Antonio Carvalho finally made his UFC debut last night and unfortunately ran into a fresher, stronger fighter in Felipe Arantes.The first round intitally was all Carvalho, as Pato worked his way to mount on Arantes and looked to be the much better grappler. Pato got a few punches and elbows through the defense of Arantes, but could not stop the scramble back to the feet.
Once the fight was back on the feet in the first round, Arantes appeared to have much more energy than Carvalho for the remainder of the fight. Pato tried half-heartedly to get the fight back on the ground, but allowed Arantes to dictate the pace and stand-up thereafter. Both fighters were hunting the head and were anticipating strikes, so the bout settled in a war of attrition until the third round, where Arantes clearly seized the advantage given by Carvalho's poor tactics.
What was the high spot of this fight?
Within the third round, Pato shot in for the takedown unsuccessfully and then stalled out in guard. Arantes took advantage of that to throw some elbows and punches, which opened up some cuts on Carvalho's face. When the fight got back to his feet, the bloodied Carvalho opened up in desperation and Arantes evaded almost all of the strikes, while delivering his own.
Where do these fighters go from here?
I am not sure what to do with Felipe Arantes. He looked awesome at times against , but at other times, it seemed as if a stronger grappler or a better striker could take the fight from him. The match-up that works the best in my head is a fight against , who just lost to . As for Carvalho, may work for the next bout, but he might be cut for his surprisingly lackluster performance after being injured for so long. This was a disappointing performance for those looking to see if the #1 ranked featherweight prospect from the 2011 Bloody Elbow Scouting Report would be able to impose his grappling will upon the featheweight division. Pato has the potential to be much better than he displayed last night and hopefully he gets another chance to display it on the Zuffa stage.
Watch the fight now, later or never?
Later. The bout was great start to the card from two lesser-known fighters with more technical skill than some of their more famous counterparts. Both fighters were landing, but missed or defended strikes more often than they landed and the action never really got to a truly exciting "must-watch" point. The crowd's vocal support for Arantes and the technical nature of this bout make this a fight that will be worth watching later.
More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 142 in the full entry