UFN 77 in Brazil ended on a high and violent note in its last four bouts. Whether or not the night will be remembered for Dan Henderson's last ride into the sunset is anyone's guess. It was fitting that with the old stars fading, new ones are rising.
There's plenty more to unpack on a solid night of fights, so let's talk about the essentials shall we?
They said what?! Fighters react to UFC Sao Paulo
See how UFC fighters reacted to all the action at tonight's UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3 card in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1. Carnosaur Carnage
Vitor Belfort lands another big headkick and ground and pound to finish off Dan Henderson #UFCSP https://t.co/wh6yVyqUZG— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 8, 2015
This fight didn't teach us much except that Belfort can hit really hard; a fact of life we've known since we was taking SAFTA's soul. The knockout was a cobra strike of violent proportions. The real question is where he goes from here. I'd much rather see a fight with Yoel Romero than Romero's fight already scheduled with Jacare, but failing that, Belfort vs. the winner of Whitaker vs. Hall?
2. Is it time for Hendo to retire?
awesome sculpture by Lubomir Grigorov. hendo has such a timeless face. pic.twitter.com/fsirztFR1q— #1 Dilandau Fan (@gabrielviolence) November 8, 2015
Timeless indeed; Henderson is still durable. It's kind of incredible to see that Belfort's flush head kick didn't immediately knock him out. Henderson has nothing left to prove. That much is obvious. But does he feel like he has something to prove to himself? That he can still win in spite of his age?
Questions like these are why I avoid retirement talk. Words like "nothing left to prove" don't mean much in the competitive eye of the beholder. Fighters live off the spirit of the challenge; it's only natural for them to die by it (unfortunate though it may be).
3. Somebody's O is not About to Go
Almeida is nasty! This kid is 21-0 now and another vicious KO. pic.twitter.com/JcNexfLBC1— Dana White (@danawhite) November 8, 2015
I've always liked Almeida as a supreme talent; just not necessarily as a supreme tactician. But tonight he proved me wrong in a big way. Birchak was having some success in the early going, but he got blood drunk and ended up looking like a marionette doll getting its strings clipped with a lawnmower blade.
Prospects are like children; there are critical periods in their development wherein even the briefest delays can have long term effects. Almeida passed his with flying colors, as I felt like he didn't take advantage enough of his range striking. He has the tools, and thankfully decided to use them all while displaying a mind for adjustment (in contrast to the Pickett fight). Yes, a fight with John Lineker would be insane, but I'd like to see both guys get one more bout before shoving one another over the wrong side of the gate.
4. Vaquero Virtuosity
ICYMI: M-M-M-MONSTER KILL #UFCSP https://t.co/oWmpNRxXF9— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 8, 2015
Alex Oliveira is big, mean, and skilled; being able to maintain the activity, anger, and output is hard to do over the course of three rounds but Alex seems equipped to do it. It's hard to predict his long term status in a division full of elite talent but there are few fighters that will be able to deal with his early pressure with ease.
5. Prospect Pangs
Rashid Magomedov: "God made me win tonight." Poor Burns landed on the wrong side of the almighty. That's rough #UFCSaoPaulo— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) November 8, 2015
A lot of people had really high hopes for this fight, including myself, and were left wanting. I didn't think it was a bad fight by any stretch; Burns didn't get to show much of what makes him so dangerous, but he did get to show a little bit of what we didn't know he had (resolve). Rashid Magomedov looked good; just not great, nor as aggressive as he should have been in the second round. Easy for me to say hovering over my keyboard, yes, but Burns didn't look like he was in a position to counter from his state of pugilism.
6. Vendetta Moods
Heard Clay Guida made a comment to Thiago Tavares about his failed drug test on weigh-in scale. Explains Tavares' refusal to shake hands.— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) November 8, 2015
It's been four years since the two time Tequila Cazadores Spirit Award winner has scored consecutive wins, and tonight was another display of why he's fallen from grace. I don't necessarily think that Tavares is the real deal (showed great patience with that guillotine and excellent movement during the scramble despite Guida turning the wrong way), but Guida continues to favor strategy (the philosophy of top control) over tactics (the actions of adjustment) which just isn't working for him.
- Brian Stann is the best weapon in the UFC's broadcasting arsenal. It's just that simple. He's eloquent, highly educated on the mechanics of pugilism, and doesn't contribute to dead air or bias. Rogan talks this weird zero sum commentary game of being distracted by nuance, or lost in hyperbole. Goldberg has his Corn Nuts and Auto-Tune, whereas Stann is the Blade in the booth; all of their strengths, none of their weaknesses. Jon Anik has opinions, so I wish he'd show a little less restraint in this regard. His postfight interviews need work though.
- If Gleison Tibau fights until the age of 40, he'll be on pace for 50+ UFC fights. He's already one shy of Tito Ortiz' record of 27 UFC fights. That's kind of incredible.
- Can't forget about Glover. Cummins did a bad job of defending on the feet, getting hit by the same combo over and over again, but Teixeira was simply relentless. Awful stoppage obviously. Sometimes it looks like these refs think these fighters are deadites, able to fight their way through disembowelment, and decapitation.
- In preparation for next week, you should read John Nash's Fighting like a Girl series.