Filipino-American Chris Cariaso is slowly climbing up the ladder in the tough flyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The California-based fighter dominated Danny Martinez in three rounds en route to a unanimous decision in the undercard of the UFC 169 yesterday morning (Saturday night) at the Prudential Center in Neward, New Jersey.
Headlining the UFC 169 card was Renan Barao’s fight against Urijah Faber for the undisputed UFC Bantamweight Championship title. Barao took the big ‘W’ with an emphatic first-round knockout. And like Barao, Cariaso displayed explosive skills in striking but Martinez refused to fight him toe-to-toe and resorted to clinching in most times of their 15-minute encounter.
All the three judges scored it 29-28 for Cariaso who took credit for his effective counter-striking and kicking.
Taking the fight on two weeks notice, Martinez could not do anything against Cariaso’s effective counter-striking so he changed tactics by resorting to clinching, but it proved futile as well.
Cariaso’s left and right combinations almost finished Martinez in the third but the latter again managed to bring the fight to the cage and prevent a looming knockout as time expired.
“I felt great about this fight,” Cariaso said. “My hands were really going and my jab was really working. (I’m) just a little frustrated because he was really working my legs. But I think working my jab really won me this fight. I wanted to use my wrestling defense to get out the cage a little bit more, but everything went according to plan.”
Cariaso, who improved his record UFC record to 6-3 and 16-5 overall, acknowledged his Filipino roots in his Facebook account although he did not elaborate.
“I am 1/2 filipino. I didn’t know it was a common name. Thats crazy. I hope to go to the filipines (Philippines) soon.”
Other UFC contenders with Filipino lineage are Light Heavyweight Brandon Vera and Middleweight contender Mark Munoz, who’s currently no. 8 in the 185-lbs division. Other Fil-Am fighters who saw action in the UFC where Philippe Nover and Eddie Yagin.
Tipped as the brightest Fil-Am prospect to win a UFC title is hard-hitting Robbie Lawler, who will take on Johnny Hendricks at UFC 171 on March 15 in Dalls, Texas for the vacant UFC welterweight title.
It’s a title fight that will see a new champion in the weight class for the first time in seven years after George St. Pierre vacated the division title following a close win over Hendricks.
Picture credit: Ultimate Fighting Championship