Edwin Figueroa writhes in agony after catching a low blow from Alex Caceres at UFC 143. Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Edwin Figueroa picked up a unanimous decision win over Alex Cacares on the preliminary card of UFC in a bizarre but entertaining fight. Cacares landed two brutal shots to the groin and Herb Dean took not one but two points from Bruce Leeroy, which was the difference in the fight. Figueroa badly hurt Cacares with a head kick in the first round, but spent the rest of the bout with Cacares on his back, looking for a choke. Nonetheless, Figueroa extends his win streak to two and Cacares must be wondering what just happened. The final scores were 28-27, 27-28, and 28-27 for Figueroa.
Cacares came out looking loose and landed a few shots early, but then it quickly took a turn for the worse when Cacares landed a low shot directly to Figueroa's cup. It was so hard you could actually hear the impact. Figueroa was very hurt from the shot, and he took a long time trying to recover. He did though, and the bout resumed.
Figueroa looked to be pressing more, but Cacares responded well and landed a bunch of shots. Figueroa turned it around with a huge head kick that dropped Cacares though, and he pounced on him looking to finish. Cacares held on and managed to get back to his feet, and managed to jump on Figueroa's back and lock in a rear naked choke. He was too high and had hooks though, and Figueroa slipped out. The same sequence repeated two more times, with Cacares briefly getting mount twice as well, but he was unable to finish before the end of the round.
Cacares opened the second with a nice front kick to the face, which appears to get Figueroa fired up. He started coming forward a lot more, but ended up eating a big kick from Bruce Leeroy. Unfortunately, Cacares landed another low blow and Figueroa was clearly hurt again. Edwin took close to his whole allotted five minutes, but managed to find the will to continue once again. Referee Herb Dean took two points away from Cacares for the shot, and the fight continued. Cacares knew he probably needed a finish now with the point deduction, so he went all out with kicks and strikes. Cacares got Figueroa down and took his back again, looking for the choke. Despite latching on a body triangle again, Alex was unable to sink in the choke. Figueroa reversed with 30 seconds to go, and Cacares looked for armbars and triangles, but there was nothing there.
Figueroa started the third stanza well, landing a couple of punches and a leg kick that briefly tripped up Bruce Leeroy. Both fighters exchanged strikes for a while, with Cacares looking for flashy stuff and Figueroa throwing leg kicks and hard rights. Cacares got Figueroa's back again, looking on a body triangle while the fighters were standing. Like the first two rounds, Cacares continually looked for the choke but couldn't find it. Cacares looked for an armbar which allowed Figueroa to reverse and land some shots on the ground. Alex continually looked for a triangle, but couldn't lock it up. Out of nowhere, Figueroa dropped for a kneebar, but that gave Cacares his back again. The fight ended there.
The 23-year-old Cacares entered this bout coming off his first UFC win, a unanimous decision over Cole Escovedo at UFC on Fox. He was looking to make it 2-0 at bantamweight. Figueroa was 1-1 in the UFC coming into the bout, his win coming over Jason Reinhardt and his loss being a fight of the night performance against Michael McDonald.