The co-main event arrived, and it was finally time for the superfight. Featherweight champion James Gonzalez was dropping down to 135 pounds to challenge Phil Caracappa for the ROC bantamweight championship. Also, Caracappa walked out to Super Gremlin and that was awesome.
The action got going when Caracappa blasted James with a right hand early in the round, but James was able to recover and push Phil against the cage. Gonzalez was able to secure a single-leg, but was only briefly able to hold Phil down before he popped back up. Phil then reversed the position, and slammed Gonzalez down to the mat before James was able to stand up. When these men clinched, the grappling exchanges were really even, as it felt like either man had the ability to land a takedown at any time. Overall, it was a really even round with both men landing takedowns, one of those rounds where I’d hate to be a judge.
After a back and forth striking exchange to open the second, Gonzalez went for a guillotine off a Caracappa takedown attempt. James had moderate success here, but Caracappa was able to pop his head out and land some ground and pound before James ultimately got up. Then it was Gonzalez landing a takedown of his own, and he was able to pin Phil up against the cage and land some strikes on the ground. Now it was Caracappa who stood up, however this time it was only to get taken down again by Gonzalez. This round definitely favored Gonzalez more than the first, as he was able to land three take downs and control the majority of the grappling exchanges. ”This fight is yours,” yelled Matt Serra following the round.
It only took a few seconds of the third round before Gonzalez landed another takedown, and even after Caracappa stood up, Gonzalez stuck to him like glue against the fence. After about a minute of battling against the fence, Gonzalez landed a second takedown, but Phil once again pooped right back up. Phil was doing a good job of not getting held down, but he ultimately couldn’t stop Gonzalez from controlling him against the cage. Towards the end of the round, however, Phil was able to reverse the position and land a takedown of his own. Gonzalez threw up a crafty armbar attempt, and was able to stand up before the end of the round.
What a fight. After three rounds, I had no idea how the judges were gonna score this one, but they ended up giving a split decision victory to Phil Caracappa. This is one of those fights that really could have gone either way, and I think both guys stocks are going up after this one.