It only seems like five minutes since the UFC last held a show in Brazil, but they ventured back there this past weekend to crown their second Ultimate Fighter winner in an event shown in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began in the featherweight division as Rony Jason took on Mike Wilkinson.
Wilkinson began his night’s work by moving from side to side as he looked for an opening. He soon found it when he scored with an impressive takedown. However, he left himself open to Jason’s triangle choke, and when the Brit passed out the referee stepped in to give Jason the submission win after just 84 seconds.
Middleweight action followed as Daniel Sarafian faced Eddie Mendez.
Mendez was the first man to make contact here, and he seemed to get the better of the striking exchanges before his instigated a clinch against the fence. The Brazilian soon took control after his trip took the fight to the mat, and after a few rights to the ribs from the half guard he moved into the mount as he locked in an arm triangle. Mendez had no choice but to tap as Sarafian took the submission win.
Filler material followed with a return to the featherweight division as Godofredo Pepey took on Felipe Arantes.
Now this was a good fight. It began with Pepey scoring with a combination before going for an early takedown. Arantes did a great defensive job here, and he was soon on the offensive as he took Pepey’s back and took the fight to the ground.
Once they got there they engaged in a great back and forth battle. Arantes put in some good work before Pepey managed to reverse the positions and take the mount. His superiority only lasted for a few seconds before Arantes reversed to regain his position, and when Pepey failed to reply to his ground and pound the referee stepped in to give Arantes the TKO win.
It was up to welterweight next as Erick Silva faced Jason High.
This was another of those quick encounters. After the initial water testing period the fight went to the ground as Silva quickly transitioned from position to position, and a few short seconds later he locked in an armbar for the submission win after just 71 seconds.
More filler material followed in the form of the bantamweight encounter between Raphael Assuncao and Vaughn Lee.
The first fight on the broadcast that made it out of the first round saw Assuncao putting in a very good performance throughout. Lee had his moments, particularly in the striking exchanges, but when Assuncao scored with a couple of takedowns in the first there seemed to be little that Lee could do.
This was even more evident in the second when Assuncao scored with a takedown before looking for an armbar. Lee held out for as long as he could, but when Assuncao finally synched in the hold Lee tapped within seconds to give Assuncao the submission win.
The filler material continued with the middleweight encounter between Antonio Braga Neto and Anthony Smith.
These two began with some nice striking exchanges, and when they continued in this vein it looked like we were going to get a stand up war until Neto scored with the takedown.
Form there he quickly took Smith’s back, and although he managed to escape from that particular predicament he left himself open so Neto could synch in a kneebar. Smith duly tapped to give Neto the submission win.
It was a return to regular action for the next fight and the light heavyweight encounter between Thiago Silva and Rafael Feijao.
This proved to be a great striking battle. Feijao looked good early on, his right hand down the middle causing Silva some problems, and a few moments later he caused his man a few more problems when a combination finished by a spinning back elbow staggered Silva.
But as the first round entered it’s final minute Silva began to up his game, and when he backed Feijao up against the fence he began unloading with the heavy leather. A big right uppercut sent Feijao crashing, and after a couple more blows the referee quickly stepped in to give Silva the knockout win.
Yet more filler material followed as Caio Magalhaes faced Karlos Vemola in the middleweight division.
Fast paced action was the order of the day in this encounter. Magalhaes went for a couple of blows as soon as the fight began, and when he went for a standing guillotine Vemola countered by slamming him to the mat.
This signalled the start of Vemola’s dominance. His ground and pound looked brutal at times, and even though he went for a couple of guillotines again Magalhaes looked like a spent force when the round came to an end, such was Vemola’s control.
But when the second round started it was a completely different story, and it was Vemola who looked like a spent force as Magalhaes took control. He was all over his man like a cheap suit as he moved from position to position, and Vemola looked powerless as Magalhaes took his back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
The co-main event featured welterweight action as William Patolino faced Leonardo Santos in the Ultimate Fighter Brazil final.
I really liked this one. Patolino put on a good display of ground fighting in the first round, especially with his ground and pound. His blows were delivered with laser-like precision, and they caused Santos quite a bit of trouble.
By the time the second round began Santos started to come into the fight more. His edge in experience began to tell, and although Patolino had a few good moments he blotted his copybook when he defended a takedown by holding onto the cage, a move that gave him top position as they hit the ground. As a result of this the referee stood the fights up and gave Patolino a severe warning.
A few moments later Santos scored with the takedown he’d been looking for, and it wasn’t long before he moved to side control to he could apply an arm triangle. Patolino held out for as long as he could before he succumbed to the inevitable as he tapped out to give Santos the submission win and the big contract. No big cardboard cheque though.
The main event featured heavyweight action as Minotauro Nogueira took on Fabricio Werdum.
This one certainly lived up to the hype. From the start it proved to be a very intriguing battle.
It was Werdum who drew first blood as far as takedowns were concerned. His ground work looked as solid as ever, and although he did a good job of controlling the action Big Nog soon found a way to escape as he got back to his feet.
Nogueira looked like he was going to turn back the years in the second round when he pulled guard and went for a guillotine, but when Werdum easily escaped he soon re-established control. It was another excellent display as he made Nogueira look a little ordinary, and when he locked in an armbar it looked like we were going to get a situation similar to the Frank Mir fight with Nogueira refusing to tap. But when Big Nog verbally tapped the referee halted the action and gave Werdum the submission win.
In conclusion - these Brazilians certainly like fighting in their backyard, don’t they?
The UFC’s latest show for America’s Fuel TV proved to be another barnstorming night of MMA action. The Brazilians once again have us a display of top notch fighting as they lived up the ethos that Dana White has been preaching for years: never leave it in the hands of the judges. Besides, fights going the distance are all well and good, but there’s nothing like seeing a good knockout or submission.
As for my fight of the night no-prize I’m going for the bantamweight encounter between Godofredo Pepey and Felipe Arantes. Now that was a fight.
So with all of that out of the way there’s only one more thing to do, and that’s to give this show the big thumbs up!