Erik Perez was smiling at UFC Fight Night 42 in his adopted home of Albuquerque, and it was quite a moment to behold. By midway through the second round, "Goyito" was tapping to a rear naked choke, though. Bryan Caraway was able to score the submission victory over Perez at the 1:52 of the second round.
The first round was back and forth, as the 29-year old Caraway was able to take Perez down just as Perez came in for a knee. As Caraway got his back and went for a rear naked choke, Perez was able to spin out and end up in top position. When they got back to the feet, Perez picked Caraway apart with a couple of high kicks and knees.
In the second, Perez pressed for a takedown, but ended up leaving himself vulnerable in the process. Caraway ended up with the takedown, and swiftly worked to get Perez's back, with a body lock. He was able to sink the choke moments later, and force the 24-year old Mexican fighter Perez to tap.
The party-pooper Caraway, amidst a sea of boos, dedicated the win to his brother, T.J., who was celebrating his birthday.
"He's a really tough guy. I realized he was working with Ricky Lundell, one of the best grappling coaches in the world and I could tell they had prepared for me taking his back, he was real hard in the first round. But it was just perseverance, keeping that drive and never giving up."
With the victory, Caraway has now won five of six fights in the bantamweight division, and improves to 19-7.
When asked who he would like to face next, Caraway made a list.
"I'm 4-1 right now and I lost a split decision to [Takeya] Mizugaki in Japan that I thought I won, so in my eyes I'm 5-0," he told Jon Anik. "I'd love to fight Michael McDonald, Eddie Wineland, any of those top guys man. I'd love a a crack at any of those guys and a title."
The Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter Perez falls to 14-6 with the defeat, and has now lost two out of three.