Joey Beltran kept his UFC career alive on Saturday night as he defeated Aaron Rosa via TKO at 1:26 of the third round at UFC 131. The bout was a wild affair from bell to bell with both fighters going toe-to-toe in exchanges, swinging wildly at each other in what many fans would consider a sloppy display of technical striking.
Beltran was able to take the first round, landing cleaner shots in the striking exchanges and pressing the pace. The second could have gone either way as Rosa, at one point, rocked Beltran and swarmed him along the fence before fouling Beltran with a groin shot. The third was a lopsided beating with Beltran bulldogging Rosa into the fence and manhandling him with powerful shots. He eventually dragged him to the ground, bombing him with blows before the referee stopped the contest.
Beltran entered tonight's contest on the verge of being cut from the promotion, riding a two-fight losing streak after dropping decisions to Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione at UFC Fight for the Troops 2 and UFC 119 respectively. He put away Rolles Gracie in his debut at UFC 109 and edged Tim Hague on the scorecards at UFC 110 before running into stiffer competition.
Rosa was once considered hot prospect in EliteXC's light heavyweight division, but consecutive losses to Jared Hamman and Jamie Fletcher under the ShoXC banner in 2007 and 2008 hurt his chances tremendously. After Strikeforce bought out EliteXC, Rosa was given another opportunity under their Challengers' banner, defeating Anthony Ruiz in his return to Showtime. Unfortunately, he was unable to get past eventual champion Rafael Cavalcante, succumbing to strikes in the second round of action. Rosa recently defeated notable heavyweights Devin Cole and Abe Wagner in action outside the UFC, and he seized the opportunity to fight Beltran after Lesnar's withdrawal shuffled the card.