GLENDALE â€” Before his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut on Saturday night in a fight against Roger Huerta, lightweight fighter and Glendale resident Alberto Crane said his opponent broke people’s spirit, but Huerta wouldn’t break his.
Crane was indeed game on Saturday in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay at UFC 74: Respect, but an unrelenting Huerta proved too much, as he won in 1:50 of the third round via stoppage.
The fight, which was the third bout seen on the live pay-per-view card, played out with Crane trying to take Huerta down again and again, going for submissions, while Huerta worked his way out and used a tireless ground-and-pound attack.
â€œI’m OK wherever the fight goes,â€ Huerta, 24, said in a post fight interview.
Crane, 31, who was competing in his first mixed-martial arts bout in over two years, opened first-round action with some leg kicks before going for the takedown. Huerta (19-1-1) and Crane (8-1) reversed position on the ground throughout the round, with Crane, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, working tirelessly for submission attempts. When Huerta was on top, he let his striking do the damage â€” the most severe coming in the final seconds of the opening round, when he opened a cut under Crane’s left eye that quickly swelled into a mouse.
The second round played out much like the first, but by the end, it was clear that Crane was exhausted.
â€œHe is beaten down, that guy is very tired,â€ UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said of Crane during the broadcast.
Visibly spent, Crane kept going for Huerta’s leg in the final round, unwilling to rise from the mat. Eventually, he got a hold of Huerta’s leg and was able to take Huerta’s back. In what was likely the highlight of the fight for the Mandalay Bay fans, Huerta then used the arena big screen to accurately throw elbows behind him, as Crane held tight to his back. Huerta worked his way back to mount and three straight rights proved to be the end, as referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight.
Crane was fighting out of the Glendale Fighting Club. .