It was a close fight and the judges saw it the same, but debuting middleweight Ronny Markes did enough to pull out a split decision win over Aaron Simpson.

The Brazilian member of Team Nova Uniao showed off some confidence in his strikes early on, popping Simpson with a couple of good combinations.

Staying on his feel almost cost him however when Simpson leapt forward with a sledgehammer uppercut that sent Markes crashing to the mat.

The former Arizona State wrestler followed up with quick punches and hammer fists trying bring the fight to a close, but Markes’ defense was enough to stay out of trouble and recover.

The second round saw Markes bounce back with good work from inside the clinch, and even manage a takedown against the former All-American wrestler.

The pace slowed at moments as the fight wore on, especially in the third round where Markes looked for the clinch against the cage while Simpson defended. The end of the fight may have truly came when Markes landed a late takedown on Simpson, and it was probably just enough to earn him the final round.

Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Markes, while the third gave the bout 29-28 to Aaron Simpson.

A huge fighter for 185lbs, Markes now moves to 2-0 in the UFC and he hopes to make his next appearance in June when the promotion visits his home country of Brazil.

“Joe Silva give me the opportunity to fight at the UFC in Brazil,” said Markes in closing.

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