Another weekend and another UFC show, they seem to be coming thick and fast. This one was coming from Natal in Brazil in front of a crowd of 6828 fans. As you would expect, the card was stacked with Brazilian fighters, with the main event being the light heavyweight contest between Shogun Rua and Dan Henderson.
The main card consisted of 6 fights.
The opening contest was a featherweight clash which saw Rony Jason (Brazil) take on Steven Siler (USA). Jason landed some early strikes in the stand up, Siler wasn’t too troubled until he was visibly hurt by a big right hook, and he moved his hand towards his face in pain, Jason quickly followed that with a strong left which floored Siler who was in trouble.
Jason pounced to take advantage and began to unload shots on his opponent but just as quickly the referee jumped in and stopped the fight, with Siler deemed to be not intelligently defending himself. Siler was unhappy as he thought the stoppage was early, and replays show he may have a case.
Winner Rony Jason, by TKO in 1.17 in Round 1.
The second fight saw Brazilian Michel Prazeres take on Mairbek Taisumov of Vienna in the lightweight division. Taisumov went into the fight as favourite, but it was the Brazilian who started the more lively of the two. Prazeres landed a few nice combos before taking Taisumov down early in the round. He got a second take down, but in the process Taisumov held on to the cage illegally.
Prazeres went for an armbar attempt which Taisumov managed to escape from and in the process struck Prazeres with an illegal head kick to his grounded opponent.
Back on their feet referee Mario Yamasaki deducted 1 point from Taisumov, meaning Prazeres took the round 10-8. Round 2, and Taisumov caught Prazeres with a kick, but was hit by a strong right hand and forced into the cage, which he illegally grabbed again, which forced the referee to deduct another point.
Effectively this meant Taisumov need a stoppage to win the contest as he was going to be down 2 rounds. It didn’t seem to spark him into life as Prazeres continued to best the round, and landed a nice head kick and over hand right. Prazeres’ round 10-8.
Going into the third and final round Taisumov’s corner was repeatedly shouting at him to give it everything he had. Prazeres attempted a takedown defended well by Taisumov, although he shortly after got a final warning over holding the cage.
At this point he started to throw more looking for the knockout blow, and even attempted a takedown.
But it was Prazeres who finished the round the stronger with a takedown of his own with 90 seconds to go and he saw out the round. 10-9 to Prazere.
Winner by unanimous decision 30-25 (all 3 judges), Michel Prazeres.
The light heavyweights were up next, with Gian Villante from USA taking on Fabio Maldonado of Brazil. Villante started well and scored an early takedown, which he followed up with numerous knee shots to the thigh.
He managed another takedown and Maldonado, who has a boxing background, was struggling to counter the wrestling moves. 10-9 Villante.
The second round saw Maldonado get caught early with a hard left hook, but the underdog seemed to find his feet though and really started working his jab.
Villante took him down again though and opened up a cut around his opponents eye with some more knee shots. The site of blood seemed to trigger Maldonado, as he then started to utilise his boxing skills, to the point where Villante just about made it to the end of the round. 10-9 Maldonado.
Round 3 was more of the same with Maldonado putting on a bit of a boxing master class.
Villante tried a takedown to no avail, he then landed a right hand on Maldonado’s jaw, who took it and slapped his jaw as if to say he felt nothing.
The crowd loved it. Another flurry of combos had Villante on the floor momentarily, and the onslaught continued to the final bell. 10-8 round for me in favour of Maldonado.
Winner by Unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28) Fabio Maldonado
The next fight was Ultimate Fighter 2 winner, Leonardo Santos of Brazil against Northern Irishman Norman Parke, in a lightweight fight. Parke went into the fight as favourite, and made the early running, landing some kicks to the body.
Santos, came back with a head kick and upper cut which forced Parke’s eye to swell badly.
Most of the round was spent in stand up clinch. 10-9 Santos. The second round was more of the same, before Parke was deducted a point for grabbing his opponents shorts and using the grip to take him down.
Both guys traded combos before Parke took the upper hand, and attempted a take down in the last few seconds of the round. Parke just about did enough to take the round, which meant 9-9 after the point deduction.
The third round saw more urgency from Parke, he controlled Santos against the cage, before the ref separated the two.
Santos went for a takedown and failed. Parke realising he was probably a point behind was the slightly more active fighter, and went for a single leg takedown just before the bell.
He did just about enough to take the round 10-9 (although one of the judges disagreed)
Verdict was 29-27 to Santos, 28-28 and 28-28 – majority draw. Neither fighter can be too aggrieved at the decision.
The co-main event was up next, with middleweights Cezar Ferreira of Brazil against CB Dollaway of USA. It started of quick with a head kick by Ferreira, followed by a nice right hook by Dollaway.
No sooner had it started though than it was over, when Dolllaway dropped the Brazilian with a left hook, followed by some ground and pound before being stopped by the referee.
Winner CB Dollaway by TKO in 39 seconds Round 1.
The Main Event was the light heavyweight rematch 2 ½ years in the making from UFC139, pitting former champion Shogun Rua (32) against former Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson (43).
The first round started cagey, with nothing of note only a few strong kicks from Rua.
Henderson slowly started to find his range and both continued the feeling out process. Henderson threw a stiff jab, Rua got a knee to the body through.
Then the first significant action of the round as Henderson dropped Rua with a left hook, in the counter Henderson got caught and knocked to the ground by a vicious left. Rua took advantage and started some ground and pound, to the verge where it was almost stopped.
Henderson managed to get to his feet before being knocked down again, and Rua was unleashing punches and elbows to the point where it looked as if it might be stopped – just as the round finished to save Henderson. 10-9 Rua.
Round 2 started with Rua clobbering his elder opponent with a right to the ear, who began to look wobbly again form the first round. He managed to gain his composure by keeping Rua in a clinch against the fence.
Back to action and Henderson attempted a weak take down and Rua connected with a powerful uppercut that knocked Henderson down. He used the time on the ground again to catch his breath, as the ref stood them up the round fizzled out. 10-9 Rua.
Round 3 started with Henderson connecting with a right hand, he kept trying for it.
He got in a clinch with Rua and on release he hit him a huge right hook, landing on the nose and knocking him to the ground. Henderson followed up to finish him off and the referee quickly stopped.
After being on the verge of getting stopped himself, Henderson managed to turn it around, and even at the age of 43 he still has explosive knock out power. 10-9 Rua.
The win also pocketed Henderson the performance of the night bonus and the knock out of the night bonus, totalling $100,000.
The night seems to have been a success for the UFC in front of the fanatical Brazilian fans in a smaller arena than other UFC shows of late.