Raphael Assuncao and Matthew Lopez collided at UFC Fight Night 120 tonight (Sat., Nov. 11, 2017) inside Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., airing live on FOX Sports 1. Assuncao has only lost in recent years to TJ Dillashaw, and Lopez wasn’t going to change that tonight, as we found out.
Assuncao came out feinting, but ate a body kick-rear-handcombo from the southpaw Lopez. Lopez threw his left to the body. Lopez tagged Raphael with another left straight. Assuncao rushed in with a combination. Lopez slipped a right straight and landed his own hook, then both men landed in the pocket. Lopez kicked the outside of Assuncao’s lead leg. Assuncao had take the center of the cage but Lopez still had space to work. Assuncao moved in with a combination but Lopez slipped and landed a hook. Lopez avoided a slow wheel kick from Raphael. They both connected in an exchange, Lopez with his hook and Assuncao with his right straight. More fenting. Lopez missed on a combination but rolled under the return punches. Really impressive defense from Lopez, who looked a little looser in the striking exchanges. Assuncaco threw a hard high kick, moved in and Lopez ducked under for a bodylock and took Assuncao down. He was in top position for maybe ten seconds before Raphael got back to his feet.
Lopez feinted to open round two. Lopez threw at the body but it was short. Assuncao countered a left straight with a nice overhand, stumbling Lopez briefly. A left hook connected for Assuncao. Lopez ate a hard inside leg kick, the third Assuncao had thrown. Lopez ducked in for a bodylock but couldn’t finish the takedown despite tenacious chain wrestling. Lopez was trying to lead and was getting countered now; the commentators kept talking about how bruised up his lead leg was becoming. Assuncao landed to the inside of that lead leg once more. Lopez tried to feint inside. Assuncao threw a body kick, then got staggered for a second by a right hook from Lopez; he got right back after Lopez. Assuncao looked far more commanding than in the first round. Lopez blocked a high kick as the round ended.
Assuncao immediately opened the third round with another inside low kick. Lopez looked to tie up inside, but nothing doing. Assuncao moved in when Lopez switched stances; when he switched back Raphael nailed him with another inside low kick. Lopez tried to set up a shot but Assuncao stuffed it. He smashed Lopez’ leg again, threw up a flying knee that missed, and flurried off the missed knee. He connected on the chin with a hook and Lopez went straight to sleep! What a comeback win for Assuncao! It took him a round to work his way into the fight, but once he dialed in that inside leg kick he just kept chipping away until it gave him the fight-critical opening.
Assuncao says he feels pretty good, and says he wants a trilogy with TJ Dillashaw. He says he thinks he has earned it. He thanked his coaches and his brother Freddy, and asserts that Freddy deserves a shot at the UFC. He says Lopez is a tough guy, then wished all the veterans a happy Veterans Day. This makes three straight for Assuncao, who remains the dark horse contender of the bantamweight division.
Official result: Raphael Assuncao def. Matthew Lopez via knockout at 1:50 of round three
For complete Fight Night 120 results, including play-by-play, click here