The Brazilian crowd at the Arena Athletico Paranense was rocking all night long as many legends of mixed martial arts from their home country would grace the UFC’s Octagon. In what was one of the most anticipated fight cards of the year, even after the removal of Anderson Silva from the card earlier in the week, the excitement for an event was higher than it has ever been in Curitiba.
Stipe Miocic brings a championship to Cleveland
The most prestigious title in the sport of mixed martial arts was on the line in the main event of the evening, as Fabricio Werdum would put his UFC Heavyweight Championship on the line against the third-ranked Stipe Miocic. If the championship history of Cleveland, Ohio was any indication of what could happen in the headlining bout, the deck was stacked against Miocic based on geographical location, a championship has evaded the city for many, many years. Luckily for Miocic, who has only suffered defeat twice in his professional MMA career, his fists, not a hometown curse, would decide the outcome of the fight.
Aside from the jubilation of Miocic’s corner, you could hear a pin drop in the () as the referee pulled Miocic away from Werdum, who was out cold on the canvas due to a stiff short right hand that shut off the lights on the now-former champion. The arena that was incredibly loud all evening long walked away in silence as a new champion was crowned, putting a sour note on an evening otherwise dominated by Brazilian fighters.
Stipe Miocic was patiently picking his shots throughout the first round while Werdum was trying to find a home for punches of his own. The quick jabs from Miocic and stellar takedown defense were effective early on as they seem to frustrate Werdum. Werdum would attempt one takedown during the round that was instantly stuffed by Miocic. While Werdum was successful with a few significant strikes of his own, nothing seemed to hurt Miocic. Werdum would rush forward and get caught with a hard counter right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:47 of the first round, crowning a new UFC Heavyweight Champion, and breaking his hometown’s championship curse. This win potentially sets up an incredibly exciting fight between Miocic and Alistair Overeem, who just dispatched Andrei Arlovski with an impressive TKO finish at UFC Rotterdam.
Jacare destroys Vitor, wants title shot
The co-main event of the evening would serve as the fight that would split the raucous Brazilian crowd as two countrymen were set to square off against each other for a potential shot at becoming the number one contender in the middleweight division. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza would waste little time stating his claim for a shot at the title as he put the pressure on Vitor Belfort early.
Before Vitor knew it, he was on his back with arguably the most dangerous grappler in all of mixed martial arts in half guard. A hard elbow from Jacare sliced open Belfort’s face, which would prompt a brief stoppage by the referee to have the doctor look at the cut since blood was flowing heavily. The referee would return the fighters to the previous position and resume the action. While Vitor is no slouch on the ground himself, he managed to get the fight standing after defending an armbar attempt. Shortly after that, the next move would surprise everyone as Vitor pulled guard on Jacare, which would ultimately be a fight-ending mistake. Jacare soon found himself in full mount raining down hard punches that would cause a stop to the fight.
To knock off Vitor Belfort in that manner in the first round is incredibly impressive, and certainly creates an argument for who deserves the next shot at the middleweight title. While Yoel Romero certainly has a place in that conversation, it will be interesting to see what shakes out after Chris Weidman gets his rematch against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199.
Cyborg continues dominance in UFC debut
UFC 198 has etched its name in the history books as the event that played host to the UFC debut of Cris “Cyborg” Justino. It took a special catchweight fight at 140 pounds, a weight that the UFC does not have a division for to make it happen, but Cyborg finally stepped into the UFC’s Octagon for the very first time on Saturday night, adding a special touch to the event for the fans in Curitiba. No, it wasn’t against Ronda Rousey, whose beef with Cyborg goes back many years, but a very game Leslie Smith stepped up to the plate for the very tall challenge of facing the most dangerous female fighter in the game today.
There would be no “Octagon jitters” for Cyborg, who did exactly what many expected from the Invicta Featherweight Champion; unleash hard, violent striking, leading to her fourth first-round finish in a row. After dropping Smith with a slick combination of punches, Cyborg ran in to follow up with more strikes, resulting in a TKO stoppage just over 80 seconds into the fight. It’s the type of quick, hard violence we’ve come to expect from Cyborg, who now has her sights set on defending her Invicta Title while waiting for another special opportunity to arise with the UFC.
Maia dominates, continues his hunt for a title shot
Demian Maia has been to the top of the mountain once in his career. Ever since that lackluster performance, a fight against Anderson Silva that most would like to erase from their memory completely, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard has been on a mission to earn another shot at UFC gold and made his latest statement at UFC 198 against Matt Brown. The Sau Paulo native would dominate the fight on the ground from start to finish, which came by way of a rear-naked choke in the third round. Even though the fight reached the final round, Maia only absorbed a handful of strikes during the few seconds the fight was standing at the beginning of the rounds, otherwise, he was latched firmly to the back of Brown, searching for submissions and landing strikes of his own.
This type of dominant victory creates a very interesting problem in the UFC’s welterweight division. Coming into the bout ranked number six, Maia walks away with a completely dominant victory over the eighth-ranked Brown, pushing his win streak to five and putting his name among contenders for Robbie Lawler’s title. While the Champion is scheduled to face #3 Tyron Woodley at UFC 201, and #2 Stephen Thompson will square off against #1 Rory MacDonald in Ottawa, Maia may be on the outside looking in with the winner of Thompson and MacDonlald possibly getting their crack at the title. With #4 Carlos Condit coming off a closely contested title fight, and #5 Johny Hendricks suffering a TKO loss to Thompson, Maia may find himself matched up against a top five opponent to prove he’s ready for another title shot. While his style of fighting doesn’t appeal to everyone, another dominant performance like this one against a top-ranked opponent will surely make his claim undeniable.
The Brazilian fighters would largely be successful on the evening, going undefeated on the prelims and finishing the event with a record of 9-2, as Americans Bryan Barberena and Stipe Miocic walked away victorious. Other Brazilian legends would emerge victorious on the night as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua earned a decision victory over Corey Anderson, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira put his boxing on display en route to a TKO stoppage victory over Patrick Cummins. With a reported attendance of 45,207, the event was incredibly successful and certainly one of the most memorable events of the year.
The full results from the fight card are below:
- Stipe Miocic def. Fabricio Werdum via KO (Punch), Round 1 – 2:47
- Jacare Souza def. Vitor Belfort via TKO (Punches), Round 1 – 4:38
- Cris Cyborg def. Leslie Smith via TKO (Punches), Round 1 – 1:21
- Mauricio Rua def. Corey Anderson via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Bryan Barberena def. Warlley Alves via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Fox Sports 1 prelims
- Demian Maia def. Matt Brown via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Round 3 – 4:31
- Thiago Santos def. Nate Marquardt via KO (Punch), Round 1 – 3:39
- Francisco Trinaldo def. Yancy Medeiros via Unanimous Decision (29-26, 30-27, 30-26)
- John Lineker def. Rob Font via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Patrick Cummins via TKO (Punches), Round 1 – 4:52
- Sergio Moraes vs. Luan Chagas declared Split Draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
- Renato Moicano def. Zubaira Tukhugov via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes
Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.
Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).
In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.
Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”
In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.
This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video
Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.
The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.
Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)
Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.
RN: 265 lb.
MM: 255 lb.
Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.
PF: 155 lb.
DC: 154 lb.
Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.
HH: 126.25 lb*
AJ: 125 lb.
Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.
LM: 203.75 lb.
VN: 205 lb.
Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.
TW: 145 lb.
JS: 142.25 lb.
Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)
Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
RS: 155.5 lb.
RL: 156 lb.
Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout.
MK: 135.75 lb.
GT: 135 lb.
Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.
RC: 145 lb.
TE: 146 lb.
Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.
JT: 205.5 lb.
WH: 203 lb.
Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.
MS: 156 lb.
DH: 155.25 lb.
Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.
PN: 163.5 lb.
KX 164.5 lb.
Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
TH: 154 lb.
PC: 155.5 lb.
*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.
UFC 221 Rockhold vs. Romero Live Results
UFC 221 marks the first event hosted by the promotion in Western Australia. UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia at the Perth Arena. The co-main event features Australian star, Mark Hunt against Curtis Blaydes. In the main event, Luke Rockhold looks to earn the Middleweight interim title when he takes on Yoel Romero. Romero is not eligible to earn the interim Middleweight title due to the fact that the Cuban missed weight. Yoel Romero replaced the original headliner of the card, Robert Whittaker. Whittaker, current Middleweight champion, withdrew from the event due to a serious case of mistreated staph infection.
FIGHT NIGHT BONUSES:
Fight of the night: Li Jianliang vs. Jake Matthews
Performance of the night: Jussier Formiga, Israel Adesanya
MAIN CARD – PPV – 10PM/7PM ETPT
- Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (13-3) – Catchweight (187.7) bout
- Result: Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold via KO (punch) 1:48 round 3
- Mark Hunt (13-11, 1 NC) vs. Curtis Blaydes (8-1, 1 NC) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
- Tai Tuivasa (8-0) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker via TKO (punches and elbows) 2:18 round 1
- Jake Matthews (12-3) vs. Li Jianliang (14-4) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jake Matthews def. Li Jianliang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
- Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs Saparbek Safarov (8-1) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (kimura) 3:54 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- Damien Brown (17-11) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown via split decision (29-28, 29-28 Kim, 29-28 Brown)
- Rob Wilkinson (11-1) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (punches) 3:37 round 2
- Jeremy Kennedy (11-0) vs Alexander Volkovski (16-1) – Featherweight bout
- Result: Alexander Volkovski def. Jeremy Kennedy via TKO (punches) 4:57 round 2
- Jussier Formiga (20-5) vs Ben Nguyen (17-6) – Flyweight bout
- Result: Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen via technical submission (RNC) 1:43 round 3
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 6:30PM/3:30PM ETPT
- Ross Pearson (21-12, 1 NC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (19-8-2) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Teruto Ishihara (10-4) vs. José Alberto Quiñónez (7-2) – Bantamweight bout
- Result: José Alberto Quiñónez def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Luke Jumeau (12-4) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27)
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