Raphael Assuncao’s third straight victory was way more emphatic than his earlier two.

After edging Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes by break up determination earlier this 12 months, the 35-year-old scored a press release victory at Matthew Lopez’s expense on Saturday, flattening the prospect with a proper hand within the third spherical of their 138.5-pound catchweight bout at UFC Struggle Evening 120 in Norfolk, Va.

The victory – Assuncao’s first by knockout in over 5 years – improved the Brazilian’s UFC document to a strong 10-2 and gave him the gall to name for a rubber match with newly topped bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, the only fighter to beat him within the Octagon at 135 kilos, instantly following the official determination.

As has been the case all through his UFC run, Assuncao did not land a telling blow within the first two rounds, however he by no means ceded the reins to a promising, albeit uncooked expertise in Lopez. The veteran flashed his crisp boxing, stuffed Lopez’s takedown makes an attempt with ease, and chewed up his lead proper leg with blistering kicks for the bout’s first 10 minutes. Then he did the unfathomable: He let free.

Simply when he appeared destined to cruise to one more determination, Assuncao charged at a fading Lopez with an errant flying knee, then adopted it with a mix capped by the fitting hand that left his foe limp on the canvas on the 1:50 mark.

Lopez – who missed the bantamweight restrict by 2.5 kilos on Friday – falls to an excellent 2-2 within the Octagon with Saturday’s defeat. Each of his promotional losses have come by the use of stoppage.

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