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FORTALEZA, Brazil – You know it’s a bloody fight when positions are lost on plasma.

A clash of heads in the second opened a leaking cut on Joe Soto’s (18-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) hairline, making the rest of his fight with Rani Yahya (23-9 MMA, 8-3 UFC) a slippery affair. And though his plasma levels dropped, he had more energy in the tank – and won a decision.

The bantamweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 106 event at Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FS1.

The final scores were 29-27 twice and 29-28 for Soto, who picked up his third straight octagon win in a gutsy performance.

Yahya, known almost exclusively for his lethal submission game, wanted desperately to prove he was capable of putting on a slugfest. He kept a high pace with fists and feet, keeping Soto on his heels. But his inexperience on the striking game periodically revealed itself when he walked into an overhand right, once getting clotheslined to the mat.

It took three minutes for Yahya to try his usual tack, shooting for a takedown. But Soto was ready for that, and stuffed the attempt by threatening a guillotine. He would use that for the rest of the night to keep himself on his feet.

After the blood-spattering cut, Yahya continued to pressure Soto with flurries of punches and kicks. But after Soto stuffed another takedown, he began to visibly tire. Suddenly, his attempts to bring the fight to the mat were borne out of exhaustion rather than strategy.

And that’s how Soto, a onetime title contender not as renowned on the mat, began to outgrapple the jiu-jitsu ace.

By the fight’s final round, Soto’s efficiency on the feet allowed him win exchanges and take top position as Yahya floundered to the mat. Even when he missed an armbar, no thanks to the blood, the Brazilian wasn’t able to capitalize, and he ended the fight in mount.

It was an early “Fight of the Night” contender, though a decisive win for Soto. Yahya sees a four-fight streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 106 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 106, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Fernanda Prates contributed to this report on site in Fortaleza.)

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