Sacramento mixed martial artist Urijah Faber showed he's as dangerous on defense as he is on offense, scoring a dominating unanimous decision over bantamweight Iuri Alcantara on Saturday night as part of the main card at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston.
The Brazilian (28-5) started the fight with an aggressive assault on Faber (29-6), but the veteran MMA fighter recovered, then dominated the rest of the fight. The three judges favored Faber 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.
"The beginning of the fight was pretty intense, and he was catching me with some really big punches," Faber said. "In my corner between rounds, my jaw was hurting, and it (ticked) me off. I must've made some sort of mistake or slipped, and he ended up in a great position pretty quickly.
"Lots of respect for Iuri he's a tough guy, and it was a great fight. I'm going to relax with my family for a couple weeks and live the good life in Sacramento, then it's back to work preparing for whoever is next."
Faber likely put himself in the No. 1 challenger spot for either Renan Barao's interim UFC bantamweight title or Dominick Cruz's UFC bantamweight title. A matchup with either fighter would give Faber a chance at redemption as well as a title belt.
The 10-8 round from two judges was likely scored in the second round when Faber rained elbows and both fists onto Alcantara's head as he maintained a dominant mount for much of the round.
The left-handed Alcantara took down Faber within the first 10 seconds of the first round and had good positioning in the mount for the first two minutes, trying several submission moves while Faber struggled to escape the five-minute round.
Faber did escape, got into a clinch with Alcantara and threw him to the mat with two minutes left. From there, Faber took over. He started landing elbows and fists as fans at the TD Garden chanted, "U-S-A, U-S-A."
Faber smothered Alcantara for much of the third round and showed his defensive prowess again when Alcantara made a few last-minute attempts at submissions. Faber complained of a possible broken jaw during a post-fight interview but spoke just fine.
Mark Billingsley covers mixed martial arts for The Sacramento Bee. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.