Gabriel Gonzaga managed to grind out a unanimous decision over Konstantin Erokhin at the TUF 22 Finale.
The heavyweight bout was part of the preliminary card of TUF 22 Finale event at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The entire event aired on FOX Sports 1.
It took a full minute for either man to engage before quickly going back to a prolonged staring contest. The crowd grew increasingly restless as Round 1 hit the halfway point with neither man attempting much of anything offensively. The boos seemed to stir the men slightly as Erokhin (9-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) began to throw the occasional looping punch at Gonzaga (17-10 MMA, 12-9 UFC), but still did not land anything meaningful.
Finally, in the late stages of the opening round, Gonzaga scored with a takedown, which was the most effective moment of offense in the round for either man.
Gonzaga remained patient to open Round 2, this time mixing in the occasional leg kick while trying to avoid the powerful looping shots of Erokhin.
After 4:30 of uneventful action in Round 2, Gonzaga again tried to steal the round with a late takedown but had to settle for pushing Erokhin against the cage until the horn to end the round.
Gonzaga risked going for an early takedown in Round 3, and the risk paid off as he quickly put Erokhin on his back. Gonzaga sat in his opponent’s half guard and smothered from the top, only posturing up to throw punches when the referee demanded that he work to improve his position. Erokhin defended a kimura attempt by grabbing his own shorts, but he did leave an opening for Gonzaga to jump to full mount.
As Gonzaga started to throw heavy punches from mount, Erokhin kicked off the cage and escaped back to his feet, only to coast to the end of the fight.
Gonzaga snapped a three-fight losing skid with the victory.