john lawrence gets in the cage …
The UFC returned to Brazil Saturday night for UFC on FX 8. For many fight fans, myself included, this was a very exciting night. It featured the UFC debut of former Strikeforce middleweight champions Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. The night did start out a little on the lack luster side, but shaped up to be a phenomenal night thanks to a little help from an MMA legend.
In the first fight of the night we watched as Brazilian submission experts Rafael Natal and Joao Zeferino went at it in the middleweight division. On paper this fight looked incredible, but it did not deliver as promised. This could be in part to the fact that Zeferino took the fight on short notice, so he was unable to get a full training camp in. Regardless, this fight was boring and not the best way to start a main card. The first round was a lot of apprehensive striking from both combatants as they felt each other out, until they went to the ground for most of the remainder of the round trying to heel hook each other. By the second round, Zeferino looked absolutely worn out, but Natal did not really do much to capitalize on it. This went on for the rest of the second and the third, until it finally went to the judge’s scorecards. Natal was able to pull out the decision and we were finally able to move on.
Winner via unanimous decision: Rafael Natal
In the lightweight division we got to watch two of the toughest guys in the division take a shot at each other. Rafael Dos Anjos and Evan Dunham, without a doubt, changed the pace of this fight card. Right out of the gate, you realized these two had come to fight. The match started with some great striking from both men, but with such a different approach to it. Dos Anjos is the more polished stylized striked, moving around a la boxing. Dunham is more straight forward and flat footed. He doesn’t dance around a lot, but he makes every move count. The first round was riddled with great striking from both competitors until Dos Anjos threw a leg kick that Dunham turned into a heel pick and took him to the mat. The basically were able to neutralize each others grappling until they were stood back up by the referee. We move into the second round with more striking followed by a nice takedown from Dunham. They get right back up and back to more striking. These two really used every striking technique there is. Leg kicks, body shots, flying knees. At this point in the fight, I would make the argument that this was a strong contender for fight of the night. Towards the end of the second, Dunham was really hitting his rhythm and landing a lot of his strikes. The third round was no disappointment either. In the last minute, Dunham waved on Dos Anjos to say let’s finish this strong, and they pounded the hell out of each other for the duration. Ultimately, this fight went to the judge’s table, and I could not agree less with the decision they made. I saw in favor of Dunham, but I guess it was just not his day.
Winner via unanimous decision: Rafael Dos Anjos
In the third fight of the main card, we got to see the UFC debut of five time Jiu Jitsu world champion Ronaldo Souza as he took on Chris Camozzi. The first minute or so of the fight involved some back and forth striking, until Souza was able to take the fight to where he is most comfortable. He caught Camozzi with a trip and landed in his half guard. This is where we get to watch as Souza does what he does best. He is fairly easily able to work passed the guard of Camozzi into side control. When Camozzi tried to escape, Souza used omoplata to roll him back over. Again Souza gains side control and is able to sink in the arm triangle joke. I don’t think it’s going to be too long before we see the name Ronaldo Souza in a title match.
Winner via submission: Ronaldo Souza
In a sort of ironic twist for the main event, we get to see the man who took Ronaldo Souza’s Strikeforce title, in his UFC debut. Luke Rockhold was the final Strikeforce Middleweight champion when the promotion folded. He came over to the UFC wanting to make a name for himself, and they gave him the chance by putting him in the cage against UFC legend Vitor Belfort. I’ve got to say on a side note that I was a little disappointed in the way the announcers handled this fight. We got to listen as they droned on and on about what a great athlete Rockhold is and what a great fighter he is. We got to hear how Vitor is going to have his hands full as Rockhold is going to push him to the limit, and that Rockhold is favored in this match. We got to hear about how Rockhold is younger and has a huge reach advantage. Now what the announcers left out is that Vitor Belfort at age 19 became the youngest fighter to ever score a victory in the octagon. They also failed to mention that Vitor has victories over guys like Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva, and even more recently Michael Bisping and Rich Franklin, and that every loss he has suffered has only been at the hands of other legends like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, and Anderson Silva. Meanwhile, the only fighter Rockhold has fought that’s even worth mentioning is Ronaldo Souza. Rockhold looked arrogant and disrespectful in the ring, taunting Belfort and looking put out by even being there. The good news for Rockhold is that he got to make a name for himself. The bad news is that name is “guy who Vitor knocked the fuck out with a back spin kick”. This fight in a matter of minutes became a highlight reel for the ages as Vitor showed us without a shadow of a doubt that at age 36, he’s just getting warmed up.
Winner via KO: Vitor “the Phenom” Belfort
Preliminary Fight Card Results:
|Light Heavyweight||Fabio Maldonado||def.||Roger Hollett||Decision (unanimous) (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)||3||5:00|
|Preliminary card (Facebook)|
|Flyweight||John Lineker||def.||Azamat Gashimov||TKO (punches)||2||1:07|
|Flyweight||Jussier Formiga||def.||Chris Cariaso||Decision (unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)||3||5:00|
|Lightweight||Lucas Martins||def.||Jeremy Larsen||KO (punch)|
Nik Lentz def. Hacran Dias via unanimous decision
Francisco Trinaldo def. Mike Rio via submission (arm triangle)
Gleison Tibault def. John Cholish via submission (guillotine)
Paulo Thiago def. Michel Prazeres via unanimous decision
Yuri Alcantara def. Iliara Santos via TKO (punches)
Fabio Maldonado def. Roger Hollett via unanimous decision
John Lineker def. Azamat Gashimov via TKO (punches)
Jussier Formiga def. Chris Cariaso via unanimous decision
Lucas Martins def. Jeremy Larsen via KO (punch)
Post Fight honors:
Fight of the Night: Lucas Martins and Jeremy Larsen
Submission of the Night: Ronaldo Souza
KO of the Night: Vitor Belfort
Snoozer of the Night: Rafael Natal and Joao Zeferino
Best use of a Back Spin Kick: Shutting up Luke Rockhold