UFC 303 Recap: Diego Lopes wins a close decision over Dan Ige

MMA: UFC Fight Night -Lopes vs Tucker
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In the co-main event of UFC 303, we saw a crazy catchweight fight that materialized tonight. Former two-time featherweight title challenger Brian “T-City” Ortega (16-3) was supposed to take on Diego Lopes (24-6). However, Ortega got sick tonight and Dan Ige (18-7) stepped in to take on Lopes.

Dan Ige lives in Vegas and received the call just a few hours before the fight was set to take place. He last fought in February where he scored a first round knockout over Andre Fili. Ige saw the massive opportunity in front of him and jumped at the opportunity to take on Lopes.

Diego Lopes has been sensational since he made his debut with the promotion. It started with a last-minute fight against undefeated Movsar Evloev where he nearly finished him multiple times. After that fight, he received a contract and entered tonight on the heels of three-straight first round finishes.

UFC 303 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 303 co-main event starts with a touch of the gloves. Lopes holds the center and Ige is light on his feet on the outside. Low kick lands for Lopes to start the striking. Ige comes in and Lopes throws a combination. Ige comes in again and they clinch. Big knee from Lopes and Ige circles out. Ige comes in quick and Lopes lands a big combination.

Ige circles away and throws a 1-2. Calf kick lands for Ige and Lopes throws a right hand. Combination from Lopes blocked by Ige. Another big combination from Lopes but nothing is landing super clean here. Ige lands a counter and Lopes lands a calf kick. Ige tries throwing and Lopes looks to counter. Sharp left from Ige and Lopes lands a counter right.

Big right hand off a flying knee from Lopes but Ige just eats it. High kick from Lopes is blocked by Ige. Right over the top blocked by Ige. Ige lands a nice right and they get into a clinch. Wild shots from Lopes and he lands a couple of big ones. Ige circles away. Ige goes for a takedown but Lopes gets a guillotine. He switches to a d’arce and it’s deep. Ige survives and the round ends but it’s 1-0 Lopes at UFC 303.

Round 2

Entering the second and Diego Lopes was as advertised in the first round. They touch gloves and here we go with round two. Sharp jab lands for Ige to start things out. Front kick from Lopes and a calf kick. Right over the top lands for Dan Ige and now a counter right lands for Lopes. Calf kick from Lopes is checked.

Beautiful right counter lands for Ige. Leg kick from Lopes and Ige looks to counter again. Lopes does appear a lot slower in this round either he’s conserving energy or he’s a little tired here. Huge head kick from Ige but he slips and Lopes ends up on top of him. Ige tries to scramble but Lopes takes his back. Body triangle locked in by Lopes with half the round to work.

Lopes is starting to work for a choke here but Ige is defending well. Two minutes left to work and Ige is really looking to try and get back up. He keeps rolling to try and force a break but Lopes is rolling nicely with him here. Great control from Diego Lopes who is one minute away from going up 2-0.

Great control here from Lopes and the body triangle is not allowing Ige to do anything here. Ige lands some vicious right hands while Lopes has his back. Lopes attacks an arm bar and the round ends. 2-0 Lopes at UFC 303.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 303 and I think Ige is going to need a finish here. The final round is underway and Ige is floating the jab out there. Ige is definitely pushing forward more right now and Lopes lands a right over the top. Heavy pressure here from Ige and he throws a left. Right now from Ige.

Wild combination lands for Diego Lopes and Ige looks for a big uppercut. Beautiful left from Lopes and Ige lands a huge right hand. Both men took those shots well 90 seconds into the final round. Combination from Ige and Lopes throws a big leg kick. That briefly wobbled Ige and Lopes shoots for a takedown. Ige keeps the fight standing and breaks away.

Lopes looks really tired here with half the final round remaining. Big right hand from Ige and now a left. Ige is really trying to go for this here. Big left from Ige and that might’ve hurt Lopes. Desperation takedown from Diego Lopes with two minutes left in the round. Lopes is able to get the back but Ige is still on his feet against the fence.

90 seconds left and Ige is trying to break free. Lopes slips and Ige ends up on top. Ige throwing big shots from the top here. Nice elbow from Ige with 60 seconds left. Ige needs to go for broke here. Elbow and now another one from Ige. Two more big elbows.

Diego Lopes has 30 seconds left to survive this position. More big shots from Dan Ige and Lopes ties him up. Lopes lands an upkick and the round ends. I have this one 29-28 Diego Lopes but there are no losers here at UFC 303.

Diego Lopes def. Dan Ige by (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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