Brandon Vera’s return to the heavyweight division was spoiled by a flurry of uppercuts and well timed knees as Ben Rothwell finally found his range in the third round to earn a TKO stoppage at the 1:54 mark.

Brandon Vera used his speed and footwork to get off to a good start, landing blistering inside leg kicks and staggering kicks to the body as Ben Rothwell stalked forward. Rothwell landed with his powerful right hand at times but it was mostly one-and-done as Vera continued to use good movement to avoid combinations from the larger Rothwell.

The pace visibly slowed in the second, as Vera came out kicking and Rothwell again marched forward. Vera continued to show good movement, but found himself in a clinch battle on the cage as Rothwell finally managed to cut off the cage. Vera circled out and away several times and landed his left hand down the middle as Rothwell pressed forward.

Rothwell closed and put Vera on the cage to start the final round, but it was after a referee restart that he would finally solve the riddle of Vera’s constant movement.

Rothwell leaped forward with a sense of desperation, and it paid off as he pressed Vera on the cage and uncorked a right hand that caught his opponent flush. Rothwell poured it on, landing a knee up the middle and a flurry of uppercuts that left Vera on wobbly legs. Vera tried to circle out of trouble but another knee and a barrage of strikes put the finishing touches on a strong finish for Rothwell.

The TKO victory moves Ben Rothwell to 33-9 overall as he evens up his UFC record at 3-3.

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