Following one of the craziest opening rounds ever seen in the Octagon, Rousimar Palhares eventually settled down at the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Saturday night, delivering an impressive and comprehensive three round decision win over courageous American Dan Miller in UFC RIO prelim action. See post-fight interview
The unanimous decision win for the middleweight standout read 29-27, 30-27, and 30-25.
After a brief feeling out process standing, Palhares got close and pulled guard, almost locking in a submission from the bottom. Miller powered his way out and got back to his feet, but midway through the round, Palhares knocked Miller down with a front kick to the face. Miller quickly recovered and got into the top position and then stood, shaking off the shot with no ill effects. Palhares was showing off some improved striking, drilling Miller with a right hand and then knocking him down with a right kick to the head. A barrage of strikes followed, and then Palhares, thinking the fight was over, rose to his feet and raised his hands in victory. After this confusing sequence, the bout resumed, and a left by Miller dropped Palhares just before the bell.
Both bloodied, Miller and Palhares came out fast for round two and Palhares took an early advantage on his foe, pounding away from the top position when they hit the mat. After half a round of this, Palhares looked winded by the assault and Miller’s bloodied face showed the effects of the Brazilian’s punches. Referee Herb Dean warned Miller that he was going to stop the fight, and the gutsy New Jersey native showed signs of life to stay in the fight, and amazingly, he made it out of the round.
Miller patiently worked his standup in round three, remarkably getting himself back in the fight with a stiff jab and the occasional right as Palhares played it safe from the outside. But “Toquinho” was still able to get his shots in, capping off a wild night in the middleweight division.
With the win, Palhares ups his record to 22-3; Miller falls to 13-6 with 1 NC.
FISHER vs. TAVARES
Florianopolis lightweight Thiago Tavares was in top-notch form from start to finish against veteran Spencer Fisher, methodically breaking down his foe until he finished things via TKO in the second round. See post-fight interview
Tavares fired off a number of kicks at Fisher before getting a takedown, and he pinned “The King” against the fence. Tavares did a great job of keeping Fisher from getting back to his feet, but with 2:16 left, referee Marc Goddard restarted things, putting Fisher (25-8) back in business. Tavares quickly closed the gap and forced Fisher to the fence, eventually getting another takedown. With Fisher against the fence, Tavares pounded away with strikes and almost took Fisher’s back before the end of the frame.
Not straying from the gameplan, Tavares (20-4-1) took Fisher down early in round two and was again pinned to the fence. Tavares took his time, but when warned by Goddard to improve position, he did, and he took Fisher’s back. What followed was a series of unanswered strikes, leaving Goddard no choice but to call a halt to the bout at 2:51 of the round.
THIAGO vs. MITCHELL
Brazilian hero Paulo Thiago left his fans happy in his welterweight bout with David Mitchell, scoring a shutout three round unanimous decision win. See post-fight interview
All three judges saw it 30-27 for the contender from Brasilia.
Greeted by a rousing ovation, Thiago tried to get rid of Mitchell early with two huge looping rights, but they just missed the mark. 90 seconds in, Thiago took his foe down, opting to try his luck on the mat. Mitchell held off any danger, and Thiago got back to his feet. With 1:35 left, Thiago was able to slam “Daudi” to the canvas, and he quickly established himself in side control. Mitchell’s defense was solid though, prompting Thiago to let him free as they ended the round standing.
After some fairly even action in the opening minute of the second frame, the two hit the mat three times, with Thiago getting up quickly when he saw nothing substantial on the menu. And though Mitchell was staying aggressive on the feet, Thiago was making him pay with solid counters from long range.
Thiago was in total control in the final round, jarring Mitchell with a flush left to the face, tripping him to the canvas, and even scoring with a left kick to the head in the first half of the round. Mitchell began getting back into the things in the second half of the frame, but even though he was scoring, he wasn’t doing enough to turn the fight around, and it was Thiago who ended the final five minutes with a rear naked choke attempt that was only interrupted by the bell.
With the win, Thiago improves to 14-3; Mitchell falls to 11-2.
ASSUNCAO vs. EDUARDO
Former featherweight contender Raphael Assuncao made a successful jump to the bantamweight division, decisioning Johnny Eduardo over three rounds to earn his first UFC victory. See post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
After a slow start, Eduardo got the crowd into it with a stiff right hand that jarred Assuncao. Assuncao shook the effects of the blow off and continued to stand with the Muay Thai expert until he was able to score the takedown midway through the frame. Assuncao was effective with his elbows from the top position, but a stall by Eduardo produced a standup by referee Marc Goddard with a little over a minute left.
Some scrappy back and forth from the two men ended up with Assuncao pinning Eduardo against the fence. With 90 seconds gone, the two broke, and Eduardo was able to land solid strikes from long range as he kept Assuncao at bay. That didn’t last long, as Assuncao closed the gap and jammed his foe against the fence again, keeping him there for a while before breaking. As the seconds ticked away, Assuncao took Eduardo down and took his back, finishing the round strong.
Eduardo pushed the pace to begin the third, perhaps knowing that time was running out on him, but Assuncao wasn’t flustered by the aggression. Midway through the round, the two tumbled to the canvas, with Assuncao getting a number of strikes as Eduardo looked to lock his leg up. After a standup by Goddard with a minute left, Eduardo made his final charge, scoring a flash knockdown with a right hand, but that was it for the Rio native.
With the win, Assuncao improves to 16-4; Eduardo falls to 25-9.
SILVA vs. RAMOS
Vila Velha, Espirito Santo, Brazil’s Erick Silva delivered a crushing message via right hand to Luis Ramos in their welterweight bout, knocking out “Beicao” in the first round. See post-fight interview
After the two raced around the Octagon at the opening bell looking for openings, Silva shot out a quick left rangefinder, which he followed with a looping right hand that landed flush on Ramos’ jaw, knocking him to the canvas. Ramos initially looked like he would be able to recover, but a few more rights forced Herb Dean to step in and stop the bout at the 40 second mark.
Silva, who was originally scheduled to face Mike Swick before Swick pulled out of the bout due to injury, ups his record to 13-1 with 1 NC. Ramos falls to 19-7.
ALCANTARA vs. ARANTES
Marajo native Yuri Alcantara earned his first UFC victory in featherweight action, unanimously outpointing Sao Paulo’s Felipe Arantes over three rounds. See post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28.
The two Brazilians traded kicks from long range in the opening two minutes, with Alcantara then making the first ground move with a quick takedown. On the mat, Alcantara landed a series of hard shots, bloodying his foe under the right eye. With a minute left, referee Mario Yamasaki restarted the action, and while Arantes tried to make something happen, his strikes were just missing the mark.
In the second minute of round two, Alcantara got Arantes back to the mat, and he was able to easily move into side control and then the mount. A triangle attempt came up empty, but he was still able to maintain top position until Yamasaki stood the fighters up with two minutes remaining. Arantes moved forward for a spell but wasn’t able to get anything going, so he went into countering mode and wound up getting taken down again.
Alcantara jumped into attack mode to start the final round, getting Arantes to the mat and then taking his back. Arantes turned quickly and got into the top position, getting the space and opportunity to drop hard elbows on his opponent. Even though Arantes was staying busy, Yamasaki saw fit to stand the fighters up again with a little over two minutes left. Alcantara put his countryman on his back when the action resumed, and with the crowd beginning to get restless, another restart ensued. But it was Alcantara refusing to stray from his gameplan, as ended the bout with another takedown.
With the win, Alcantara improves to 25-3; Arantes falls to 13-4 with 2 NC.
JABOUIN vs. LOVELAND
Canada’s Yves Jabouin was sharp in his 135-pound debut, as he held off an early assault from Ian Loveland to pound out a three round split decision win. See post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28 twice and 27-30
There were some varied offensive attacks from both men in the first round, with the unorthodox Loveland controlling much of the round on the feet and the mat until a solid right hand by Jabouin jarred the Oregon native just before the bell.
Loveland (14-9) wasted no time getting the bout to the mat in round two, but Jabouin whipped off a quality reversal to get into the top position. Loveland returned the favor moments later, but 1:30 in, Jabouin (16-7) scrambled back to his feet. There, the Montrealer got a little more aggressive, with a spinning back kick and back fist highlighting his offensive assault while standing before he finished the round with a takedown.
Winging hooks from the time he came out of the corner for round thee, Loveland was obviously trying to keep Jabouin from getting into an offensive rhythm, but the “Tiger” was able to break his foe’s early advantage with a quick takedown. The reset allowed Jabouin to get back to the business of poking at his opponent with a variety of punches, kicks, and spinning maneuvers, and as the round progressed, it was evident that his takedown defense was adding to the list of positives taken from his first bantamweight outing.
UFC RIO Prelim Results: Palhares and Tavares Lead Brazil to Victory
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