. Pineda shot a quick takedown but got sprawled out and ended up on bottom in half-guard. He was, however, able to get back to his feet quickly. Pineda tried for a trip but ended up on bottom once again; he even almost got his back taken and got mounted briefly. From bottom he threw up a triangle but Caceres escaped. Pineda simply refused to lie down and give up; he got back to his feet once again, eating a strike on the way up.

Pineda’s leg kicks were effective from distance, but he always shot for the legs after one or two of them. He got in on a single leg halfway through the round but Caceres defended once again. Pineda then fell to his back after a failed trip attempt and pulled guard. Pineda grabbed an arm and locked it up extremely tightly, but Caceres somehow got out after being caught dead to rights. Back on the feet, Caceres landed a massive body hook, targeting the gas tank of Pineda which has been suspect in the past. Caceres hurt Pineda in the closing moments of the round but Pineda was able to end up on top in a wild scramble after dropping to his knees, but then the bell sounded.

Pineda came out swinging for the fences and wobbled Alex with a massive right hand to open the second round. Caceres fired back and ate more strikes while hurt, then Pineda switched it up and went for a takedown. He got it, but Caceres got back up and they clinched. Pineda landed a big elbow on the clinch break but Caceres turned him around and pressed him back. Daniel shot a desperation takedown and it did not start well but he ended up on top in the scramble. Caceres turned his back to try to get to his feet but ended up stuck in Pineda’s body triangle. However, ‘Bruce Leeroy’ was able to turn to face him and ended up on top for a bit, but Pineda kept the body triangle and was able to roll to gain the full mount.

Daniel fished for submissions while Caceres tried to get to the fence to get to his feet. Caceres was able to roll and regain full guard right before the bell sounded to end the round, presumably with the fight now tied 19-19.

The final round of this well-matched fight began with a big body kick from Caceres which hurt Pineda. Caceres pressed him but stayed measured as Pineda backed up to the fence, looking exhausted. Pineda timed a takedown attempt well but Caceres was able to defend it nonetheless and get back to striking. A big body punch from Caceres hurt Pineda again but he did not really press his advantage with volume.

Ref Mark Smith warned Pineda to fight back as his chin was forced to hold up through massive strikes like a clean head-kick. Caceres grabbed a rear body-lock and took the back of Pineda with a body triangle. Pineda somehow turned into Caceres and got back to his feet despite appearing exhausted in the final minute. On the feet, Caceres kept tuning him up slowly until Pineda suddenly swung and dropped him with a wild right hook right before the buzzer.

Despite the late knockdown, the damage differential in round three was so high that it appeared as if Caceres had done enough. The judges all were in agreement as they scored it unanimously, 29-28 for Alex Caceres.

Official Result: Alex Caceres def. Daniel Pineda by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)