In this handout image provided by UFC, Gian Villante kicks...

In this handout image provided by UFC, Gian Villante kicks Maurice Greene in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 27, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Credit: Zuffa/LLC via Getty Images/Handout

Gian Villante was in the best position he’d been all fight. Seconds later, he was tapping in submission.

With a chance to win in the third round, Villante lost in sudden fashion, officially falling via arm triangle to Maurice Greene at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

Competing at heavyweight in the UFC for the first time, Levittown’s Villante (17-12, 7-9 UFC)) clearly was the smaller man in the cage against Greene (9-4, 4-2). Still, he was in the fight late and rallied in the third round, knocking Greene to the floor with a big counter punch and following Greene to the ground to take top position.

Soon after, exhaustion appeared to set in for Villante, and Greene managed to sneak in a choke from the bottom to end the fight at the 3:44 mark of the final frame.

Villante and Greene both were patient early in the bout, trading kicks and cautiously looking for counter punches. Villante walked down his opponent early in the round, but Greene was able to keep Villante from forcing him to the cage. The taller Greene was a bit low on a body kick midway through the round, hitting Villante below the belt and causing a quick pause in the fight.

When action resumed, Greene was the aggressor, but Villante showed quick bursts of energy, landing a few kick combos and taking his time to find openings for some stinging kicks. As the round closed, however, Villante appeared to suffer a toe injury.

Early in the second round, Villante didn’t quite have the same aggression with his kicks, and Greene seemed to take hold of the fight’s pacing. Eventually, the LIer retook control. He used the center of the cage to land more kicks to the legs and body of Greene, and once he was more aggressive with his hands, he found success to the head.

Thirty seconds into the third round, Villante landed a heavy right hand, knocking back Greene into the cage. Villante swarmed, and the pair exchanged strikes before the fight again was stopped after Greene poked Villante’s eye.

Upon resumption, Greene came out firing, but Villante landed a quick counter left to knock Greene to the canvas. Villante followed him to the ground and landed a handful of punches before moving into half guard. Villante’s pace slowed, and after slipping a bit over his opponent, Greene was able to slip his left arm around Villante’s head from the bottom. Greene grabbed his own hand and squeezed Villante's neck. Within seconds, a tired Villante was tapping Greene to end the fight.

More MMA

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access