It’s time to make a third consecutive trip to the Octagon as we take a look at the UFC’s latest trip to Brazil for their Fight Night show, shown live this past Wednesday night/Thursday morning on BT Sports here in Britain.
The broadcast began with the prelims and the welterweight encounter between Keith Wisiniewski and Ivan Jorge.
This was one of those fights that didn’t really set the world on fire. For the first two rounds Jorge spent a great deal of time trying to secure a takedown against the cage, and when he was successful Wisiniewski, more often than not, managed to get back to his feet in seconds. Wisiniewski, for his part, got off some good combinations, and his knees from the Thai clinch caused the Brazilian a bit of trouble.
Things got slightly better in the third round when Jorge seemed to abandon his wish to take the fight to the ground. Instead he concentrated on delivering numerous knees to the body while he had Wisiniewski in a Thai clinch of his own. The only problem was that even though he was hurting his man for the majority of the round his attack was somewhat one dimensional, and it wasn’t until the last minute that he added in a few punches and elbows.
So with the finish absolutely nowhere in sight the judges were called upon for the first time, and they were in complete agreement as Jorge took the unanimous decision.
The welterweight action continued with an all-Brazilian battle as Joao Zeferino went up against Elias Silverio.
This one was a little better, and it certainly proved to be an interesting three round affair, mainly because the aggression levels were a lot higher than the previous fight.
Both guys put in good performances. Zeferino looked quite intent on taking the fight to the ground with his clinches against the cage, while Silverio’s striking looked quite good, although it was a little perplexing that he didn’t do anything when he ended up in top position when the fight went to the ground.
The third round was the best of the bunch here. Silverio landed some nice combinations, and his one-two punch gave Zeferino some trouble. Zeferino was also relentless as he looked to take the fight to the ground.
But like the previous fight the end was nowhere in sight, which meant more work for the judges as they continued with their agreeing ways, giving Silverio the unanimous decision.
It was down to bantamweight next as Lucas Martins took on Junior Hernandez.
The shortest fight of the night saw both fighters going for blows right off the bat, and it wasn’t long before Martins began to get the better of the exchanges. A right had soon sent his man crashing to the mat, and Martins quickly took his back and locked in a rear naked choke. Hernandez tried to punch his way free, but when he passed out the referee stopped the action to give Martins the submission win after just 70 seconds.
The final preliminary fight was another all-Brazilian battle as Felipe Arantes faced Kevin Souza in the featherweight division.
This one had clear boundaries between the two fighters, with the grappler, Arantes, taking on the striker in Souza, and it proved to be another solid three rounder.
Souza began to show his class as a striker early on in the first round, and even though he seemed content with landing single punches instead of combinations it did do him a lot of good, until Arantes changed levels and scored with a takedown. Souza did a good job of tying his man up at first, but it wasn’t long before Arantes began to transition as he went for a couple of submissions.
The game changed a little in the second round. Although Arantes looked to take the fight to the ground once again Souza managed to keep them on their feet with his striking, although the combinations was somewhat absent once again. Arantes managed to come back into the fight a little in the second, although Souza rocked him with a few good rights before Arantes countered with a takedown again. He put in some good work while they were on the ground, but neither man looked like they were going to get a finish.
Which meant the judges were called upon again. This time they couldn’t agree as Souza took the split decision.
The main show began in the flyweight division as Marcos Vinicius faced Ali Bagautinov.
This one took a while to get going, literally, because they didn’t actually touch each other until they were into the second minute of the first round. At least from there it became a very enjoyable encounter, and another example of the striker against the grappler.
Bagautinov looked great with his combinations. Even though he was at a disadvantage as far as reach was concerned he caused Vinicius quite a bit of trouble, the first instance coming in the first round when he dropped the Brazilian with a big right. Vinicius managed to recover though and soon took control on the ground after he escaped from a guillotine attempt. Seconds later he took the Russian’s back, although he couldn’t quite lock in any of the submissions he was looking for.
From the second round onwards it developed into a nice back and forth battle. Bagautinov continued with his striking game, adding a takedown or two into the mix, while Vinicius continued to look more comfortable on the ground. This was never more evident during the striking exchanges with Bagautinov getting the better of him most of the time.
The end came in the third round. After the referee separated them when a Bagautinov takedown against the cage went nowhere the Russian hit his man with a left/right combination that sent his man crashing. A few more shots followed before the referee stepped in to give Bagautinov the TKO win.
Middleweight action followed as Rafael Natal took on Tor Troeng.
Now this was good, really good. For three rounds these two engaged in an enthralling back and forth encounter packed with great ground action.
It began when a glancing blow from Natal in the first round sent Troeng down to the mat. When Natal followed him down it looked like he was going to go in for the kill, but when Troeng managed to reverse the positions it signalled the start of some tremendous ground fighting action as each man would take the upper hand for a few moments before the other managed to reverse and take control for himself.
The fight looked like it could be all over when Natal’s aim got a little bit better in the second round. A big right to the chin sent the Swede crashing to the ground once more, and this time around it really looked like the end as Natal followed him down for some ground and pound. But just when it looked like he was out of it Troeng managed to reverse the positions again, and although Natal would go on to have the better of the exchanges this was basically how the action played out for the remainder of the fight.
As for the judges, they were back to their agreeing ways as Natal took the unanimous decision.
It was down to lightweight for the next fight as Francisco Trinaldo faced Piotr Hallmann.
This was another very enjoyable encounter. Trinaldo put on an excellent striking display in the first round. His left kicks to Hallmann’s body looked absolutely brutal, and it came as no surprise when they eventually took their toll on him and he slumped to the canvas.
But the Pole managed to suck it up and come back into the fight, and from the second round onwards he managed to take control when he took the fight to the ground. It looked as if Trinaldo was starting to tire as Hallmann worked his way into position so he could apply a kimura, and when he finally synched the hold in the Brazilian tapped to give Hallmann the submission win.
It was back to flyweight for the next fight as Joseph Benavidez faced Jussier Formiga.
This all-striking affair saw both fighters testing the waters early on, and it soon developed into a nice little battle in which both men rolled off some good combinations. But just when it looked like we were going into the second round a Benavidez combination finished off with a knee to the body sent Formiga crashing. Benavidez followed him down for a spot of ground and pound before the referee stopped the action to give Benavidez the TKO win.
The co-main event saw a return to the middleweight division as Yushin Okami took on Jacare Souza.
Much like the previous fight we had a bit of water testing early on, but it wasn’t long before Souza rocked his man and unleashed a barrage of blows. Okami managed to survive this onslaught though, cementing his mini-comeback when he escaped from Souza’s takedown attempt.
We then saw a return to the striking battle, and while both guys got in some good shots it was Souza who connected with the big blow once more as a big right sent the Japanese star crashing to the mat. Souza followed up with a barrage of right hands before the referee stepped in to give Souza the TKO win.
The main event featured light heavyweight action as Glover Teixeira went up against Ryan Bader.
This was definitely worthy of it’s spot on the card. These two began exchanging as soon as the fight began. Both guys went for early takedowns, with Bader rocking his man with a left momentarily before they engaged in a clinch against the cage which ultimately went nowhere.
The fight then progressed into a nice striking battle. Both fighters got in good shots before Bader rocked Teixeira with another left, but just when it looked like Bader was going in for the kill the Brazilian connected with a right/left combination that sent Bader down. Teixeira quickly followed, and after a few well placed shots the referee stopped the action to give Teixeira the TKO win.
The show rounded out with filler material in the form of the welterweight clash between Yuri Villefort and Sean Spencer.
I’m glad they had time to show this fight, mainly because it proved to be a very interesting encounter. Villefort began his shift by going for a high knee, and for the first few moments he seemed intent on using kicks instead of punches as he attacked Spencer’s lead leg. The only problem was that Spencer was closing the distance extremely well, and his footwork and combinations were earning him some success.
But as the first round became the second round the Brazilian began to have more and more success with his kicks. Spencer was visibly slowing and starting to look somewhat sluggish, although his takedown defence looked sound.
As the third round began both fighters began to look like they were running out of juice. The pre-round telling off that Spencer received seemed to do the trick as he upped his game a little, and it was nice to see both fighters swinging for the fences as the fight came to an end.
As for the judges there was no home country bias as Spencer took the split decision.
In conclusion – the UFC’s third show in just over a week proved to be…well, let me put it this way.
This was one of those shows that was a little shaky to start off with, but as the night went on it developed into a pretty good show. There were some decent performances here, and although it was a mixed night for the home country fighters overall I’d say that they should be quite happy with their contributions.
As for my fight of the night no-prize this time around I’m going to join the popular opinion and go for the Rafael Natal/Tor Troeng middleweight encounter. Some decent stuff there.
So over 2,000 words later let’s wrap this thing up by giving this show the thumbs up. Well, it probably would have been a stretch to have three “big thumbs up” shows in a row, wouldn’t it?