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UFC Denver results: Mike Trizano edges Luis Pena via split decision

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting file photo

Conventional wisdom coming out of “The Ultimate Fighter 27” held that if Luis Pena hadn’t injured his foot in the quarterfinals, he likely would have won the lightweight tournament.

Mike Trizano won the tournament instead, and on Saturday night, he had the opportunity to prove he was indeed the best competitor to come out of the season.

Trizano and Pena tangled in the main-card lightweight opener of UFC Denver and it was a nip-and-tuck affair. But in the end, Trizano was just a bit too much for the fighter nicknamed “Violent Bob Ross,” as Trizano won via split decision, as the duo split 29-28 cards and Trizano too a questionable 30-27 as well.

“Feel a little better but there’s always work to be done,” Trizano said.

When the 6-foot-3 Pena was able to utilize his considerable height and reach advantage and land flashy strikes, he found success. That was the case in the clear-cut second round as he Pena used his striking to set up solid ground work.

In the first and third, though, Trizano managed to close the distance, use effective jabs, and keep Pena from getting his offense untracked, which was just enough to earn the decision.

Trizano, a Tiger Schulmann competitor, is now 8-0, while the American Kickboxing Academy’s Pena dropped to 5-1.

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