Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
The win didn’t come easy as Fialho had to survive an early onslaught before staging a comeback that saw him blast Baeza with a series of uppercuts that turned the tide. Once Baeza was stunned, Fialho rushed forward with a perfectly timed left hook that put the 29-year-old welterweight down on the canvas, with the fight stopped just a split second later.
The official end time came at 4:39 in the first round.
“I hit very hard,” Fialho said. “As my coach says, I’m very technical. I just need to stay composed.
“Another day in the office. I want to stay active. I don’t have any injuries. Give me a fight.”
Baeza used his long reach to keep Fialho on the end of his punches, including a nasty straight right hand that just snapped Fialho’s head back. Fialho didn’t shy away from trading with Baeza in the pocket, but he also had to be careful when stepping into the exchanges.
Baeza nearly made him pay again late in the opening round by unleashing a barrage of punches that had Fialho stuck against the cage trying to duck and dodge out of the way.
As Baeza continued throwing with confidence, Fialho finally got on the inside — and that’s where he grabbed the back of the head and started launching a series of uppercuts.
The first couple of punches landed clean, but the uppercuts didn’t stop until a final shot put Baeza on wobbly legs as he finally escaped the clinch.
With Baeza rattled and backing up, Fialho surged ahead with a quick left hook that saw him crack his opponent and send him flying down to the canvas in a heap. Fialho followed up with a huge hammerfist, but the referee was already rushing in to stop the contest.
While Baeza complained about the stoppage, replays showed him slamming to the ground in emphatic fashion from the knockout blow, which helped Fialho earn his first UFC win and, more importantly, his first finish in the promotion.
Fialho now moves to 15-4 overall and evens his overall UFC record at 1-1 following a loss in a short-notice debut back in January.