John Moraga takes controversial split decision over Dustin Ortiz
The flyweight division almost had a legitimate new contender. But the judges thought differently.
Using some suffocating wrestling, Dustin Ortiz seemed to get by John Moraga by decision on Wednesday at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Except those scoring the bouts ruled it a split decision in favor of Moraga (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Ortiz (12-3), who came in ranked No. 15 to Moraga’s No. 4, seemed to clearly win the first and third rounds, using takedowns to stymie Moraga’s explosiveness. The decision brought groans from the crowd.
It seemed like Ortiz had sealed the win after losing the second round with a takedown with 10 seconds remaining in the fight. He scored a takedown earlier in the round and hurt Moraga with a combination as well.
The Tennessee native grinded out the first round, getting Moraga (14-2) up against the cage and taking him down. He remained in top control for the majority of the five minutes. The crowd, not super enthralled by the action, passed time by chanting “Woooo!” with WWE legend Ric Flair sitting cage side.
Moraga found some new life in the second round. He dropped Ortiz with a big right hand and eventually found his way to the Roufusport fighter’s back. Ortiz did a nice job sliding out of a rear naked choke and ended up on top. But it was a clear round for Moraga.
Moraga, who had not fought since falling to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in July, has now won three of four UFC fights. Ortiz, coming off a win over Jose Maria Tome in November, was unable to start a winning streak.