James Vick took another step up the lightweight ladder Sunday night.
The Texas native returned home to meet Francisco Trinaldo in a battle of ranked competitors at UFC Austin. A wild opening round was followed by a methodical second and third, which was enough for Vick to get the nod. The judges’ scores were 29-28 across the board for a unanimous decision.
Vick landed body kicks from the outset as he pushed the pace in the opening round. He eventually dropped Trinaldo with a big right. But after it hit the ground, Trinaldo managed to maneuver into a tight choke. Vick escaped, then resumed landing big strikes once the fight got back standing.
After the bout, Vick indicated he dislocated his pinky during the fight, which might explain the noticeable change in pace over the fight’s final two rounds. Vick threw more kicks, fewer punches, and did his best to dodge Trinaldo’s bread-and-butter overhand left, which Trinaldo threw often over the course of the bout.
“I was trying to get the finish,” Vick (13-1) said. “I dislocated my pinky and was trying to snap it back in place during the fight. I know he saw it. I was trying for the finish, but you don’t always get it.
The victory was Vick’s fourth in a row, as he improved to 9-1 in the UFC. He says he’s got the lightweight division’s big dogs in his sights.
Trinaldo (22-6) has dropped two of his past three.