Greetings, fight fans! UFC Fight Night Brasilia is in the books, and it was quite the change of pace from the usual UFC affair. Due to the spread and concerns over the coronavirus, this event was held in a closed arena, meaning no fans were allowed in the venue and the fights went off in an essentially empty arena. Aside from that, we saw the card start out with a record tying nine-straight decisions, which wasn't as daunting as one might normally think since the fights were pretty entertaining overall and the judges were actually more or less on point. One has to wonder how much the empty arena affected this; I tend to think all the decisions were more due to this just being a very well-matched card, but with this being a rare event where the judges were given many opportunities to slip up and didn't make any egregious errors, part of me thinks the crowd might serve as more of a distraction to them than perhaps we thought, especially in a place like Brazil where the crowds tend to be strongly partisan. All in all I think the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the event may have resulted in a net positive for the card overall from a viewer's standpoint. So let's talk about what the hell happened!
THE MAIN CARD
Oliveira throttles Lee, enters the top 10
#13 Charles Oliveira def. #8 Kevin Lee by submission via guillotine choke (0:28, R3)
While he hasn't yet officially become a top 10 lightweight, you have to figure this win will shoot Oliveira up several spots after taking out the #8 fighter in Lee so emphatically. It was a banner performance for the native Brazilian, as he looked comfortable and composed everywhere the fight went, showing once again just how much he's evolved in the 10 years he's been with the promotion. He came out aggressive right away throwing a diverse array of attacks, from standard jabs and right hands to jumping front kicks. You could tell this caught Lee a bit off guard, and it took him a little time to get his rhythm down start landing punches of his own. Just when he started to have success Oliveira shot in deep on a takedown, but Lee was able to reverse and end up on top, but had his leg wrapped up immediately. Through an extended grappling display we were actually shown just how solid a grappler Lee is if anything; we already know Oliveira is one of the very best offensive grapplers in the sport, but Lee was able to avoid many bad positions and end up on top most of the time. The round ended with Lee on top landing elbows as Oliveira threw his legs up in search of submissions.
Round two began with Oliveira once again showing his aggression. Lee seemed to have found his range at this point and landed some stiff punches up top, but then Oliveira began finding a lot of success with strikes up the middle, particularly his right uppercut, which he landed several times in a short window, including a right uppercut-right hook combination that stunned Lee. He followed up with another uppercut and a front kick to Lee's face that had him circling out before returning fire with a right hand. Lee then exploded forward with a double leg takedown and put Oliveira on his back, only to immediately end up in a fairly deep armbar. He managed to scramble out of it, but found himself avoiding a triangle and an omoplata in quick succession before scrambling back to his feet. Lee wasted no time in taking him down once again and settling into half guard. At this point both men seemed to slow down a bit, and Lee mostly stayed heavy on top and landed occasional punches. The round ended with Oliveira going for a leg and Lee trying to make him pay with punches.
After both men had their moments in the first couple rounds, Oliveira once again came out aggressively and looked fresher at the start. He landed another jumping front kick, and landed a right hand over the top, before throwing another front kick that Lee caught and converted to a takedown attempt. This proved to be his undoing, as he shot in for a single leg with his neck left completely unprotected, and Oliveira jumped on the opportunity to lock in a quick guillotine and pull guard. It was immediately tight, and although Lee tried to fight it, it was a done deal.
No need to protect your neck against a front headlock choke wizard, right?
He relented and tapped out, but when referee Mike Beltran stepped in, he grabbed a rear waist lock on Oliveira as he crawled away, and claimed he never tapped. I know it's easy to jump on Lee because of his brash personality, but I doubt he was trying to pull a fast one here. Rather it's very likely that he briefly went out and just didn't realize/remember he had tapped when he came to. That's supported by the fact that he accepted it pretty quickly once he saw the replay, and the fact that if you're going to try to get away with fake tapping, you don't tap five or six times; you tap once or twice so you might have some type of plausible deniability. Ask Chael Sonnen or Matt Lindland, they know.
Leaving his neck out there was a pretty big blunder by Lee, but we've seen now that he's historically prone to those when he's tired, which is any time after round two. His other main mistake during the fight was more about what he didn't do: head movement. Why were uppercuts and front kicks landing so well for Oliveira? Because Lee's head rarely moved off the centerline. He'd often lean straight back or duck down straight forward to avoid strikes, and with Oliveira's long reach he found himself getting tagged at the end of a lot of long punches and ducking into uppercuts. When he threw strikes he likewise stayed in front of Oliveira and didn't move laterally with his attacks. When he reached in to attempt the clinch, he left his dead center for Oliveira to hit with uppercuts. It's a consistent problem with him, and why he does tend to be so hittable, but Oliveira's pressure and aggression created those opportunities more often and forced him to think, which sometimes can be a negative for fighters because they spend more time thinking about what the right move is instead of just doing.
HED MOOMENT! HED MOOMENT!
As mentioned, Oliveira looked great, and it's just another strong piece of evidence suggesting he's a legitimate top lightweight who might be able to make waves at the top. He's been in the UFC for 10 years and is only 30; that's a lot of experience at a high level, and he's still young enough to capitalize on it physically as well as mentally. I mentioned in breaking down this fight that I wasn't entirely sold on Oliveira's mental game, but he's definitely come a long way there, and isn't as prone to breaking at the first sign of adversity. He looked composed the entire fight, which is leaps and bounds beyond where he was years ago when there was actually a time people were ready to close the book on him as any kind of meaningful contender. His comfort on the feet now nearly matches his comfort on the ground, and it's making for an extremely dangerous, confident fighter who fighters aren't safe against anywhere the fight goes. He's also shown that lightweight is the division for him, which is more than we can say for his opponent.
Lee weighed in a 158.5 lbs for this fight; 2.5 lbs above the lightweight limit. It's the second time he's missed weight in the UFC (both for main events), and the most he's missed weight by in his career. He had a disastrous welterweight debut in a submission loss to Rafael dos Anjos less than a year ago, and that really puts him in a rough spot because it showed that welterweight might be a tough division for him as well since his wrestling was ineffective against a fellow former lightweight. He has long lobbied for a 165 lb division, but it looks like the UFC has no interest in it (I personally welcome it), so it looks like he might be damned either way. It's likely he could be forced to welterweight after this fight, and with his physical style and defensive limitations on the feet, I don't see him going as far there as he did at 155. At the same time he's only 27, which is actually still younger than Oliveira was when he turned things around (28). When Oliveira was 27, he had lost three of his last four fights, and decided to move back to 155, where he'd enjoy the 8-1 run he's currently since returning. Lee is in a very similar position now, so maybe a welterweight move can do positive things for him; though admittedly Oliveira did have the benefit of fighting lesser competition that Lee might not be privy to at welterweight, given his status at lightweight. Either way, there's no telling what's in his future.
I've gone on long enough in this segment, so what's next for these two? Oliveira should hind himself available to take on some pretty highly ranked lightweights, but many of them are booked as of now. Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje would both be great fights, but Gaethje is dead-set on fighting McGregor, and honestly it'd be a step down for both; rankings-wise for Gaethje and name-wise for McGregor. Nate Diaz is another name, but much like McGregor he doesn't seem to want to go back to 155, and likewise doesn't appear committed to fighting in general. A rematch with Paul Felder, who lost a razor-thin decision to Dan Hooker in New Zealand, seems like a pretty solid choice. He's ranked just above Lee right now, and it would make sense for him to be matched up as if he didn't lose any stock. For Lee, he's at the point now where he might be out of the top 10 come the next rankings update. Fringe top-15 fighters Islam Makhachev and Alexander Hernandez will meet next month, and I think the loser of that fight would be a good opponent for him. I don't anticipate Makhachev losing, but if he does, he and Lee have gone back and forth about fighting each other before.
Burns makes good on his claim of being willing to grapple with Maia, then TKOs him standing
#12 Gilbert Burns def. #5 Demian Maia by TKO via strikes (2:34, R1)
I mentioned in my breakdown that after analyzing the matchup a bit, I gave Maia much more of a chance where I initially favored Burns pretty big. Ultimately I still fell on the side of Burns, but judging by the way the fight ended, that initial thought might have been more appropriate. It's not entirely appropriate to say that, as Maia did have initial success with his pressure and grappling, which I did essentially predict happening in the early going. Maia played his usual game of gradual, but effective pressuring, and it didn't take long for Burns' back to be against the fence with Maia stalking and waiting for him to commit to something. Once he did, a right hand in this instance, Maia ducked under and took him to the mat. Burns immediately attacked a kneebar and then a heel hook, but Maia escaped them without issue. Once they stood shortly after, Maia just shot in immediately and dragged him to the ground again, this time transitioning to the back as Burns attempted to scramble to his feet. The cage blocked Maia's attempts to get the hooks in until he was able to pull Burns away from the cage and jump on his back before rolling to his back to try once again to secure both hooks. He managed to briefly transition to mount, but Burns immediately escaped out the back once that happened, and got back to his feet. Once they reset, Maia pawed out a couple jabs, and then stepped forward with a pretty lazy jab, not bringing his hand back up to his face or opting to throw a followup left afterward, which opened him right up for a huge counter left hook from Burns that dropped him flat on his back. Burns raised his hands immediately, not wanting to continue further attack, but the referee didn't stop the fight and Maia didn't look totally out of it, so he followed him down to the ground and landed enough unprotected hammerfists to Maia to prompt the stoppage.
Maia protested the stoppage afterward, and he may have felt fine, but the stoppage was just. He ate several unanswered shots after being dropped, and even if he was in actuality trying to grab a hold of Burns while eating the punches, it was not at all a good visual. Although improved, striking is clearly Maia's weak point, and the fact that Burns is making his bones as a quick, powerful, athletic striker who tends to put a lot into every shot is part of what gave me so much trepidation initially when it came to his chances. The other part is that while Maia is an elite grappler, so is Burns, and while Maia may be better, who don't need to be a better grappler than Maia to neutralize his ground game. I'd seen many saying that Maia would get a submission here, but I simply just didn't see that happening; people forget how high level Burns is on the ground because he fell in love with striking in recent years. The only thing that gave me pause is Maia's size and Burns' mediocre takedown defense, but in the end it was his grappling that prevented those things from being major issues.
All that said, I didn't see the stoppage coming. Maia has shown a great chin throughout his career, so I thought Burns would just kinda beat him up a bit on the feet in between bouts of grappling for 15 minutes, and come on stronger the longer the fight went. Maia's slow, technically lacking striking did him in here though; he managed to get his lead foot on the outside of Burns' when he threw that final jab (an important battle when you have a southpaw vs orthodox matchup), but that's a prime time to throw your power hand behind it because your lead foot boxes them into your power side. Maia didn't throw his left hand, and instead dropped has right after the jab and just kinda paused there for a beat, leaving himself wide open to the counter. Mistakes on the feet aren't uncommon for Maia, but he tends to get away with them more when he's facing opponents who are more wary of his ground game, which describes almost every one of his opponents not named Gilbert Burns.
This is a huge win for Burns, who was ranked #12 and just finished the #5 guy impressively. This should skyrocket him up the rankings and put him in position for some pretty important fights at 170 after just winning three fights since officially moving to the division. Michael Chiesa and Stephen Thompson are both without fights right now, and I think either of those would be fitting for him. As for Maia, this was a tough loss but I still have to assume he can beat a good amount of fighters in the division even at the ripe age of 42. Rafael dos Anjos has fallen on some rough times, and I think that fight makes sense, as would a fight with Robbie Lawler. Otherwise, I think a fight with Nate Diaz would be pretty awesome, provided Nate still wants to fight (as mentioned before). Maia's a guy who always has choices, whether against other ranked fighters in the division, or if they want to use him as a litmus test for guys with potential to get into the rankings. Regardless, they should make it count since apparently it'll be his final fight.
Moicano makes quick work of Hadzovic...then gets mad at him because there are no fans?
#7 (FW) Renato Moicano def. Damir Hadzovic by submission via rear naked choke (0:44, R1)
I thought this matchup was a great one for testing whether or not lightweight was the right move for Moicano, and the result showed both a lot and not enough. Obviously such an impressive finish shows he passed the test with flying colors, but it didn't allow much time to see how he deals with lightweights when he doesn't submit them in under 45 seconds. The fight essentially saw both men immediately crash into the pocket for an exchange, both land right hooks, but Moicano immediately grabbed a body lock following his combination and took the fight to the floor. He quickly stood and swept Hadzovic's legs to the side, then moved right to his back, where he locked up a rear-naked choke for the quick tapout.
Following the stoppage, Moicano lingered to stare Hadzovic down, which obviously didn't go well with him, and the two had to be separated by officials. Oddly enough, when interviewed after the fight, Moicano just seemed to be miffed that he was fighting in his hometown (he's actually from Brasilia), but there was no one there to cheer him on and celebrate his win. Not really a reason to be a jerk to your opponent, but I get his frustration. While apologizing to Hadzovic for the altercation, Moicano said he wanted to fight longer, to which Hadzovic replied, "Then you shouldn't have submitted me," which...yeah.
----: "I wanted to fight more."— UFC (@ufc) March 14, 2020
----: "Then you shouldn't have submitted me." pic.twitter.com/uEcO9UYWkl
When you're right, you're right...
Following the win Moicano called for a fight with Paul Felder. While it'd be a great fight, it's a bit of a stretch to say Moicano earned it by beating an unranked guy in his divisional debut. His reasoning that he was the #7 ranked featherweight and Felder is the #7 ranked lightweight is pretty weak. I say give him Scott Holtzman, another solid litmus test for him at 155. I'd like to see Hadzovic take on Frank Camacho, in what might be a "loser leaves town" bout, because that would be an awesome fight.
Krylov grinds out an ugly decision over Walker
#12 Nikita Krylov def. #11 Johnny Walker by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
In my breakdown for this one I ended up picking Walker, but all but flat-out said Krylov would win. Actually, scratch that; I did flat-out say it, and I'm kicking myself for not just picking him despite it not being the popular pick. I really just didn't see how Walker would win outside of catching him cold early in the fight, and Krylov has shown a granite chin through his career. His only stoppage loss due to strikes was in the third round of a heavyweight fight against Soa Palelei where he pretty much gassed himself out throwing everything at Palelei in the opening round, and was finished as much due to exhaustion than the strikes. He did show off that chin after he'd actually hurt Walker with punches; as he swarmed, Walker threw a backfist similar to the one he knocked Justin Ledet out with. It landed flush, and Krylov just walked right on through it. Didn't bode well for him in the striking exchanges, that's for sure. Outside of the stand up, I just didn't trust Walker's ability to stay standing or do much of anything on the ground.
Outside of catching Walker himself cold, the best way to beat him is to make the fight ugly, and that's exactly what Krylov did. He never allowed the fight to stay at distance for long, as he was always looking for clinch entries, and once there driving for takedowns. Walker has now shown that he doesn't much like adversity, and his cardio doesn't hold up when he has to work for any appreciable amount of time, as he was tired before the halfway point of the fight. Still, his best moment was probably late in the second round, where he managed to reverse out of a bad position and land several hard shots while on Krylov's back. By the third round he was so fatigued that even after he managed to sweep Krylov and get mount early in the round, Krylov still managed to scramble his way into top position and into half guard rather easily. It was a rather convincing workmanlike victory for Krylov.
So is the Walker hype train officially derailed yet? He has some natural ability and I actually find his eccentric character entertaining, but I was never under the impression that he was a great fighter by any means. Prior to his current two-loss streak, there were many people claiming he was potentially the man to dethrone Jon Jones. I just never saw why he was considered a threat other than his potential to land something random early, which tends not to work at a certain level. I can't put much stock into a guy that makes his bones quickly disposing of low-to-mid level fighters, and it all it took were a couple of ranked opponents to expose him in every phase of the game. It's not to say he doesn't have some potential, but he's far from there yet. Next up for Krylov: how about Volkan Oezdemir? That could be either really fun or really not. Walker probably needs a step back before he finds himself in a very bad place, so perhaps Michal Oleksiejczuk would suffice to show whether he really belongs among notable light heavyweights.
Trinaldo out-hustles Makdessi
Francisco Trinaldo def. John Makdessi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
It seemed fitting that Makdessi's main cornerman was Benson Henderson, because his primary strategy during the fight seemed to be circling and kicking. Funny enough Henderson was loudly praising him for it as well, which according to Bisping was more to influence the judges than to express how well his charge was actually doing. If anyone would know how to influence judges it would be Henderson, but in this case it didn't work. This is a classic case of strike totals not telling the whole story, because he can look at Makdessi's 67 significant strikes to Trinaldo's 55 and you may think Makdessi won it or that the fight was especially close. What those totals don't show is Trinaldo landing by far the harder, cleaner shots, and outlanding Makdessi in head strikes 34-to-15, while the majority of Makdessi's strikes were leg kicks (where he held a 36-to-4 advantage), and many of them weren't particularly hard because he landed most of them while circling away, in true Benson Henderson fashion.
Whenever he would try to get more aggressive, he would pretty much be scared off by the first good shot Trinaldo landed; and when he really tried to commit to pressuring, it was near the end of the fight when it was too late. All in all he just got outworked, and even though he was on a three-fight win streak prior to this fight, he hasn't looked particularly inspiring in a while. Not only has he talked about retirement more than once, but much of his decline seems to also coincide with his move away from Tristar gym to Roufusport in late 2017 (though he trained at the MMA Lab for this one, which would explain Henderson's presence). He was pretty critical of the gym following his departure, but despite the fact that he had struggles in the cage while there, I think he was also a better fighter while at Tristar. Now he's become much more defensive and prone to close fights, he shows less urgency, and the jab seems to be less of a priority for him when it was a pretty big weapon in the past.
Most of this segment has been about Makdessi, and that's because there really isn't a ton I have to say about Trinaldo. He's still a solid lightweight who keeps trucking along. He's settled into a groove where he'll always have his limitations that keep him from getting to the top, like his low output and rote striking, but he's skilled enough to turn away most fighters he faces, which is especially notable in a deep division like lightweight. He's finally won two straight after trading wins and losses in his last seven, and I think it might be time for him to take on Beneil Dariush. Makdessi can fight Magomed Mustafaev.
#5 Brandon Moreno def. #3 Jussier Formiga by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
In a pivotal fight for the chaotic flyweight title picture, Moreno got by perennial top flyweight Formiga in a closely contested scramble-fest. I write notes while watching the fights, and I could hardly keep up with the action. The fight was so back-and-forth that it was often difficult to judge who was ahead from minute to minute, and the prevailing opinion seems to be that Formiga did enough to win, with MMADecisions.com pointing to 8 of 13 media scores favoring him, as well as 58.5% of fans in their poll. However, the first two rounds were very close, and in breaking down the scoring in the same poll, Moreno got the majority of scores in his favor for both rounds one and two; it appears to be a case where not many fans gave him both. As such, it's hard to be down on the decision. I did score the fight 29-28 for Moreno, but looking back at my notes they read an awful lot like Formiga got the better of the action, so this might be one I need to watch again, because it's very possible that the action was so frantic I missed writing down some of Moreno's notable offense.
Holy shit Formiga!!! pic.twitter.com/yeoMnczmgy— SUSPENDED AGAIN (@FTBeard1) March 14, 2020
WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!
Either way, Formiga still looked like the elite flyweight we know him to be, and shouldn't really lose much stock after this loss. It certainly does make for an interesting situation in the division, as the UFC is looking to rebook Joseph Benavidez vs Deiveson Figueiredo for the vacant title, and Moreno is an interesting match up for both, particularly Benavidez since they're both such wizards when it comes to scrambling. Moreno seems primed to fight the winner of that fight, while Formiga should take a slight step down and fight Rogerio Bontorin.
Amanda Ribas def. Randa Markos by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)
I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised by just how dominant Ribas was here. I favored her to win, but Markos is consistently inconsistent, and even in losses tends not to be dominated. I wasn't completely sold on Ribas beating such limited fighters as Emily Whitmire and Mackenzie Dern, so I thought a fighter like Markos who could sometimes be effective (though not necessarily great) in all phases could give her a hard fight. Instead she just beat the brakes off Markos, dominating her positionally on the ground and landing big offense on the ground in the first and third rounds, which earned her 30-25 scores on two judges' scorecards. Round two was the closest round, but still clear crystal clear for Ribas, as she landed the harder shots on the feet and continued to be the stronger woman in the cage. Now having won three straight in increasingly impressive fashion, let's get Angela Hill her third fight of 2020 against Ribas. She apparently called out Paige VanZant after the fight, but Paige fights at flyweight now, and the fight doesn't make much sense anyway.
It was quite the beating.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Aleksei Kunchenko by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This was the other contested decision on the card, and once again it was a pretty close affair, though probably not as close as Moreno vs Formiga. This time 10 of 15 media scors favored the losing fighter, and 79.6% of fans polled. What really did Kunchenko a disservice was his lack of volume despite pressuring well essentially the entire time. He frequently found himself in good positions to attack, but was simply too hesitant for stretches of the fight. Either way, it was a pretty nice display of technical striking from both men. There was a particular sequence early in the fight that I enjoyed where dos Santos landed a low kick, Kunchenko countered with a body kick, then dos Santos countered back with a right hand up top, then immediately followed it up with a successful takedown. It all happened so quickly and smoothly that it looked choreographed, and dos Santos likely scored the takedown because they had that exact same striking exchange seconds earlier and he must have seen an opening for the takedown following the first sequence.
Dos Santos was the quicker guy in the first round, but Kunchenko seemed to find his groove in round two, and it started when he managed to wobble dos Santos with a big right hand followed by a left hook, which were the most significant shots of the fight at that point. The final round was close, but I did feel Kunchenko did enough to win it by landing the harder shots. Still, it was a very close round and I didn't have much issue with it going to Kunchenko. I did take issue with judge Joseph Terrell scoring round two for dos Santos though; but of course we can't have perfect judges, even in better conditions. All in all it was a good fight, and it's unfortunate that either man had to go on a losing streak at the conclusion.
Rani Yahya fought Enrique Barzola to a majority draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Aside from another judging gaff, this time in the form of Sal D'Amato's 29-28 Barzola scorecard (which should be expected, because D'Amato is incapable of not making at least one notable mistake per event) this was a clear-cut draw, and not too surprising of one. I didn't quite anticipate that Yahya would have so much early success on the feet, but despite Barzola's wrestling ability I couldn't be shocked that Yahya was able to neutralize and even get the better of it for much of the fight. A sequence I enjoyed in this fight was in the first round when Barzola managed to take Yahya down with a single leg to allow himself a respite from Yahya's striking (which I never thought I'd say), and as he stood up to make space from a grappling exchange, Yahya immediately popped up and caught him off guard with a takedown of his own before moving right to his back. Barzola was able to hang on the ground for the most part, but Yahya made him consantly fight to get out of bad or awkward positions, and handily outstruck him early. Round two was even more scramble-heavy grappling from Yahya, and it all started with another nice sequence where Barzola pressured him along the cage and chased him down throwing a combination. Yahya waited for him to overextend, and at the end of the combination, shifted direction from circling away to snag a quick knee tap and get Barzola to the ground.
Then Yahya, true to form, got tired in round three. In many ways he's reminded me of a small Demian Maia, right down to his inability to maintain his grappling pace for three rounds. In this round Yahya shot a sloppy single leg that was sprawled on, and from there Barzola would dominate the rest of the round, landing a whopping 39 of his 41 significant strikes in the round from top position. Yahya failed to land a single strike in three meager attempts. It was a clear case of a fighter winning two rounds and then being thoroughly dominated in the final round, which is your classic draw. Thankfully two judges got it right.
Maryna Moroz def. Mayra Bueno Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
She didn't get the decision win but strong finish to round 3 for Bueno Silva. The knee from Bueno Silva opened up a nasty cut. pic.twitter.com/i4ZZpToHxi— SUSPENDED AGAIN (@FTBeard1) March 14, 2020
If you told me before this event that the Maryna Moroz fight would be Fight of the Night, I probably wouldn't have believed you. Having developed a reputation for throwing tons of volume, but most of it not in range of her opponent, Moroz really stepped up the pressure in this fight and showed some pretty slick boxing, frequently going to the body as well as the head. She was also able to switch things up by scoring takedowns in the first two rounds, where she was able to score with a lot of offense from top position particularly in round two. Silva was game but didn't seem to have much for her anywhere...until round three. Despite Moroz's success she did tend to leave herself open consistently when going to the body because she'd throw body punches in close when Silva would grab a Thai clinch, and Silva would try to time knees up the middle. A few of them would land, but in the third she finally landed a significant knee strike that stunned Moroz. She followed it with a hard low kick that buckled Moroz and a counter right that stunned her again, forcing her to shoot a takedown and end up in more trouble when she was rebuffed and punished with another big right hand that hurt her. Late in the round Silva was able to grab the Thai clinch and land a big knee to the forhead that opened up a big cut on Moroz, and from there she was in survival mode as Silva hurt her with front kicks that hurt her until the final horn.
Although Moroz managed to outland her in every round (and 139-to-88 overall), Silva had by far the better offense in round three and had Moroz in trouble more than once. It wasn't quite enough to even out the scorecards with a 10-8, but both women showed a lot of grit and determination in the fight, and I'm actually a bit intrigued to see who Moroz fights next.
All the clips highlight Silva, but she did have the most notable offense of the fight despite losing.
David Dvorak def. Bruno Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
I'm sure those shades didn't do Silva any favors with the judges.
The story of this fight was that Dvorak was the better fighter of the two, but Silva did make it interesting late in round one where he managed to put a stamp on the round with a big front kick to the face that wobbled Dvorak before landing a takedown and scoring with some ground and pound. However, from round two Dvorak started to run away with the fight, basically doubling up on Silva in significant strikes in both rounds and immediately reversing position after Silva's only other takedown in round two. Silva just couldn't keep up with Dvorak over the final 10 minutes, but he stayed game the entire time, which made for a fun fight.
Things almost went very wrong for Dvorak.
Bae Malecki def. Veronica Macedo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
I'm not sure what convinced Macedo to move back up to 135 after finally getting her first UFC victory at 125 lbs, but aside from the size difference being an issue, she just really didn't fight very intelligently here. She was very aggressive, which definitely worked for her early; even though she gave almost as much as she got, she was clearly throwing and landing with more power. That becomes a problem when you can't sustain that pace for too long. Come round two, she had slowed down, her entries were getting sloppier, and her punches and kicks slower and less frequent. Meanwhile, Malecki kept up more or less the same pace the entire fight, and didn't put a ton of effort into every strike. She just stayed composed and outlasted, Macedo, who before long resorted to repeatedly shooting sloppy takedowns with no setup, and flopping to her back when she couldn't get them immediately (she ultimately went 0-for-9). She was still able to land a decent amount over the last two minutes, but because of her approach the most notable images are of her sloppily running into punches and ending up on her back being controlled or eating ground and pound.
She gave a solid effort but it just wasn't a good showing after the first several minutes, and it could have been mitigated if she stayed a bit more composed and picked her entries better. Malecki pressured a good bit and didn't throw many jabs, so the range wasn't a huge issue for Macedo that she couldn't navigate. At 1-4 in the UFC I'm not sure she gets another chance, but if she does it should be at 125. With Malecki, I'm not sure how much upside she has at bantamweight, but she's looking improved and more well-rounded with every fight.
And that does it for UFC Fight Night Brasilia! Aside from the oddities of fighters getting full walkouts, post-fight interviews, and Michael Bisping asking a nonexistent crowd to "Make some noise," I actually prefer the lack of crowd noise in most cases; though the former oddities do show just how much much of a consistently well-oiled machine the UFC is in terms of production. We get a taste of the empty arena feel with the limited-to-no crowd offerings in Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter contests, so honestly this event didn't feel as foreign to me as I initially thought it would. It really makes no sense financially when not forced on them, but I wouldn't mind it at all if the UFC forwent the crowds in some future Fight Night cards. Next up we have a battle of top welterweights when Leon Edwards tries to make his case for a title shot against former titleholder Tyron Woodley...if it in fact does end up happening (EDIT: It's not!). But regardless of that, sado out!