ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

Leo Santa Cruz got his revenge. Santa Cruz out-boxed Carl Frampton to regain the WBA super featherweight championship Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Santa Cruz built up an early lead in the fight, using his long jab and wicked left hooks to hurt Frampton and dictate the pace of the fight. Although Frampton rallied a bit in the middle rounds, Santa Cruz did enough on a majority of the judges' scorecards to win the fight. Santa Cruz won by majority decision, 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114. Frampton had won by majority decision when the two fought in July in New York.

Santa Cruz threw early and often and stayed the busier fighter. The fight got off to a hot start, with bother fighters trading punches to end the first round. According to punch stats, Santa Cruz threw 884 punches, compared to Frampton's 592.

Santa Cruz was able to keep the distance, as Frampton attempted to close the gap and counterpunch. He did have some success. In the middle rounds he started to land counter right hooks. Every time, however, that Frampton tried to turn the fight into a slugfest, Santa Cruz went back to his boxing, utilizing his jab and movement to offset Frampton's momentum.

"I wanted revenge and said I was going to work hard and I went to the gym and worked hard did what I said out to do," Santa Cruz. "Carl Frampton is a great fighter. I knew it was going to be a tough fight. Like I said, make it a third fight. "

Santa Cruz called him a great fighter and great counter-puncher.

Both fighters called for a trilogy match in their post-fight interview.

"He was very clever and he used his reach and I think he deserved it," Frampton said. "No excuses. I had a brilliant training camp. The better man won, but let's do it again."

Frampton called for a trilogy fight in his home country of Ireland. Santa Cruz moves to 33-1-1, while Frampton suffered his first loss and drops to 23-1.

On the undercard, Mikey Garcia knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin with a wicked right-left-right combination that sent Zlaticanin out cold in the third round.

Garcia controlled the fight form the opening bell to win the WBC lightweight championship. Garcia was just longer and stronger and overpowered Zlaticanin, who suffered the first loss of his career.

Garcia moved to 36-0, with 30 knockouts.


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