MONTREAL – In a battle of “The Ultimate Fighter” runners-up, “TUF 17? finalist Mike Ricci handed “TUF: Smashes” contestant Colin Fletcher a decision loss in what proved a moderately paced affair.

The lightweight bout opened the main card of Saturday’s UFC 158 event at Bell Centre in Montreal. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.

The two rangy fighters exchanged on the feet in the early going. Fletcher preferred kicks to all angles while Ricci scored with quick punches down the middle in addition to searching kicks to the legs and body. Neither fighter truly gained momentum in the frame, but Ricci appeared the sharper striker.

Both fighters came out busier in the second round, but Ricci scored a takedown of on off-balance Fletcher. “Freakshow” gamely slipped out the back and returned to his feet after missing a kneebar attempt. When the two separated, Fletcher’s face sported a nasty welt under his right eye, which quickly started to impair his vision.

Fletcher tried to turn the tide in the final round by taking the fight to the mat, but Ricci proved difficult to drag down. Once he pulled free, Ricci returned to his methodical boxing attack and simply picked apart Fletcher from the outside. A late Ricci takedown allowed Fletcher to briefly look for an improvised choke attempt. However, Ricci pulled free and shifted to the back, where he finished the fight in a dominant position.

It wasn’t the most thrilling of affairs, but Ricci proved effective in taking the decision, 30-27, on all three cards.

With the win, Ricci (8-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) earns his first octagon victory. Fletcher (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) is now 0-2 in official UFC appearances.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 158 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

Matt Erickson and Ben Fowlkes contributed to this report on-site in Montreal.

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