By Jake Smith
2014 IMMAF World Champion Carlos Hernandez has become the latest IMMAF alumni to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The Flyweight fought for a UFC contract on Oct 5th’s Dana White’s Contender Series against Spaniard, Daniel Barez. The 27-year-old joins the likes of Brendan Allen and Manon Fiorot as IMMAF champions to sign with the UFC.
Barez brought the early pressure but Hernandez nullified it with slick lateral movement and footwork; Keeping Barez guessing what would be returned in his direction with a barrage of strikes to both the body and the head. Both men landed big shots early and appeared to be as happy working forward as they did working back. Hernandez landed a flying knee with less than two minutes to go but Barez took it and recovered well. In the last minute, Barez landed a big takedown, took the back and finished the round with a rear naked choke attempt.
The second round started much as the first did, with Barez bringing the pressure and he caught Hernandez with a big right hand. After a scramble, Hernandez found himself on Barez’s back and showed his grappling prowess, searching for a submission whilst constantly chipping away and working well with his ground and pound. It was an utterly dominating few minutes for Hernandez before Barez managed to get the fight back to its feet and landed a takedown of his own less than 30 seconds before the bell.
As they entered the third, the general consensus was that each man had taken a round. Barez took a different approach, opting to let Hernandez come forward and looked to counter his offence. Half way through the round, Barez landed another takedown but Hernandez managed to work himself free then went looking for a takedown of his own. The more active of the two, Hernandez’s forward pressure and high work rate never faltered throughout the 15 minutes. It was apparent Barez was starting to tire & Hernandez seized the opportunity to increase the pace of the fight & landed numerous clean strikes before the end of the contest.
With over double the control time and almost double the significant strikes across the 15 minutes, Hernandez took a 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 split decision victory. Speaking to Laura Sanko post fight, Hernandez admitted he wasn’t happy with his work.
He said: “ I knew it was close, I thought it could have gone either way. I am kind of disappointed with how I did, it’s a tough interview right now. Not my best performance but I am happy that a close one finally went my way.”
Prior to offering the American the UFC contract, UFC President Dana White praised Hernandez for his work.
White said: “A kid was in a great fight, he beat a guy with twice as much experience than him, I think one of the things you really have to look at in this fight was his opponent, Daniel Barez’s opponents records were 44-19. I think that Carlos Hernandez lost the first round, came back, fought his ass off, won the next two rounds. He’s only 7-1, I think the kid has a bright future in this sport and I am going to give him a shot!”