Tonight, the UFC returns to Brazil with a special four-hour pay-per-view event in Rio de Janeiro, headlined by none other than women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. The undefeated worldwide superstar will go up against unbeaten Brazilian Bethe Correia, but all week long the Brazilian fans have been going crazy for Rousey, so expect massive cheers and not boos when Rousey walks out later this evening.
This post will cover the six-fight preliminary card, which features several ranked fighters, including the feature fight between welterweights Demian Maia and Neil Magny. Another match-up featuring a pair of ranked combatants is a light heavyweight contest between former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante and Patrick Cummins.
Live commentary will commence with the Fight Pass preliminary card at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT and continue on FOX Sports 1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. Dallas Winston (remember him?) will be your play-by-play typist for the preliminary card. In the meantime, feel free to view this week's Vivisection with Kid Nate, Zane Simon, and Connor Ruebusch.
Guido Cannetti vs. Hugo Viana - Bantamweights
Round 1: Cannetti throws first with a high kick but Viana counters him on the next two exchanges, once with a jumping switch kick. Cannetti gets broadsided by a Viana double leg halfway through a spinning Capoeira kick but cleverly snatches up a leg and keeps Viana at bay with a leg-lock attempt. Viana defends and the slippery Cannetti scrambles back to his feet quickly. Viana keeps Cannetti on the fence in the 50/50 clinch -- he can't hit the hip throw and eats a sharp knee to the gut.
Another body knee scores for Cannetti, then a third after circling off the fence.Two more follow before the ref separates them. The take turns whiffing with kicks from the fringe. Plenty of fakes and feints from distance on the feet. Viana gets stuffed on a double leg. 10-9 Cannetti.
Round 2: Cannetti thuds an inside low kick and then comes high with a left high kick, his shin glancing off Viana's head and possibly wobbling him. Cannetti dumps Viana with a double and buries his head in Viana's chest, later posturing up for some wild ground-and-pound. Heels-to-chest escape for Viana.
After a questionably placed knee (low) from Cannetti, Viana perfectly times a low kick and it sweeps Cannetti's support leg, who was amidst a high kick. Cannetti, again admirably slippery, scrambles to his feet quickly and they're again separated in the clinch. Cannetti bores a pair of straight lefts through Viana's guard as he's charging forward. Viana counters with a takedown and some meaningful ground-and-pound; the best shots landed thus far. 10-9 Viana though I'd call it 10-10 if Viana was decisively rocked by the early head kick.
Round 3:Cannetti grazes Viana with another left high kick before neutralizing his takedown attempt. Viana forces the issue against the cage but Cannetti is sturdy with an underhook and stays upright. Viana half-completes an inside trip but Cannetti bounces back up immediately. Viana keeps Cannetti on the cage with the over-under and they trade short knees.
They disengage at the halfway mark and reset in the center. Cannetti stings Viana with a shot and off-balances him but can't keep him down. Now it's Cannetti keeping Viana on the cage with a body lock and the crowd's growing restless. The ref steps in with one minute left and Cannetti follows behind a left cross to complete a double leg. Viana fights his way back up but succumbs to an inside trip. Cannetti passes into half guard with 30 seconds left and lands a few short lefts. 10-9 Cannetti. I have it 29-28 his way.
Round 1: Hester storms out with a double jab, a one-two and a level change; he's unable to hoist Miranda on the first attempt but succeeds on the second. Hester pinches Miranda's knees together and switches from wrist control to a rear body lock to keep him down. Hester emits a steady hum-drum of short punches whilst wrestling Miranda onto his back. Hester goes back to the rear body lock and lands a series of knees to the thighs of the turtled Miranda.
Miranda gets two-on-one wrist control to stand back up and turns the tables by landing short, heavy punches and putting Hester on his back. Miranda postures up and flurries with beefy ground strikes. Hester recovers and manages an elbow from his back but Miranda resets his base and fires off more ground-and-pound. Short right forearm lands for Miranda and sets up a pair of thunderous lefts from on top. Hester goes to cross-knee in guard and fights for wrist control to no avail. Miranda passes to half guard but can't hold knee-on-belly. 10-9 Miranda.
Round 2: Hester with another double jab that leads into a takedown attempt circa round one. Miranda fends it off and chops at Hester's lead leg with a nasty outside low kick. And another. Hester, undaunted, fires an uppercut and clinches up but can't transition into an ankle pick. Miranda peels himself loose but eats a short elbow from Hester, who unbolts a haymaker right hand and predictably shoots afterward.
Miranda bombs a quick body knee, then counter-wrestles and plugs Hester with more big shots from the top. Miranda secures the old-school gift wrap on Hester's left arm and lands uncontested punches until the ref grants mercy.
Official result:Vitor Miranda defeats Clint Hester by TKO (punches) R2 2:38
Iuri Alcantara vs. Leandro Issa - Bantamweights
Round 1: Alcantara vaults out of his corner with a front kick and chases Issa down behind two menacing lefts. The pace lulls briefly until Alcantara times a counter body-knee perfectly. Alcantara boldly isolates an arm with two-on-one and slings his leg over for a kimura/armbar attempt. Issa patiently shakes him off and goes to work in Alcantara's guard, quickly slicing into side mount.
Issa steps over the head and gets into crucifix position, attacking Alcantara's far-side arm with an arm-lock. Alcantara creates a scramble and amazingly takes back control with unreal flexibility. The success is short-lived as Issa slips out the back door and lands in full mount. 10-9 Issa.
Round 2: Alcantara heaves an overhand left that puts Issa down though it seemed to be a slip. Alcantara holds his ground on the feet and bores long straights through Issa's defense. Two crescent kicks to the body land for Alcantara, prompting Issa to shoot and force a clinch. Issa forces a double leg and Alcantara counters with a reverse triangle to back him off. Issa keeps Alcantara on the fence with a single leg that's not there.
Alcantara breaks Issa's grip and the ref separates them. Alcantara scorches Issa with a left that stuns him, then continues to flurry, following Issa to the ground. Alcantara shuts down the deep-half sweep and they reset on the feet. Another long and straight left hand sails into Issa's craw. Make it another, though Issa manages a short right-hand counter. 10-9 Alcantara.
Round 3: They touch gloves and Alcantara goes back to the lead body kick. Issa shoots and, after a prolonged struggle, Alcantara keeps his footing and they reset. Issa manages a cautious low kick and gets stung by an Alcantara left. Alcantara thwarts another takedown attempt and continues to stalk Issa. Stiff left kick lands to the ribs of Issa, who telegraphs a desperation takedown.
Alcantara counters the next takedown with a knee and transitions into a kimura. He bails on it but capitalizes with a volley of sharp hammer-fists from the top which bloody Issa up. It's a methodical deconstruction from Alcantara on the feet now. A front kick to the body and a flying knee to the head follow for Alcantara, then a jumping switch kick. Alcantara smells blood and headhunts with punches but is careful not to over-commit. 10-8 Alcantara. I have it 29-27 his way.
Official result: Iuri Alcantara defeats Leandro Issa by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)
Warlley Alves vs. Nordine Taleb - Welterweights
Round 1: Alves opens with an inside low kick. Taleb almost catches the next one but, ironically, Alves catches the counter low kick of Taleb and takes him down. Half guard for Alves with a rugged cross-face. Taleb stabilizes but can't recover full guard but rolls back to his feet shortly after.
Both men miss with kicks and Taleb holds range with his jab. Alves charges with an intensely thrown combo but Taleb side-steps it. Alves dings Taleb with a stiff right hand. Taleb shoots but Alves sprawls out easily. Alves lands a glancing left hook and Taleb finds the mark at the end of a straight one-two. Taleb forces a clinch and lands a short knee to the body. And another, this one harder. A third followed by a partially blocked elbow from Taleb. 10-9 Alves.
Round 2: Alves fires off nasty left kicks low and to the body. Alves shows phenomenal balance in neutralizing Taleb's single leg attempt. Alves catches another kick and Taleb tries to somersault free but Alves contains him. Half guard again for Alves, who's warned for excessive use of the chin on Taleb's face.
Alves is finally able to posture but he can only muster one glancing left. Hard right elbow lands to the forehead for Alves. Taleb looks for a double butterfly sweep and creates enough space to stand back up. Taleb circles Alves onto the cage and grazes with a left. They trade knees to the body and Alves pulls guard with a tight sacrifice guillotine. Taleb taps. Strong showing for the TUF winner.
Official result: Warlley Alves defeats Nordine Taleb by submission (guillotine choke) R2 4:11
Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante vs. Patrick Cummins - Light Heavyweights
Round 1: Cavalcante opens with an outside low kick that Cummins counters with a left. Spinning roundhouse kick from Cavalcante and Cummins ducks under it and shoots, ending up in the rear waist cinch with Cavalcante on the fence. Cummins hoists "Feijao" and puts him down briefly but he pops right back up, though he continues to illegally grasp the Reebok corner post. Cummins persists from the rear waist lock and finally gets Cavalcante down. Cavalcante gets back up and the same process repeats.
Cavalcante hurls a right meatball as soon as he has space and Cummins ducks it. Cavalcante pressures with a combo and Cummins clinches, again taking him down with the rear waist lock. Cavalcante bounces back up again. Cavalcante thumps Cummins with a right hand and the wrestler is now showing damage on both eyes. Another wild haymaker from Cavalcante, who's blatantly headhunting. 10-9 Feijao for effective offense and damage.
Round 2: A bloodied up Cummins forces a clinch and holds Cavalcante on the fence, offering some distracting punches. They separate and Cavalcante drills Cummins with a beefy right. Cummins explodes for a double leg and gets it, posturing up to land right and left body shots. Cavalcante lands a shot from the bottom and stabilizes from guard, defending the stay-busy strikes of Cummins.
Now Cummins lands a solid left punch and forearm. Cummins stands up and lands to the body but gets thwacked by two up-kicks from Cavalcante, which increases the steady flow of blood from his face. Referee Mario Yamasaki pauses the action to have the battered Cummins checked by the doc. All is well and we restart with Cummins on top. "Feijao" lands a left from the bottom and another hard up-kick to escape. Cummins lands a knee after re-clinching and scores with a short right hand. We pause to replace Cavalcante's mouthpiece and he looks exhausted on the restart. Cummins dumps him with a double leg and finishes the round on top. 10-9 Cavalcante, again for mounting the lesser amount of vastly more effective offense.
Round 3: Cummins barges into clinch range and easily takes Cavalcante down. Cummins goes old school with a can opener from the top to pry Cavalcante's guard open, then lands a ruthless succession of elbows to coax the stoppage.
Official result: Pat Cummins defeats Rafael Cavalcante by TKO (elbows) R3 0:45
Neil Magny vs. Demian Maia - Welterweights
Round 1: Maia closes distance and shoots an early double leg, then switches to a single leg and gets it. Maia slices into full mount 30 seconds into the fray. Magny bucks him off and gets half guard but Maia methodically slithers right back into full mount, then unleashes a few strikes and nearly transitions to back control. Magny retains half guard but Maia is still glued to him, ever-threatening with a pass to mount. He gets it but Magny counters with half guard.
Magny lands a short left elbow. Maia gets back in mount and holds it this time, posturing up with some wild hammer-fists. Maia continues to swarm with pressure and control, spearing down a few left hands and then an elbow. Valiantly, Magny keeps his cool and gets half guard. Maia's back to mount with a left forearm in Magny's face, then steps over for a mounted armbar attempt. Magny fends it off but he's still stuck in mount. Maia steps over in mount again and gets in armbar position but the horn sounds. 10-8 Maia (zero offense from Magny).
Round 2: Maia with a takedown ten seconds in. He progresses to side mount but Magnly looks for an inverted triangle. Maia frees himself and teleports to full mount with four minutes to work. Magny goes on his left hip and creates a scramble, returning to half guard. Back to mount for Maia. Maia gets back control on the scramble and puts both hooks in, then switches to a body triangle.
Maia gets in rear-naked choke position but he isn't under the chin. Now he is, and Magny taps.
Official result: Demian Maia defeats Neil Magny by submission (rear-naked choke) R2