Photo by Scott Petersen via MMA Weekly
Francisco Rivera should be worried about his contract status after Reuben Duran sunk in a rear naked choke at the 1:57 mark of the third round to win in his debut with the UFC.
Rivera opened up the first round with a tight guillotine choke after Duran shot for a takedown. It was in very deep, but Duran was able to shake him off and briefly keep Rivera down from top control. Rivera regained his feet, sinking in another guillotine choke from a standing position at the two-minute mark. Duran shrugged it off in the scramble, resetting his stance and pressing Rivera to the fence.
In the clinch, Duran unleashed powerful Muay Thai strikes with combinations of knees and punches. Both men swung for the fences in the clinch war with Duran getting the better of Rivera. Duran tried to take down Rivera later in the exchange, but pulled guard into his own guillotine attempt. Rivera slipped out and blasted Duran with brutal ground and pound while Duran attempted to latch onto a limb to transition to an armbar or triangle choke.
After a minute of pawing in the second round, Rivera blasted Duran with a mean straight punch, overhand right combination. Duran responded with a couple of choice shots to the chin of Rivera. Duran shot in for a takedown after a brief stoppage for a groin shot, and Rivera once again attempted to guillotine Duran. Duran slipped out, punishing Rivera on his back from an open guard. Duran transitioned to side, then mount briefly, and Rivera turned over, giving up his back in the process. Duran took the back, slapping on a body triangle and beating up Rivera to the horn.
More of the same in the third as Duran gained a takedown early and transitioned to side control immediately. Duran briefly positioned himself into a mounted crucifix, then transitioned to the back when Rivera bucked him. Immediately, Duran slips the arm under the chin and taps Rivera via rear naked choke.
Duran entered the contest with a 7-3-1 record, losing his debut in the UFC at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann back in March to Takeya Mizugaki via split decision. He had previously rattled off four straight wins in the California regional scene, finishing three out of four of his opponents during that streak.
Rivera also lost his debut with the UFC to the rising Erik Koch via TKO at WEC 52 in November. Tonight was his debut under the lights of the UFC.