Sean Santella handed Naoki Inoue his second straight defeat and first loss since he was released from the UFC at CFFC 72.

Inoue exited the UFC following his lone loss inside the Octagon as the organization continues to hint at the eventual eradication of the entire flyweight division.

The Japanese fighter, who now trains in New York under head coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo, was quickly signed to Cage Fury Fighting Championships, an organization based out of New Jersey, where he was matched up with Santella.

While Inoue would have loved to get back on track following a loss in his last fight, the 21-year old prospect tasted defeat once again after going three rounds with Santella.

Repeated combinations

As the action got started in the opening round, it was Inoue controlling the distance on Santella with his size and reach advantage while popping the veteran flyweight with repeated combinations.

After eating several hard right hands from Inoue on the feet, Santella opted for a different strategy by looking for the takedown to bring the fight into his world on the ground. Santella nearly wrapped up a rear naked choke during the first exchange on the mat but Inoue was able to slip free and work back to the feet.

The second time Santella went for the takedown, he ended up on Inoue’s back as the fighters were actually standing against the cage. Santella was quick to look for the same rear naked choke while locked onto Inoue’s body but time ran out on the round before he could wrap up the submission.

Submission attempts

As the second round got underway, Inoue got the chance to show his top game after stuffing a takedown and then ending up in Santella’s guard on the ground. Unfortunately, Inoue was not able to inflict much damage and instead he was defending submissions from Santella as the veteran flyweight started fishing for a triangle choke while locking down the position in the rubber guard.

Inoue eventually had enough of the ground game and stood back on his feet but it was a short lived change of position as Santella quickly shot back inside for a takedown of his own.

Much like the first round, Santella was incredibly quick to advance his position and then take Inoue’s back while once again looking for the submission.

Before the bell sounded, Inoue made one last attempt to escape by looking for the kimura but time ran out before he could use the submission to reverse positions.

Relentless takedowns

With five minutes remaining, Inoue once again tried to use his striking to keep Santella at a distance but he just couldn’t stop the takedown from altering the momentum in the fight. Santella didn’t really set up his takedown but he dove at Inoue’s legs and managed to get him back down to the mat.

Santella again quickly transitioned to take Inoue’s back, crushing down upon him with a body triangle and then working to get the rear naked choke.

Santella couldn’t get the submission but he continued to pepper away at Inoue with shots while forcing his Japanese opponent to roll to try and escape the position. With time running out in the fight, Inoue also saw his hopes of staging a comeback disappear with Santella still latched onto his back, which was a feature of every round.

The judges ultimately scored the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27 all in favor of Santella, who moves to 5-1 in his past six fights. As for Inoue, he drops to 11-2 after suffering his second straight defeat in a row.