MONTREAL – Although his range wasn’t the advantage it probably should have been, George Roop’s bantamweight debut was a success.
Roop put in three solid rounds to take home a unanimous-decision win from Rubeun Duran, whose early success didn’t pay dividends later in the fight.
The bantamweight bout served on the Facebook-streamed preliminary card of UFC 158, which took place at Montreal’s Bell Centre. It preceded additional prelims on FX and the main card on pay-per-view.
Exchanging heavy punches early, Roop surprisingly got the worse of exchanges with Duran, who landed a left hand that rocked his opponent early in the fight. Duran then improved on his lead with a takedown and ground and pound to seemingly put the first frame in his corner.
But Roop came back strong in the second frame, threatening with a submission when the two hit the mat. Duran escaped,but couldn’t make up the deficit to win the round.
The third frame saw Roop dominate in the clinch, and he mixed in a few takedowns. It helped him secure the decision by scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
“I got rocked a couple of times in the first round,” Roop said. “He definitely won the first round with his strikes. I managed to use my range and keep him away, but there’s no way I won that 30-27. I won the last two rounds.”
Roop (12-9-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC), who is just the third UFC fighter to win fights in three separate weight classes (lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight), gets back to the winner’s circle after back-to-back losses that had his job in jeopardy.
Duran (8-4-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC), meanwhile, goes back to the drawing board with back-to-back losses.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 158 results include:
- George Roop def. Reuben Duran via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
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.