Tavares earns first stoppage since 2011
After fourth consecutive UFC win, Waiakea grad calls out Bisping
Krzysztof Jotko left his chin up, and Brad Tavares was happy enough to put him down.
Tavares, a 2005 Waiakea graduate, added a touch of pizazz to his fourth consecutive mixed martial arts victory Saturday, finishing Jotko in third round of their middleweight bout at UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale, Ariz.
It was the 30-yearold’s first stoppage victory since 2011.
“I feel like I’m one of the best strikers in the 185 division,” Tavares said. “I’m fast, explosive and I hit hard.”
Tavares (17-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) used his right hand to control much of the fight, and he dropped Jotko (19-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) with a huge right flush to his chin, pouncing on his opponent with a barrage of hammer fists to earn a TKO at 2:16 of the final round.
“I always envision my hand raised at the end,” Tavares said. “I really felt I was going to get the finish. I felt I was the superior fighter.
“I was ready for wherever the fight went. At the end of the day, the right hand did the trick.”
The 13th-ranked Jotko lost his third bout in a row, and it was clear after the fight that the 15th-ranked Tavares is tired of appearing on preliminary cards.
During the postfight interview on Fox, Tavares called out former middleweight champion Michael Bisping – who was providing analysis on the telecast – inviting him to a tussle at UFC 226 on July 7 in Las Vegas.
“I just ran into him in the green room,” Tavares said later in his news conference.
For the most part, Tavares said he kept it respectful.
“I told him, ‘You need an opponent for your final fight, let me give you your walking papers,”’ Tavares said.
“That’s the fight I want. That’s the fight I’ve always wanted.”
Tavares’ first stoppage was against Phil Baroni at UFC 125 in 2011.
• Dustin Poirier stunned Justin Gaethje with a hard left hand in the fourth round and won by technical knockout a UFC lightweight fight.
The fifth-ranked lightweight, Poirier (23-5) bloodied Gathje in the first round and finished him off with a flurry early in the fourth to move a step closer to a title fight.
Gaethje (18-2), from Safford, Arizona, had the crowd support and landed a series of punches in the second round after a shaky first. He won the third round on all three scorer’s cards despite a point deduction, but couldn’t avoid Poirier’s left hand in the fourth to lose his second straight fight after opening 18-0.
Alex Oliveira filled in as a replacement against Carlos Condit in the co-main event after Matt Brown tore his ACL. The 30-year-old Brazilian earned the biggest win of his career in the desert on two weeks’ notice, forcing the former interim welterweight champ to submit with a second-round guillotine choke hold in a fight that bloodied both fighters.
Up and comer middleweight Israel Adesanya of New Zealand won a split decision over Italian Marvin Vettori. Michelle Waterson opened the main card with a split-decision victory over Maui’s Cortney Casey in a technical straweight fight.