UFC St. Louis: Robelis Despaigne Falters in Step Up Against Waldo Cortes-Acosta

Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne, UFC St. Louis
Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne, UFC St. Louis face-off Credit: Youtube/UFC

Heading into UFC St. Louis on Saturday, heavyweight Robelis Despaigne had spent 37 seconds in the cage over his last four fights, including his UFC debut. Against Waldo Cortes-Acosta, he surpassed that mark, in what served as a definite step up in competition.

As always, Despaigne came out swinging, hands down. A head kick (blocked) and a couple of punches were answered with a takedown by Waldo Cortes-Acosta, who definitely appeared a little shell shocked prior to landing the attempt.

Once Cortes-Acosta had the Olympic bronze medal winner on his back, he took his time; Despaigne took advantage of that to shrimp to the fence. Cortes-Acosta then seized on the arm of Robelis, locking in an Americana that at least for a moment appeared treacherous.

Cortes-Acosta couldn’t take advantage and finish the attempt however, though he built up some control time and spent the bulk of the round in the driver’s seat.

Round two, the first of Robelis Despaigne’s career, opened with an exchange of kicks. Cortes-Acosta looked to change levels for a takedown, which Despaigne initially fought off. They came off the fence swinging, a former pitcher versus a former Olympic Taekwondo artist. Despaigne backed Cortes-Acosta up, and connected with a couple of uppercuts and hooks. Waldo fired back with a heavy shot of his own; the more important shot was a takedown that landed with over two minutes still on the clock. It also left Cortes-Acosta in mount.

Yet despite sitting – literally – in mount for basically a full minute, Cortes-Acosta was unable to find the finish, and they went to round three.

The third opened with Despaigne landing leg kick after leg kick, with some authority. Cortes-Acosta did a little showboating, but there was no question those kicks were effective. Despaigne then landed a front kick to the face that Cortes-Acosta ate, displaying a granite chin. But just as Robelis Despaigne was coming on, Cortes-Acosta landed another key takedown. And given Despaigne’s inability to get back up in the first two rounds, the writing was on the wall.

It wasn’t a memorable fight, but it will be a learning experience for Despaigne, who had knocked out Josh Parisian in his debut.

Official Result: Waldo Cortes-Acosta def. Robelis Despaigne by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)