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Diego Lopes holds off late-charging Dan Ige in UFC 303 co-main event

With hours before he was scheduled to step inside the octagon against third-ranked Brian Ortega in the UFC 303 co-main event on Saturday, Diego Lopes got a new opponent.  

Following Friday’s UFC 303 Weigh-In, Ortega fell ill and started running a high fever.  The Nevada Athletic Commission deemed Ortega ‘medically unable to fight.’  Dan Ige, who lives in the Las Vegas area, stepped in to face Lopes.  The bout was moved to a 165-pound catchweight match and Lopes weighed in again to make it official.  

The fight between Ortega and Lopes was originally slated to be a featherweight fight.  During fight week, the bout was moved to 155 pounds and both men weighed in at exactly that weight.  What started as a featherweight bout ended up being moved up 20 pounds for Lopes.   

Ige entered the fight coming off a knockout win over Andre Fili in his last outing in February.  He had won three of his last four fights.  Lopes was riding a three-fight winning streak with first-round finishes over his last three opponents.    

The fight began with a bit of a slow start.  Ige closed the distance and was met with a knee and a flurry of punches.  Ige missed with a left hand and Lopes landed a counter right hand. Every time Ige stepped into the pocket, Lopes unloaded multiple-punch combinations.  Ige went to the body with a left hand and Lopes landed a counter right hand.  Ige landed a right hand and the two exchanged in close quarters.  Ige changed levels and took Lopes down but Lopes locked on a guillotine choke.  Ige defended the submission attempt and rose to his feet at the sound of the bell.  MMAWeekly scored the round 10-9 for Lopes.

Lopes landed first in the second round with a leg kick.  Ige switched stances before connecting with a right hand.  Ige delivered a leg kick and Lopes responded with a combination to the body.  Ige landed a head kick but Lopes caught it and took the fight to the ground.  He took Ige’s back, who had stood.  They fell back to the canvas and Lopes applied a body triangle.  Ige defended his neck and delivered a couple of hard right hands behind to Lopes.  The round ended with Lopes still on Ige’s back.  MMAWeekly scored the round 10-9 for Lopes.

Ige’s corner told him that he had nothing to lose between rounds.  Ige pressured Lopes and landed a right hand.  Lopes responded with a left hand.  Ige delivered a hard right hand.  Lopes reacted with his jab.  Ige continued to pressure Lopes.  Lopes connected with a leg kick and looked to get the fight to the ground.  Ige stayed upright and separated.  He went back to pressuring Lopes.  Ige connected with another right hand.  

Ige landed a straight left hand that had Lopes shooting for legs from far away.  Ige got out of the position and gained top position on the ground with 90 seconds left in the fight.  Ige landed a right hand.  Lopes held on from the bottom trying to control Ige’s posture.  Ige delivered right hands to the body before posturing up and landing left hands.  Ige stood and dropped in with a right hand.  Lopes connected with an up kick in the closing seconds.  MMAWeekly scored the round 10-9 for Lopes.  

The judges scored the fight for Lopes via unanimous decision.  The scorecards read 29-28, 29-28, and 29-28.

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