Coincident with the end of Ronda Rousey's undefeated reign over the women's bantamweight division, some of the UFC's oldest stars saw returns to action, with former title challenger Jeremy Horn looking to defend his regional light-heavyweight championship and former B.J. Penn training partner Wesley "Cabbage" Correira coming back from a lengthy hiatus.
Correira (20-15, 2-2 UFC, 0-1 EliteXC) made his UFC debut back in 2002, having put together a 7-3 record in Hawaiian organization Icon Sport, a run which included TKO wins over former or eventual UFC talent in Aaron Brink, Kevin Jordan, and Travis Wiuff. He would, however, be severely outgunned in his first trip to the Octagon, against fellow UFC neophyte and eventual heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, whose superior precision, speed, and power eventually forced Correira's corner to throw in the towel. Correira would rebound with two straight UFC wins, including a knockout of nemesis Tank Abbott, but knockout at the hands of Andrei Arlovski would see him out of the UFC for good. The following years saw things took a sharp turn for the worse, with Cabbage losing Antonio Silva, Butterbean, and a rematch with Abbott (who was then 8-10-0). A 2008 TKO loss pushed Cabbage into a five-year hiatus, and a return bout in 2013 would likewise yield a knockout loss and stay from competition. But last weekend, in the main event of Just Scrap in Hilo, Hawaii, Correira finally found his way back to the win column. The victory came at the expense of Matt Kovacs (11-15, 0-1 Strikeforce), who was felled by a short left to eventually succumb to ground-and-pound early in Round 1. It's Correira's first win in eight years.
Check out Correira vs. Kovacs is here.
Meanwhile, fellow UFC old guard Jeremy Horn (91-22-5, 6-7 UFC, 0-1 Bellator, 1-1 IFL, 2-0 PRIDE) did not enjoy the same success in his title defense at Sugar Creek Showdown 28. Horn, who in 2005 fought Chuck Liddell for the UFC light-heavyweight title, faced his stiffest competition of the last several years in Bellator tournament semifinalist Egidijus Valavicius (29-11, 2-1 Bellator, 0-1 PRIDE). Valavicius was awarded a submission victory after Horn waved off the fight due to an injury related to leg kicks. Valavicius is 2-0 since a loss to eventual champion Liam McGeary that saw him out of Bellator; Horn is 2-1-1NC since 2014.
Watch Valavicius vs. Horn here.
Also this weekend, Sean Soriano (9-3, 0-3 UFC) took his first fight since being released from the UFC last January. Soriano entered the UFC with a bit of buzz, and while he did prove to be an exceptional striker, his grappling left something to be desired, to the point that he went winless in his three trips to the Octagon. He pulled himself out of that slump at last weekend's Legacy FC 48, putting away Josh Quayhagen (8-3 3-1 Bellator) with strikes in Round 1. Soriano remains undefeated outside the UFC.
Soriano vs. Quayhagen is here.
And in the main event of Shoot Brasil 59, former Sengoku champion Marlon Sandro (26-6-2, 8-3 Bellator, 5-2 Sengoku) claimed his first victory of the year after an injury to opponent Wanderson Michel (5-4-0) resulted in a TKO victory for the former Bellator tournament finalist. He moves to 1-1-1 since his last appearance in Bellator (a win over Chris Horodecki).
TUF 14's Steven Siler (28-14, 5-4 UFC) improved to 5-1 in his post-UFC career, besting Scott Thometz (9-5, 0-1 Bellator) by unanimous decision in the main event of Front Street Fights 7. Siler has won five in a row.
Fellow TUF alum Jon Manley (9-3, 0-1 UFC) slipped to 2-1 in his post-UFC campaign, falling to the strikes of Mike Perry (5-0-0) in the main event of Premier FC 18.
Ricardo Funch (9-5-0), who went 0-4 across two UFC campaigns and has seen any possible career resurgence delayed due to injury, wasted little time in putting away Brett Oteri (12-6-0), finishing him with strikes some twenty seconds past the opening bell. It's Funch's first victory in four years.
In the main event of England's BAMMA 23, TUF 9 veteran and former Bellator talent Martin Stapleton (17-4, 0-3 Bellator) submitted Gavin Sterritt (6-2-0, 2-0 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke a minute and fifteen into Round 1 to claim the vacant lightweight title and arguably the highest quality win of the last couple years. Stapleton is 4-0 since last appearing in Bellator.
"Sho Nuff the Master" Rodney Wallace (24-10-1, 0-3 UFC, 1-1 Bellator) followed up his split-decision victory over Kalib Starnes last June with a second-round rear-naked choke of Adrian Miles (15-8, 0-1 Bellator). That, in the main event of Hard Knocks 47, which earned Wallace the organization's light-heavyweight title.
And at The Main Event 2 in San Diego, California, Justin Jones (6-2, 0-2 UFC) submitted Steve Yavo (3-2-0) in the opening minute of Round 1. Jones is 3-0 since being released from the UFC in April.