This is the UFC 201 live blog for Francisco Rivera vs. Erik Perez, a bantamweight bout at Saturday night's UFC event at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
Rivera, who has lost four of his past five fights, will face Perez, who has won his three of his past five fights, on the main card.
Check out the UFC 201 live blog below.
Round 1: Pair of intriguing 135-pounders here. Rivera likes a brawl, and Perez is known to accommodate. The third man is George Allen. They touch gloves. Perez circles early. Push kicks, before we get rolling. Nice combo there from Rivera. Both landed. Nice right hand counter from Rivera, and now a left hook. Perez so far not afraid to stand in front of him. Crazy. Right uppercut from Perez, and now he comes up top with a kick. Lot of patient movement from Rivera. And even more lightness on his feet from Perez. Leg kick from Rivera. Inside leg kick in exchange from Perez. Perez catches a kick, and lands a nice sequence there, pushing Rivera to the fence. They trade in the middle. And Perez lands a body punch, and he tries to take Rivera down. Knee to the body from Perez. And another one from Perez, this one of the flying variety. Rivera holds the center, and he lands big on a right hand but takes a counter square. Perez warming up. He's bouncing, and landing legs. Left hook counter from Rivera. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Rivera, 10-9.
Round 2: Perez to the middle. Leg kick from him, and Rivera comes over the op with a right. Inside leg kick from Perez, and Rivera goes down — but he pops back up. Frenetic here. Rivera with a leg kick, and he stalks forward. Perez plants and volleys a combo. They exchange kicks, Perez with one to the body. A lot of feinting by Perez. Backfirst from Perez that comes up empty. Rivera standing his ground. Not falling for anything, as they trade again, Perez getting the better of the exchange. Perez tries for a takedown, can't get it. Push kick from Perez, as some blood from a spinning elbow shows up on Rivera's head. Perez looking more fluid here. He's moving. A push kick from Rivera, and he comes up top and claps him with a couple of punches. High kick from Rivera, and Perez takes him down — for a moment, right back up. They are standing in front of each other. Perez wants to engage there. Trying to keep it that way. Nice exchange, and Rivera tries to take his head off with a left hook. Misses. Perez way more calculated on the exchanges, and lands a nice combo. Perez takes down Rivera towards the end of the round, on the fence. And Perez landing punches as he fishes for guillotine. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Perez, 10-9 (19-19 overall).
Round 3: They meet at the center, and go right at it! Crazy exchange. And Rivera nails Perez with some big shots. Damn! He punches to the point that he falls down — even though he had Perez staggered, it seemed. What a weight sequence. Punched himself down. And now Perez ends up on top, and they are beaking each other. Lots of blood flowing from the supine Rivera's head — a nice puddle. Perez continues his assault from that position on fence, and it might be that Rivera took himself out of this fight — both by being exhausted punching, and from general conditioning. Perez in control, and driving his head into the flailing Rivera. This looks like a long haul situation. Rivera tired. Referee is standing there watching, wondering whether he should stand them up. So far Rivera doesn't have the energy to change things, as the crowd boos. Perez landing enough offense — mostly to the body — to keep the referee safely at bay. Now Rivera trying to butt-scoot to his feet. He's on his butt on the fence, but Perez keeping him sitting. Inside of a minute. Now Rivera finally comes back to his feet, but too little too late? Perez holds him on fence, and they break. Rivera, wearing a crimson mask, comes forward, but can't do enough at the end. MMA Fighting scores R3 for Perez, 10-9 (29-28 for Perez)
UFC 201 official results: Erik Perez def. Francisco Rivera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28)