With the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez fresh on his mind, Yordenis Ugas kept his focus—and his fists—squarely on Bryant Perrella in a dominating performance.
The former Cuban amateur star gained two knockdowns of Perrella as he powered his way to a fourth-round TKO in their 147-pound bout Tuesday night at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Ugas dedicated the fight to Fernandez, a 24-year-old compatriot who was killed early Sunday in a boating accident. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist memorialized the Marlins ace in a handwritten tribute on his T-shirt and on his trunks.
Dominant almost from the opening bell, Yordenis Ugas (17-3, 8 KOs) knocked Bryant Perrella (14-1, 13 KOs) down for the first time in his career with a straight counter right in the first minute of the fight.
It wouldn’t be the only time Ugas would use the right hand with devastating results against the 6-foot-1 Perrella. After softening up the “Goodfella” with body shots, Ugas put Perrella on the canvas with a crushing right to the head in Round 4.
Ugas quickly resumed his attack and drilled Perrella with a body shot that left the southpaw all but defenseless, allowing the Cuban to fire away uninterrupted until referee Rocky Burke ended the bout at the 2:20 mark.
“The right hand was there early and all night long, and I was able to land it from the beginning, then go to the body,” Ugas said. “Before I left the corner to start the fight, I said a prayer for Jose, and for sure that was a motivation that helped me through it. I felt his spirit throughout the fight.”
It was the second straight defeat of an unbeaten prospect for the 30-year-old Ugas, an amateur world champion at age 19 whose career appears reborn following a two-year layoff.
After losing consecutive decisions in 2014, Ugas was out of the ring for 27 months before earning a 10-round unanimous decision in August over Jamal James, who was 20-0 entering the fight.
James was a replacement in that bout for Perrella, who bowed out just days earlier with an injured left thumb. The six-week delay didn’t seem to help the 27-year-old native of Fort Myers, Florida, who had stopped 11 straight opponents before being overwhelmed by Ugas.
“This shows that I’ve put all of my losses behind me,” Ugas said. “It doesn’t matter who I fight next. I’m ready for anyone in the division.”
The 5-foot-9 Ugas worked the body and head of his taller opponent with equal effectiveness. He connected on an overhand right in Round 2 that caused Perrella to put his glove to the side of his head, and stung the southpaw with another right just before the end of the third.
“We had been followed Perrella’s fights, and we were able to uncover his mistakes,” said Ugas’ trainer, Ismael Salas. “Yordenis was prepared and in the right position to land that first right hand to the chin.
“When you’re fighting a tall guy like Perrella, you have to slow him down to the body, and were able to do that and then work our way back up to the chin and finish him off.”
In undercard action, Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (13-0, 9 KOs) remained unbeaten with a fourth-round stoppage of Jose Quezada (11-1, 6 KOs) in a 141-pound bout, and Cesar Valenzuela (13-4-1, 4 KOs) earned an eight-round split decision over Dennis Galarza (13-2, 8 KOs) in a matchup of 130-pound prospects.
For a complete look at Perrella vs Ugas, visit our fight page.