UFC 302: Niko Price Raises Hand Again in Rematch With Alex Morono

Niko Price and Alex Morono, UFC 302
Niko Price and Alex Morono, UFC 302 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Dylan Napoloene/Cageside Press

UFC veterans Niko Price and Alex Morono faced off in a rematch as part of the main card at Saturday’s UFC 302.

In their first fight, seven years ago, Price TKO’d Morono but had his win overturned to a No Contest due to testing positive for marijuana. As a result, both men must have accepted this fight feeling like they had something to prove. As sixteen and twenty fight UFC veterans, Price and Morono are both too far out to ever reach a belt, but they are both “anytime, anyplace”-type fighters. In this one, history somewhat repeated itself, though Price won by decision, not knockout.

Hopefully it will not get overturned after a drug test.

Morono started the fight well on the feet but Niko Price quickly caught a kick and took down Morono, but with a frustrating guard Alex was able to get a reverse crucifix on Niko, then take his back. However, Price shook him off and got on top, forcing Morono to use the fence to scramble up to his feet, where he ate an uppercut. Morono partially landed a spinning hook kick to the collarbone of Price, then hit him with a three-piece, gaining respect again. Even though he was on the back foot, Alex landed most of the clean shots to the chin of Niko in the final two minutes, maybe giving him a slight edge in the first round.

Morono seemed just a touch ahead to start round two, landing more and cleaner with his awkward style of striking pitted against Price’s big swings and explosive movements which Alex could roll with. However, he could not roll with everything, as he caught a right hand two minutes in, then got taken down by Niko while countering. Morono worked for an arm at from full-guard several times but could not lock up a submission, so he worked to stand up. Alex went for his own takedown but Price got on top and landed some slicing elbows, probably sealing the round for him.

Price came out round three aggressive but Morono fought back hard as well and it turned into a bit of a brawl. Both men got their lumps in during the third round as the pace stayed high in a way that seemed unsustainable. Niko made a statement with a monster uppercut halfway through the round, and then a takedown. Alex scrambled up with a nice bit of skill and pressed forward, but he began to seem tired soon while Price maintained energy and an intense offensive output. Niko was the one swarming forward for the last minute, ending the fight with a continuous yell for his presumptive victory.

Indeed, Price scored the decision on all three scorecards, with all judges scoring it 29-28, getting him back on a winning path.

Official Result: Niko Price def. Alex Morono by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)