Having failed to secure a finals spot in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 21, Michael Graves (5-0) had a chance to redeem himself in his professional Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut. The American Top Team (ATT) member was matched up against Blackzilians‘ own Vicente Luque (7-5-1).
Graves changed levels and slammed Luque at the beginning of the first round. He landed some stiff punches, forcing Luque to get back to his feet. The ATT member connected with an elbow to break from the clinch. Graves sent Luque’s back against the cage. Luque reversed the position and eventually they separated. Graves ducked down, grabbed onto a leg and took his opponent down.
Graves secured a headlock, but the Blackzilians member kept one hand on the mat to avoid a knee to the head. Graves landed a right hand on the break. A knee to the body scored for Luque. As he went for another knee, Graves shot in for another takedown. The round ended with Graves in top control.
Graves quickly lifted Luque and dropped him, while escaping a guillotine choke. Graves kneed Luque in the face while he had one hand on the ground and referee Yves Lavigne issued a warning. The action resumed and this time Luque had Graves pressed against the cage. They broke free and Graves completed another takedown. Graves wasn’t doing much damage and really just controlled his opponent. A scramble ensued, but Graves maintained control until the round ended.
The third round began and Luque was able to stuff a takedown. Luque landed a right hand and again stuffed a takedown from Graves. He held a headlock position on the ground. He transitioned to attempt a D’Arce choke, but was unable to execute it. Luque kneed the shoulder of Graves multiple times. Graves had a surge of energy and gained top control for the first time in the final round. The fight ended with Graves mustering up some offense on the ground.
Final Result: Michael Graves def. Vicente Luque via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)