For Raphael Assuncao, a fifth consecutive victory could move him right into a future No. 1 contender match.
Assuncao defeated T.J. Dillashaw Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 29 in a key bantamweight contest between ranked fighters.
“I did consider this to be a semifinal, with Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald in the other semifinal,” said Assuncao, of a fight set for December.
Currently, the UFC has two champions at bantamweight in Dominick Cruz and interim titleholder Renan Barao.
Assuncao (21-4) handed Team Alpha Male its first loss since Duane Ludwig took over as head coach, grappling with Dillashaw and using more powerful strikes. Dillashaw was the more effective striker, but the Brazilian appeared to do damage.
“It was a tough 15 minutes,” Assuncao said. “I tried to do my best,” saying that a swollen eye hurt his offense.