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Colares (10-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) took a brutal thumping from Sanders (13-5 MMA, 3-5 UFC) in the first round of their featherweight bout, which opened the card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. He got dropped multiple times and appeared on the verge of being stopped by TKO, but then Colares turned it around.
After escaping the opening frame, Colares got some momentum in the second when he hurt Sanders with some big shots before picking him up and slamming him to the canvas. He got back mount in the final seconds and pounded away on Sanders to nearly get a stoppage of his own with strikes. Sanders, to his fortune, though, was saved by the bell.
The fight was hanging in the balance to begin the third, and both men left it all in the octagon. Sanders and Colares exchanged big strikes and takedowns in hopes of getting the final edge, but Colares racked up the points in the key moments to emerge victorious by unanimous decision with 29-28 scorecards across the board.
It was a razor-thin fight, but Colares thought he was the rightful winner with his display of heart after a rough first round.
“I feel great,” Colares said in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder. “An amazing moment for me. Thank you for my opponent.”
Colares has now split results in his first four octagon appearances, while Sanders has dropped three of his past four bouts.