The win didn’t come easy because Luque had to survive an aggressive and powerful Woodley, who was gunning for the knockout from the first exchange in the fight. Luque persevered that pressure and then came back to put Woodley on the ground with his own series of strikes before wrapping up a D’arce choke to earn the tap at 3:56 in the opening round.
“It was a great fight,” Luque said after the win. “I knew Woodley was a legend, a champ, He really hits hard. That’s what I’m going to do. If I get hard, I’m going to pushing forward, look for the knockout, look for the finish.
“I realized he was overcommitting with his punches after he hurt me a little bit. I trusted that I was going to get the knockout. At the end I saw the D’arce and I said no, I’m going to go for this.”
After dropping his past three fights in a row, Woodley wasted no time rushing across the cage while swinging hammers at Luque as he looked for the early finish. Luque was effective in avoiding his power punches by locking him down in the clinch against the cage.
That was short-lived survival because Woodley was able to break free and he started throwing bombs including a punch that connected behind Luque’s ear and put him on wobbly legs. Woodley rushed ahead looking to capitalize but after he launched a massive uppercut, Luque fired back with a perfectly timed counter right hand.
Woodley was immediately in trouble as he tried to stay standing with Luque coming after him with a blistering series of punches. While Woodley attempted to keep throwing, Luque was far more accurate and he finally caught the former champion with a shot that dropped him to the canvas.
That’s where Luque opted to turn to his submission game as he locked on a tight D’arce choke and despite his best effort to break free, Woodley was eventually forced to tap out.
Afterwards, Luque paid homage to Woodley for the wild fight as long as it lasted and then he turned his attention to the next opponent he hopes to face.
“I want to take this time also to call out Nate Diaz,” Luque said. “I called him out in the past and he didn’t respond. My style, it matches perfect. I’m going to go forward. I think Nate is a perfect fight.”