UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir is the promotion's first of several trips to Brazil in 2015, and so far it's been a rough night for the Brazilian fighters. A dismal 1-4 record on the preliminary card included a quick submission loss for top 10 ranked women's bantamweight Jessica Andrade, but would things improve on the main card? Check out the results of the first four fights.
The main card began with an entertaining unanimous decision (30-27 x3) win for welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio over the previously unbeaten American prospect Sean Strickland. Ponzinibbio was able to hurt Strickland with a 1st round head kick, although he caught him with the front of his foot and not the shin, but Strickland was able to absorb several punches as Santiago swarmed. Ponzinibbio overcame the height and reach disadvantage and landed the harder power shots and consistently beat up Strickland's lead leg. Strickland bloodied Ponzinibbio up with his jab but otherwise was in a counter-fighting position most of the day. Ponzinibbio is now 2-1 in the UFC, while Strickland's record drops to the same mark.
A big upset in the bantamweight division saw the unheralded Frankie Saenz use his vastly superior wrestling and top cardio to beat #8 ranked Iuri Alcantara by a 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 unanimous decision. While Saenz was at a physical disadvantage, he timed his takedowns to perfection and avoided any serious trouble with Alcantara's crafty Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Saenz also showed a serious chin after being rattled with a couple of head kicks, which bloodied him up. It's only the 2nd time Alcantara has lost at bantamweight, with the other coming against Urijah Faber. Saenz has won his 5th straight fight and surely landed a spot in the UFC rankings on Tuesday.
The upsets didn't stop there! Brazilian lightweight Adriano Martins eked out a split decision win over Rustam Khabilov (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in a rather uneventful affair. Khabilov was soundly outwrestled, didn't provide us with any of his suplexes, and instead was taken down multiple times and struggling to implement his striking effectively. Martins stunned Khabilov late in the 2nd round with a counter left hook and also mounted the Dagestan fighter after a 3rd round takedown. There wasn't much to talk about, but the aftermath is not good for Khabilov, who now is on a two-fight losing skid. Martins improves his UFC record to 3-1.
TUF Brazil 1 winner Cezar Ferreira and Sam Alvey broke the decision streak, but it was the American who delivered yet another upset with virtually the only significant strikes he landed all fight. Moments after being hit with an upward elbow, Alvey cracked Mutante with a right hand over the top, and then followed up with a lethal left hook that sent Ferreira splattering onto the mat. Smilin' Sam managed two more punches and Mutante was out cold at 3:34 of round 1. Alvey's win bumps him up to 2-1 inside the Octagon, while Ferrira slips to 3-2 and suffers his 2nd KO defeat in his last 3 fights.