Power-punching welterweight southpaws Giovani Santillan and Angel Ruiz delivered an entertaining scrap Friday night, but it was Santillan and a damaging left uppercut that ultimately prevailed. 

Santillan (28-0, 15 KOs) scored a unanimous decision victory with scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91, over Ruiz (17-2, 12 KOs). The fight was the co-main event for the ESPN+ card headlined by WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete and Joet Gonzalez from the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Santillan’s hometown. 

Santillan landed 216 power punches in the fight compared to 144 by Ruiz. He landed 256 punches overall. 

Ruiz scored the opening round’s most damaging punch with a winding left uppercut. He landed 10 power punches compared to six by Santillan.  By the second, it was clear that the Manny Robles-trained Ruiz was continually looking to land a huge shot, but it was Santillan who would successfully stick to that script. 

The 29-year-old Santillan was more efficient and accurate with his attack in the third, however, delivering hard combinations. It clearly got Ruiz’s attention, as he invited Santillan in by motioning his gloves to his chest. Santillan outlanded Ruiz 73 to 50 through three rounds. 

In the fourth round, Santillan pressed Ruiz along the ropes and went to work. The offense was highlighted by three straight left uppercuts much to the delight of the partisan crowd, which was chanting “Gio! Gio! Gio!”

The action heated in the fifth round as both fighters traded violent swings in the middle of the ring. Santillan’s precise uppercuts proved to be too strong yet again, as Ruiz’s long locks could be seen flying off his face. 

Ruiz rebounded well in the sixth with a powerful combination that stopped Santillan in his tracks, but he was still outlanded 33 to 20 in the round.

In round seven, ESPN’s Mark Kreigal reported that Ruiz had hurt his left hand. By the end of the round, a CSAC official checked in with Ruiz to see if he can continue to fight.

Santillan’s relentless attack continued in round eight with 34 power punches, and Ruiz appeared to be reeling. As the punches poured on, referee Jerry Cantu checked in himself after the frame to see if Ruiz could continue. 

Santillan was game to close the show in style in the tenth and final round, but Ruiz was resilient and survived the onslaught. 

Ruiz lost by a landslide on the cards, but not due to effort. He was committed all night and made sure Santillan did not leave the fight unscathed by bruising both of his eyes.