In Las Vegas, Nevada, the New Mexico contingent at UFC 264 had a disappointing Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Albuquerque welterweight Carlos Condit lost by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) to Max Griffin of Sacramento, California.
Condit is 32-14, Griffin 18-8.
Santa Fe flyweight Jerome Rivera lost by first-round submission (standing guillotine choke) to Kazakhstan’s Zhalgas Zhumagulov. Rivera is 10-6 but is 0-4 in UFC competition. Zhumagulov is 14-5.
Condit got a slow start against the shorter, more muscular Griffin, absorbing multiple leg kicks and going down from a Griffin combination with just over a minute left in the first round. Condit took some punishment on the ground before Griffin elected to stand up.
Two of the judges favored Condit in a competitive second round, as the Albuquerque fighter seemed to find his rhythm — landing shots with either hand to the head and to the body.
Griffin fought with more energy in the third round and appeared to cement his victory with the fight’s only takedown 55 seconds before the final horn.
The loss ended a two-fight Condit win streak that followed a five-fight losing streak. Given his fan appeal and the respect he commands as a former UFC interim champion, he likely has a continued future with the UFC if he so desires at age 37.
Rivera got off to a good start against Zhumagulov, using his reach advantage to good effect against his much shorter opponent. But a minute-and-a-half into the first round, Rivera went down from a left hand. As he scrambled to his feet, he exposed his neck. Zhumagulov took full advantage, securing the choke hold and forcing the tap-out at the 2:02 mark.
With his fourth UFC loss in as many fights, Rivera’s future with MMA’s most powerful organization is very much in doubt.