In a back-and-forth battle over three rounds, Royval managed to do more damage while staving off multiple takedowns from Rogerio Bontorin to eke out a split decision win. Two judges gave Royval the same 29-28 scores to help him secure the win while the third judge gave the fight 29-28 to Bontorin.
“I knew I was doing more damage but that motherf*cker was holding me tight,” Royval said about the decision. “I’m trying to get a $50g win but sorry, I f*cked up. I need finishes. I want to be the most exciting fighter in the flyweight division. I’ll do better.”
Facing off with a taller, longer fighter, Bontorin did a tremendous job closing the distance early and then bringing Royval down to the ground where he looked to display his grappling acumen. While Royval is well known for his scrambling ability, Bontorin made sure he had full control of his positions before looking to do damage or seek out submission attempts.
Back on his feet to start the second round, Royval began moving forward with an aggressive striking strategy as he looked to put Bontorin on his heels. Bontorin attempted to slow the pace with those same takedowns but Royval did a good job to stay out of danger or slip free before he ever got stuck on the ground for very long.
While the fight was close throughout all 15 minutes, Royval’s ability to land the harder and cleaner strikes on the feet helped him to sway the judges with Bontorin mostly attempting to win the grappling exchanges. That also nearly backfired in the third round with Royval snatching an armbar from the bottom that had Bontorin in trouble momentarily before he managed to slip free.
When it was over, Royval’s striking and elusiveness on the ground helped him to edge out Bontorin as he gets back in the win column after dropping his past two fights in a row.