By: Sean Crose
The 24-0 welterweight Rashidi Ellis faced the 25-1 Roiman Villa Saturday night at Washington DC’s Capital One Arena in a scheduled 12 round affair. While Ellis was able to boast of an impressive record, the man hadn’t fought since 2018. What’s more, Saturday’s fight was an IBF title eliminator. In other words, Ellis was entering the ring on Saturday looking to impress. Ellis went to the body early on in the first. It was Ellis’ jab, fast and effective, however, that told the story of the round. Indeed, the second saw Ellis continue to flash the jab, though Villa was now able to get to the man. Still, it was Ellis who displayed the cleaner, more effective punching.
The third was close, with Villa stalking and landing had at times, though it was Ellis who was firing off punches far more frequently. Ellis turned up the heat considerably in the fourth, tossing off his shots at Villa with bad intentions. Villa survived the moment, but simply couldn’t make anything happen against his faster, clean punching foil. The action slowed down at bit in the sixth, but Ellis remained in control. By the seventh, Ellis looked to be in cruise control. Villa on the other hand, looked to have a strong eighth, but he would need to pile it on a lot more if he wanted any chance of success at that point of the fight.
With that being said, Villa seemed to be getting to Ellis in the ninth. Was the talented Ellis beginning to look less than fresh? The tenth saw Villa taking gas out of Ellis’ tank with telling power shots. Indeed, Villa’s shots were now landing with a thud. Tired and lacking the zip his punches had earlier had, Ellis took to employing an effective retreat in the eleventh. The two men exchanged crunching shots at the end of the round. Then, early in the twelfth, Ellis was sent to the mat. He got up, but was in trouble. Ellis did all he could to stay on his feet – but was dropped again by Villa at the final bell.
It was enough to grant Villa the majority decision win.
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