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Aleksandar Rakic needed three full rounds in his UFC debut, but the result was undeniable, and the Austrian newcomer was awarded a clear-cut decision win over Francimar Barroso.

The light heavyweight contest took place on the prelims of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 115 event, which streamed live on UFC Fight Pass from Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The two fighters traded strikes to start, picking single punches and kicks as they moved around the cage. A Rakic uppercut seemed the best shot of the early exchanges, but both men refused to back down. Rakic’s crisp punches definitely earned the respect of his opponent as the round wore on, and Barroso’s offense slowed a touch as he focused on defense and potentially taking the fight to the mat. Another Rakic uppercut did land flush along the way, and the first ended in the clinch.

Rakic was clearly confident heading in to the second, opening with a devastating overhand right before snapping in a low kick. Barroso was clearly concerned with the blows, retreating to the fence and looking to find an opening to counter rather than exchange toe-to-toe. The taller Rakic stayed patient at range, picking his shots and appearing unconcerned with anything coming back his way.

Barroso did finally get inside with two minutes remaining, bringing the fight to the floor and holding top position. Rakic patiently worked his way back to the feet in the final minute and went on the assault. With Barroso clearly fatigued, Rakic tried to end the fight, but his opponent scored another takedown in the final seconds to earn his way to the third.

Rakic remained comfortable on the feet in the third, challenging Barroso to trade with him in the center before flashing a wide smile. Instead, Barroso continued to retreat to the cage and looked to counter. The Brazilian complained of a late eye poke, but referee Marc Goddard clarified the punch was clean, and the bout carried on, with Rakic cruising to a clear decision win, 30-27 on all three judges’ cards.

Rakic (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) lost his pro debut but has since won nine consecutive fights. Barroso (19-6 MMA, 4-3 UFC) falls to 1-2 in his past three official contests.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 115 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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