Yordenis Ugas scored a split-decision victory over Abel Ramos Sunday night to win the WBA Welterweight Championship in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“I set a goal when I was a child back in Cuba to become a world champion and I accomplished that goal tonight,” said Ugas. “I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. Ramos was a very tough opponent and I knew it was not going to be easy, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away.”
Ugas set the tone from the outset, peppering Ramos with his jab early and often, as he would throughout the ensuing 12 rounds. Off of his jab, Ugas was able to slowly expand his offensive arsenal and keep the typically aggressive Ramos off-balance and unable to charge forward.
After the feel out first round, Ugas landed 10 jabs or more in the next 11 rounds according to CompuBox. In total, Ugas threw a career-high 504 jabs, landing 160, also a career-high.
In round three, Ramos landed a left hook at the end of an exchange that appeared to buckle Ugas, but he was unable to hurt Ugas on his follow up attack. By round four, Ramos’ left eye began swelling from the onslaught of jabs and right hands.
Ugas continued to mix up his attack as the fight wore on, dragging Ramos into the center of the ring for big exchanges at the end of rounds five and six. In round nine, Ugas began to fight from a closer distance and focus even more on attacking the body, even though he took some return fire from Ramos for his troubles.
While Ramos was able to rock Ugas late in round 12, Ugas was able to make it to the final bell to claim a split decision victory, and the WBA title, with scores of 117-11 for Ramos, overruled by two cards of 115-113 for Ugas.
“I came into this fight in the best shape of my life and it showed,” said Ugas. “Now that I’m a world champion, I want all the big names in the welterweight division.”
In the co-main event, sensational prospect Jesus Ramos (13-0, 12 KOs) delivered an impressive second-round knockout of previously unbeaten Esteban Garcia (14-1, 6 KOs) in their super lightweight showdown.
The 19-year-old nephew of Abel Ramos, Jesus Ramos continued to flash the considerable power that has helped him earn a 92% knockout rate in his early pro career. Ramos used his jab early to try to find the distance for his offense, while Garcia had some success countering his aggressive opponent in the first round.
In round two, Ramos found a lane for a big left hand and immediately buckled Garcia with the powerful shot. Garcia was able to stay on his feet and attempted to hold to survive the round, but was eventually hurt again with a follow-up flurry from Ramos.
That final flurry prompted referee Rudy Barragan to jump in and halt the action, giving Ramos the TKO victory 2:45 into the second round.
“I’m happy with my performance tonight,” said Ramos. “We wanted to make a statement and I think I did that tonight. I thought Garcia was going to come out to fight but I was more than ready and it showed in the ring.”
In a special bonus feature on the broadcast, rising prospect Omar “El Relámpago” Juárez (9-0, 4 KOs) earned a unanimous decision over Dakota Linger (12-4-2, 8 KOs) after eight rounds of super lightweight action.
“We knew that Linger would be a tough fighter, but we prepared for anything,” said Juarez. “I stay active and I’m always ready. It felt really good to get the eight rounds in. I showed that I’m a smart fighter. In my first couple of fights when I was getting early knockouts, I felt like I wasn’t really getting the work I needed. Tonight I felt really good and really strong. I’m ready for more.”
Juarez set the tone early with his impressive activity, especially a body attack that targeted Linger throughout the fight. While Linger was content to counter in the opening rounds, he upped his aggression in round three and had some of his best moments of the fight.
As the fight wore on, Juarez’s pace proved to be too much for Linger to keep up with, alternating between pot-shots and brawling to slowly break Linger down. Linger managed to keep moving forward and throwing dangerous shots, but was unable to break through against the 21-year-old Juarez.
Juarez enjoyed a 199 to 113 advantage in punches landed, including 150 to the body, landing 37% of his attack to 27% from Linger. Juarez came close to a stoppage in the final round, pelting Linger with big right hands that caused blood to pour out from his nose. Linger made it to the final bell, but Juarez was victorious by the scores of 80-72 and 79-73 twice.
“We’re going to take a couple of days off and stay in the gym,” said Juarez. “I always want to be ready no matter what. I love having these opportunities and learning experiences in the ring.”
Preceding FOX PBC Fight Night, FS1 PBC Fight Night action saw Cody Crowley (19-0, 9 KOs) defeat Joseph Torres (22-7-2, 13 KOs) via unanimous decision by the score of 100-90 three times after 10 rounds of welterweight action. Plus, Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, 7 KOs) dropped Rey Perez (24-11, 8 KOs) twice on his way to a knockout victory 2:19 into the first-round of their super lightweight attraction, and Leduan Barthelemy (16-1-1, 8 KOs) sent Recky Dulay (11-9, 8 KOs) to the canvas three times to score a knockout 2:39 into the third-round of a lightweight battle.