An anticipated chess match between two dynamic submission specialists quickly dissolved into a fast, wild striking affair. Diego Lopes kicked off UFC 295’s main card with a bang, stopping Pat Sabatini in a matter of minutes at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
Two talented grapplers can sometimes negate each other’s primary weapons, leading to a stand-up battle. Flashes of that were seen in the brief pay-per-view opener. Sabatini opened with long distance kicks but Lopes caught him in close. Sabatini tried to employ offensive wrestling, but Lopes shook him off before landing a tide-turning blow. Lopes swarmed Sabatini with punches, dropped him against the fence and finished him with ground-and-pound in under two minutes.
Lopes improved to 23-6 as a professional mixed martial arts fighter. He impressed in a losing effort against ranked UFC fighter Movsar Evloev in his debut before delivering consecutive first-round stoppage wins against Gavin Tucker and Sabatini. Sabatini (18-5) dropped to 6-2 in the UFC.
Lopes looked to be a very impressive prospect in the featherweight division and could be ready to test himself against fighters ranked in the UFC’s official featherweight top 15.
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