Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
The Contender Series veteran engaged in a three-round war with Gregory Rodrigues to kick off the main card and his ability to feed the Brazilian a steady diet of strikes over 15 minutes helped him edge out a hard fought split decision. Two judges scored the fight 30-27 and 29-28 for Petrosyan with the third official giving the fight to Rodrigues with a 29-28 score.
“To be honest I was confident I could finish him at any time but he’s a very tough opponent,” Petrosyan said after the win. “Big respect to him. I’m never ready to surrender and I’m always going to go to the end.”
Acting as the aggressor, Rodrigues was constantly moving forward but Petrosyan seemed comfortable fighting off his back foot as he continued to fire off strikes while nearing the cage. Rodrigues wasn’t backing off but he was being somewhat conservative with his shot selection with his right hand whizzing by Petrosyan’s head several times in the opening round.
While Petrosyan was peppering away with solid combinations, Rodrigues really started to unload with power punches after finding his range. Several stinging right hands blasted Petrosyan in succession but that confidence nearly cost Rodrigues as he left himself open for a couple of hard counter shots.
Rodrigues ended up being wobbled from a pair of left hands that clipped him coming in but he also refused to get out of the pocket as he kept firing away in every exchange. That also left him open to a slew of leg kicks that Petrosyan continued firing at him throughout the fight.
The back-and-forth battle continued until Rodrigues slammed home a huge head kick that crushed Petrosyan and left him open for a takedown from the Brazilian. From there, Rodrigues latched onto a rare Suloev stretch that appeared to locked in but Petrosyan resisted before eventually getting back to his feet.
Despite his nose being smashed and blood splattered across his face, Petrosyan continued to look for the knockout in hopes of pulling off the comeback as he started throwing blistering shots in succession as he sought to secure the victory.
While the fight could have easily gone either way it was Petrosyan getting his hand raised in the end as he moves to 1-0 in his UFC career while earning his third straight victory in a row overall.