Swedish bantamweight Bea Malecki kept her unbeaten record intact with a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision over Veronica Macedo in the UFC Brasilia opener.
Macedo used a stick and move strategy at a furious pace to begin the fight, finding no problem getting inside on her much taller foe. In between rushes from the Venezuelan, Malecki employed steady pressure, but Macedo remained the busier of the two in the first five minutes.
With two minutes gone in round two, things almost went awry for Macedo when she tried to pull guard and allowed Malecki to get into the mount position. Macedo eluded trouble, but it came right back when the fight went back to the ground and the Stockholm native landed several hard ground strikes. By the time the two were back on the feet with a minute left, Macedo’s gas tank appeared to be empty, but she kept throwing until another trip to the mat and more ground strikes from Malecki.
Macedo kept pressing in the third, and while her attacks were wild thanks to her fatigue, several were landing, even though the more technically sound fighter at this point was Malecki. Both threw technique out the window in the closing seconds, though, opting to slug it out to the horn.
In an entertaining flyweight clash, Octagon newcomer David Dvorak earned a unanimous decision win over Brazil’s Bruno Silva.
Dvorak controlled the fight on the feet in the early going, dodging the aggressive Silva, but with a little under a minute left a right kick up the middle by the Brazilian nailed Dvorak on the chin and put him down to a knee. A takedown followed, with Silva finishing strong on the mat.
Silva kept the momentum going in the second, but a trip to the mat saw Dvorak winding up on top, and the Czech Republic native added points to his total both there and once the fighters got back to their feet.
In the second minute of the final frame, Silva got the fight to the mat and immediately took Dvorak’s back, but the newcomer quickly reversed position, got back to his feet and landed some hard knees. Dvorak kept pressing as the seconds ticked down, and his late surge was rewarded by the judges, who scored the fight 29-28 across the board for Dvorak, now 18-3. Silva falls to 10-5-2.
Flyweights Maryna Moroz and Mayra Bueno Silva left it all in the Octagon in their three-rounder, with Moroz holding off a late run from Silva to win a three-round unanimous decision.
All three judges scored it 29-28 for Moroz, now 10-3. Silva falls to 6-1.
It was a close start to the fight, Moroz the busier striker while Silva landed the harder shots. But Moroz broke things open with a little under two minutes left with a takedown and some ground-and-pound that sealed the round.
The second round looked similar early on, but it was the ground dominance by Moroz that allowed the Ukrainian to start pulling away, and her unanswered ground strikes in the closing minute had her on the verge of a stoppage win.
Moroz started out strong in the third, but Silva’s thudding punches and kicks began to pay dividends as she had Moroz on the defensive for a good spell, and it didn’t help when a knee opened up a cut on the forehead of Moroz, who was fading but still throwing until the bout ended.
A grueling, grappling-heavy bout in the bantamweight division saw Peru’s Enrique Barzola and Brazil’s Rani Yahya battling to a three-round draw.
Scores were 29-28 Barzola and 28-28 twice.
The two scrambled for position in the second minute of the fight, and it was Yahya (26-10-1, 1 NC) briefly getting his foe’s back before Barzola (17-5-2) adjusted and got back to his feet. A right hand did land flush for Yahya moments later, leading to a takedown attempt by the Brazilian. Barzola defended well on the mat as the scrambles continued, Yahya determined to take over, but unable to.
The fight went back to the mat to start round two, Yahya in the top position and in control. As the round progressed, the Brazilian stayed in the dominant position, but late in the frame, Barzola got loose and scored his own takedown and kept Yahya grounded until the two stood and exchanged punches in the closing seconds.
The mat action continued in the third, but this time is was Barzola dominating with his ground strikes and positioning as Yahya tired badly, unable to put together any offense in the final five minutes.
In welterweight action, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos won a close, but unanimous, decision over Aleksei Kunchenko.
It was a technical kickboxing match for much of the first round, dos Santos using his speed advantage to take the early lead. The Brazilian added a takedown with 90 seconds left, an important notch in his belt in the opening stanza.
Kunchenko stayed close in the second as the standup chess match continued, but again, dos Santos was the busier of the two. Kunchenko’s counters hit their mark more frequently in the final round, but another takedown late by dos Santos was a key scoring blow in a close fight that went to dos Santos via three scores of 29-28.
With the win, dos Santos moves to 22-6. Kunchenko falls to 20-2.
Amanda Ribas remained perfect in the Octagon in a strawweight bout, as she shut out Canada’s Randa Markos over three rounds to move to 3-0 in the UFC.
Scores were 30-26 and 30-25 twice for Ribas, now 9-1. Markos falls to 10-9-1.
A slip to the canvas by Markos in the second minute of round one sent the fight to the mat with Ribas in the top position. Markos defended well for a spell, but Ribas was able to improve her position before the two rose midway through the frame. With under two minutes left, a kick to the body put Markos on the defensive and led to a Ribas takedown and some ground-and-pound until the end of the round.
After the domination of the first frame by Ribas, Markos rebounded in the second, and though she didn’t do enough to even the score with the Brazilian, but she was throwing and landing some hard shots while defending the grappling of Ribas well.
Markos got the fight to the mat early in the third, but Ribas responded by nearly locking up an armbar. That didn’t happen, but Ribas did reverse position on her bloodied foe and almost got an arm triangle. When that didn’t pan out, it was back to her ground strikes, and while the Brazilian didn’t get the finish, it was a dominant and impressive effort over a tough opponent.
Mexico’s Brandon Moreno made a major statement to the flyweight division as he defeated longtime contender Jussier Formiga via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for the No. 5-ranked Moreno, now 17-5-1. The No. 3-ranked Formiga falls to 23-7.
Formiga went all-in for a guillotine choke in the opening minute, but as the combatants went to the mat, Moreno was able to pull his head free. Moments later, a scramble saw Formiga look for more submissions from his back, but again, it was Moreno getting free and returning to control from the top position. With 90 seconds left, another scramble by Formiga left the Brazilian in the top position. Referee Eduardo Herdy restarted the action with a little over 30 seconds left, and it was Moreno throwing his foe to the mat briefly before the horn sounded.
Two minutes into round two, Formiga got a takedown, only to see Moreno rise and spin his foe to the mat, landing in the top position again. Once standing, Moreno landed a kick that Formiga used to lock up with the “Assassin Baby” against the fence, but he wasn’t able to put the fight back on the map.
A heated standup exchange early in round three favored Moreno, who rocked Formiga, but the Brazilian shook off the blows and remained in the pocket with the Mexican, who was swinging for the fences with each shot. Formiga did get his takedown midway through the frame, but as soon as he hit the deck, Moreno was back up and intent on working his striking attack. With a minute left, it was back to the mat, Formiga moving into full mount, keeping him in control for the rest of the bout.
Lightweight veteran Francisco Trinaldo continues to put the wins in the bank, this time defeating John Makdessi via unanimous decision in his home city of Brasilia.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Trinaldo, now 25-7. Makdessi falls to 17-7.
The southpaw Trinaldo quickly settled into the role of aggressor as the fight began, and he remained the busier fighter over the course of the round, mixing up his punches and kicks well. Makdessi’s plan was apparently to counter, but through the first two rounds, it was Trinaldo moving forward and landing frequently while the Canadian’s retorts were more understated. That was the story of the final frame as well, allowing the 41-year-old to take the decision victory.
It wasn’t the explosive bout most expected, but Nikita Krylov will take it, as he earned his first pro win by decision in his bout with fellow light heavyweight contender Johnny Walker.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for the No. 12-ranked Krylov, now 27-7. The No. 10-ranked Walker falls to 17-5.
Walker opened with a variety of kicks that were met by a clinch by Krylov. While there, the two traded strikes before Krylov sought out – and got - a takedown. The action slowed on the mat until Walker got up with less than two minutes left. And while there was another heated exchange, Krylov was intent on putting the fight on the canvas and he succeeded, wearing Walker down in the process.
After a right from Walker to begin round two, it was back to the deck for the Brazilian, who was having trouble stopping Krylov’s takedowns. Walker was able to reverse position with a little over a minute left, and he was able to get to the Ukraine native’s back, landing several hard ground strikes before the end of the frame.
The fight was back to the mat almost immediately in round three, the two 205-pounders trading positions of control until Krylov ended up on top. Walker briefly looked for a submission, but Krylov got free and made his opponent pay with hard elbows, putting a stamp on his victory.
Renato Moicano didn’t get to fight in front of his hometown fans in Brasilia, but he did get an impressive victory in his lightweight debut, as he submitted Damir Hadzovic in just 44 seconds.
Moicano got the fight to the mat almost as soon as it began, and he immediately took Hadzovic’s back. Seconds later, a rear naked choke was locked in and the tap followed, producing the first finish of the night.
With the win, Moicano moves to 14-3-1. Hadzovic falls to 13-6.
Many wondered whether the UFC Brasilia co-main event was going to be a changing of the guard for jiu-jitsu fighters in the Octagon, and it may have been, but it was Gilbert Burns using his striking game to halt Demian Maia in the first round of their welterweight bout.
Nearly a minute in, the 42-year-old Maia shot for a takedown and got it, but Burns didn’t stay there long. Maia remained locked on to his foe, though, working for another takedown as the two battled against the fence. With a little over three minutes to go, he got Burns back to the mat and had his back, but Burns escaped and rose to his feet once more. It was there that he made his move, dropping Maia with a flush left hook. Burns thought the fight was over, but when referee Osiris Maia didn’t step in, Burns fired off a series of rapid-fire punches that brought an end to the fight at 2:34 of the opening frame.
With the win, the No. 12-ranked Burns moves to 18-3. The No. 5-ranked Maia falls to 28-10.
Now tied with Donald Cerrone for the most finishes in UFC history with 16, lightweight contender Charles Oliveira continued to impress in the main event at Ginasio Nilson Nelson on Saturday, extending his current winning streak to seven with a third-round submission of Kevin Lee.
Oliveira went airborne with several of his attacks in the early going, but once Lee started getting into his rhythm, the Brazilian took the fight to the mat and began working for a submission. Lee defended well and tried to scramble his way into a position of control, and he ultimately got there with a minute left. Yet while Lee was now on top, Oliveira kept seeking the finish. Lee did land some hard strikes in the closing 30 seconds, though, capping an interesting five minutes.
Lee’s striking was sharp as the second round began, but Oliveira kept marching forward with his own strikes, landing an uppercut that slowed the Michigan native down. With a little over three minutes left, Lee switched things up with a takedown, nearly getting caught in an armbar in the process. Lee got loose while Oliveira rose to his feet, but another Lee takedown followed. Able to slow things down from the top position, Lee stayed busy enough to avoid a restart, and he remained in control until the horn.
Using his striking to set up a takedown, Lee shot in to start the third round, but Oliveira locked in a guillotine choke. Lee tapped out 28 seconds into the frame, and while he later protested, the replays told the tale.
With the win, the No. 13-ranked Oliveira moves to 29-8 with 1 NC. The No. 8-ranked Lee, who missed weight for the bout at 158.5 pounds, falls to 18-6.