Ugas puts on another beautiful display Sunday evening on FOX PBC Fight Night, outboxing and out brawling Ramos over 12 rounds to become welterweight champion.
It’s been a long road for Yordenis Ugas. After years of fighting in the fringes, taking the tough challenges others avoided – and becoming one himself in the process – Ugas can no longer be denied.
Headlining a Sunday edition of FOX PBC Fight Night, Ugas became the first Cuban to claim a 147-pound title since 1969, winning a spirited 12-round split decision over Abel Ramos to capture the vacant WBA World world welterweight “regular” title.
“I set a goal when I was a child back in Cuba to become a world champion and I accomplished that goal tonight,” said an elated Ugas. “I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. Ramos was a very tough opponent and I knew it was not going to be easy, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away.”
Judges Edward Hernandez Sr. and Zachary Young both had it surprisingly close at 115-113 each in favor of Ugas. Judge Lou Moret turned in an alarming 117-111 card for Ramos.
Ugas, 34, 26-4 (12 KOs) appeared to win at least eight rounds yet was never out of danger in there. Ramos’ power kept him in the fight from the opening bell to the final one. In the end, he wasn’t ever able to figure out Ugas’ jab, which he began pumping out as early as the first.
Ugas continued to work his stick in the second, closing the distance to get inside and pound Ramos’ body. An overhand right in the third banged off Ramos’s jaw. Ugas appeared to be running away with the fight but with 30 seconds left in the frame, they traded hooks. Ramos’ landed flush, causing Ugas to briefly lose control of his legs.
Ramos followed up, landing several power shots but Ugas held up and made it out of the round. He was back in the driver’s seat in the fourth, coming forward behind a high guard and a stiff jab, landing an assortment of blows behind it.
Ramos (26-4-2, 20 KOs) struggled to find his rhythm. Round after round, he was forced to give ground, throwing little and landing even less. With his corner imploring him to pick up the pace, he let his hands go in the 10th, taking the fight to Ugas. He did so again in the 11th, landing several hard shots and clearly winning the frame.
But Ugas would not be denied on this night, even though he stood and traded with the hard-punching Ramos in the final frame and appeared to be hurt by a hook near the end of the fight.
Afterward, the new champion called out the other top fighters at 147, a list that includes Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter (who Ugas lost to by close decision in March 2019), Keith Thurman, and Jamal James (who Ugas outpointed in 2016).
“I came into this fight in the best shape of my life and it showed,” said Ugas. “Now that I’m a world champion, I want all the big names in the welterweight division.”
Omar Juarez rolls on, outpoints Dakota Linger
This one was never in doubt. Occasionally, Linger would break through with a power shot or two but never seriously troubled Juarez. The latter, on the other hand, peppered Linger punches from his versatile arsenal, be it at a distance or in close quarters.
Linger (12-4-2, 8 KOs), a two-time Toughman champion, was game but outgunned. He took most of Juarez’s shots well, although, in the sixth, a perfect left hook to his sides briefly knocked the wind out of him.
The 21-year-old Juarez (9-0, 4 KOs) finished strong to win by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 79-73.
“We knew that Linger would be a tough fighter, but we prepared for anything,” said Juarez. “I stay active and I’m always ready. It felt really good to get the eight rounds in. I showed that I’m a smart fighter. In my first couple of fights when I was getting early knockouts, I felt like I wasn’t really getting the work I needed. Tonight I felt really good and really strong. I’m ready for more.”
“We’re going to take a couple of days off and stay in the gym,” said Juarez. “I always want to be ready no matter what. I love having these opportunities and learning experiences in the ring.”
Undefeated welterweight prospect Jesus Ramos continues to look sensational. Ramos battered previously unbeaten Esteban Garcia (14-1, 6 KOs), inducing the stoppage at 2:45 of the second round with a series of unanswered power shots.
Ramos (13-0, 12 KOs), the 19-year-old nephew of Abel Ramos -- who fought in the main event -- could be a future star of the stacked 147-pound division. Based on this performance, the future may be now.
Ramos began with his southpaw jab in the first. In the second, he started throwing power punches behind it. Two left hands hurt Garcia and drove him drove toward the ropes. Ramos pounced, landing another big left and a series of power shots. A short right hook forced referee Rudy Barragan to step in and rescue the defenseless fighter.
“I‘m happy with my performance,” Ramos said afterward. “I didn’t think it would end that early. I thought he would take my shots longer.”
In the prelims on FS1 PBC Fight Night, Canada’s Cody Crowley enjoyed a successful PBC debut. The welterweight contender improved to 19-0 (9 KOs) with a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over Josh Torres (22-7-2, 13 KOs). All three judges scored it 100-90.
For a closer look at Ugas vs Ramos, check out our fight night page.