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UFC on FOX 29 results: John Moraga wins heated scrap with Wilson Reis

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After losing a one-sided title fight to Demetrious Johnson in 2013, John Moraga was all but written off as a UFC flyweight championship contender.

But after winning his third consecutive fight in a tremendous back-and-forth bout with Wilson Reis on Saturday, the Phoenix native is back in the title picture.

Moraga won the first two rounds of the UFC on FOX 29 bout at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., then held off a furious Reis rally in the third to take the decision. The judges’ scores were 29-28 across the board for a unanimous decision.

“I fought hard, he fought hard, I hope you guys appreciated it,” said Moraga (19-6).

With the hometown crowd on his side, Moraga came out a house afire in the opening round. He used an effective jab and inside leg kicks to keep Reis guessing, then turned a front facelock into a guillotine that went to the ground and back before Reis finally managed to shake the hold off with a slam.

Both fighters had their moments in the second. Moraga landed a wicked flying knee which rocked Reis, but Reis managed to clear the cobwebs with a takedown, then transitioned into a rear naked choke, in what was a tossup of a round.

The third started off with a nifty scramble that ended up with Reis on top. They got back to their feet for a bit, but it hit the ground again and Reis took over from there. He got Moraga’s back, bodylocked him, and worked furiously for the choke, but Moraga managed to hold it off from the horn.

“He took me down, had some control time,” said Moraga. “But it’s a fight, I won the fight.”

The MMA Lab competitor improved to 8-5 in the UFC. Reis (22-9) has lost three in a row.