UFC 302: Andre Lima Leg Kicks Key to Decision Over Mitch Raposo

Mitch Raposo and Andre Lima, UFC 302
Mitch Raposo and Andre Lima, UFC 302 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Dylan Napoleone/Cageside Press

Flyweight Mitch Raposo had accepted a short-notice opportunity at UFC 302 on Saturday, only for opponent Andre Lima to badly blow weight.

With Lima coming in a full four pounds over the flyweight limit, Raposo would be picking up some extra cash win or lose. Whether the miss would play a factor remained to be seen, but Lima danced his way to the cage on Saturday as UFC 302 kicked off.

UFC fans might remember Andre Lima as the victim of Igor Severino, who was DQ’d and later cut by the promotion after intentionally biting Lima back in March. That garnered the Brazilian ample sympathy, the weight miss not so much.

Lima had the obvious size advantage in the cage on Saturday, and led the action early, walking Raposo down and getting his attention with an early leg kick. That forced a stance switch; Raposo switched back after another kick landed 30 seconds or so later. The game plan was clear by the time a third kick landed. After a fourth, Raposo fired back with a combo, most of which Lima blocked.

Lima continued to work those low kicks, mixing in a knee up the middle about two minutes in. Raposo continued to dance on the outside, firing the odd flurry but struggling to get his own offense going for the most part. By the end of the round Raposo had switched stances a few more times, and was showing clear damage to both legs. In the final minute, he connected with a right hand, but wasn’t able to follow up with anything.

With two chewed up legs, Mitch Raposo headed to his corner, who iced the legs between rounds and advised him that he needed to be fast, and throw off his feints. The problem for Raposo, however, was that Lima stayed on him with those kicks, had taken little damage, and didn’t appear to be tired to any noticeable extent. Raposo did manage to apply a bit of pressure through the first two minutes, moving forward for a chance – but little came of it, and nary a takedown had been seen through a round and a half.

Both fighters had a moment to recover when ref Herb Dean paused the action to warn Lima for a finger poke that seemed to graze the eye; despite that warning Dean had to warn Lima twice more moments later. After the third warning in the round and second, very brief pause, Raposo finally drove into a takedown, completing it just momentarily as Lima was soon back to his feet.

Mitch Raposo came out in the third, pressing forward and firing a combo, trying to build on the little bit of momentum he’d finished the second round with. Still, Lima was in his face, firing leg kicks, and even adding one up high, blocked with an arm that later looked tender with a faint bit of redness to it. From there, Raposo looked to use his speed and get his hands going, and they’d battle to the final bell – but Raposo, having fallen behind early due to the calf kicks of Andre Lima, just couldn’t catch up.

Official Result: Andre Lima def. Mitch Raposo by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)