Coming off a losing effort challenging for the flyweight title, John Moraga took on Dustin Ortiz on the main card of UFC Fight Night 35. Ortiz put the former contender on the defensive through the first round with top control. Moraga recovered in the second with a knockdown and a submission attempt. After a very close third round, Moraga was able to take home the split decision.
Ortiz landed first with an overhand right, but Moraga was unfazed. OrtizMoved in for a takedown and trapped Moraga with his back against the cage. After struggling in the clinch, Ortiz scores the takedown. Moraga did well to control his posture and minimize damage. Ortiz worked from top position for the rest of the round, but Moraga's defense kept him from achieving much.
Moraga started to find his rhythm early in the second round. He worked Ortiz with leg kicks before landing a big left hook that dropped him. Ortiz dove for a desperate single leg, but found himself taking punishment against the cage instead. Ortiz tripped trying to move away and Moraga followed him to the ground. After surviving a rear naked choked attempt, Ortiz reversed into top guard position. Moraga scrambled out and back to his feet. Another big left hook from Moraga in the first exchange. Takedown attempt from Ortiz lead to him taking Moraga's back in the closing seconds of the round.
Moraga looked to keep the fight standing in the final round and sprawled out of Ortiz's first takedown attempt. Despite his success standing in the second round, Moraga struggled to find his range in the third frame. Moraga transitions from a takedown attempt to a knee to the body Ortiz lands a solid combo on Moraga after catching a low kick. He followed that up with a takedown and a quick move into half guard. Moraga returned to his feet and came forwarded aggressively, but that led to Ortiz getting a back clinch and ending the round on top.
John Moraga takes the split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29) over Dustin Ortiz.