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Rafael "Sapo" Natal opened the UFC 133 card with a solid-if-unspectacular unanimous decision win over Paul Bradley in a middleweight tilt. Natal picked up his first win in three tries in the octagon, while Bradley lost his UFC debut in the process. Natal took the first round by keeping Bradley on the outside with his striking, landing a ton of damaging leg kicks, and stuffing his shots. Bradley opened the second with a vicious attack that saw him in a dominant position for a little while, but Sapo recovered. The third was more of the same, with Bradley shooting from way too far out and Natal busting him up with punches and kicks from the outside.
Natal improves to 1-1-1 in the UFC, following a loss to Rich Attonito and a draw in a bout with Jesse Bongfeldt. Bradley was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 7 briefly, but never had an official UFC contest until last night. Bradley was called in as a late replacement, and was Natal's third scheduled opponent. The fight took place on the Facebook portion of the broadcast.
What was the high spot of this fight?
There wasn't really one that stood out. Bradley hurt Sapo at the start of the second round but charging in and catching him with punches, then got a takedown from there. But he wasn't able to do anything with it and Natal was back to his feet fairly quickly. From there on it was all Natal.
Where do these guys go from here?
With Natal finally picking up his first win (he had a loss and a draw in his previous two trips to the octagon), his position in the UFC is safe for now. There are plenty of bouts that the UFC could go with, most notably the two they had originally scheduled for Sapo - Riki Fukuda and Constantinos Philippou. It is currently unknown how long Fukuda will be out after his car accident though, and with Philippou winning his own fight on the UFC 133 main card last night, a bout between these two would make a lot of sense.
Many believe that Bradley will be one-and-done with the UFC, but they seem to love guys that will step up as late replacements. Bradley also has the benefit of stepping up a division as well. He has fought at middleweight before, but he's a natural welterweight. I believe that he will get another shot in the octagon as a 170 pounder. Maybe against a TUF 13 guy.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Never. This card had a lot of action, and while it wasn't terrible, it is likely the least memorable fight on the card. Save the 15 minutes for bantamweights or featherweights or welterweights, oh my.
More BE coverage of UFC 133 in the full entry.