The Arena Guilherme Paraense in Belem, Brazil was home to a mediocre night of fights that was saved by a good main and co-main event. The card saw three (T)KOs, two submissions and six decisions, including two-split decisions. The card was marred by a number of fighters missing weight, leading to the fight between John Dodson and Pedro Munhoz being called off. A lack of hot water at the UFC’s chosen hotel was blamed for the difficulties.
The story going into tonight’s event was that of Lyoto Machida. He reluctantly stepped in to headline the event in his hometown, as the UFC continues struggling to find suitable headliners for its cards. The former 205 lb champion recorded his first victory since returning from a ridiculously harsh 18-month USADA suspension for disclosing his use of a common over the counter supplement.
Performances of the Night: Valentina Shevchenko and Iuri Alcantara
Valentina Shevchenko is an absolute killer at 125 lbs. “The Bullet” wasn’t just quick and precise tonight, as we’ve seen from her at bantamweight, she was also strong enough to brutalize Priscila Cachoeira in every grappling exchange as well. Shevchenko went from being an average-sized bantamweight to being a big flyweight, and the smart money is on her being the UFC women’s flyweight champion sooner rather than later.
Cachoeira put up the best fight she could in her UFC debut, but the truth is, she was overmatched from the start. Shevchenko dominated on the feet, then held Cachoeira down and beat the living daylights out of her, before finally biting the bullet and tapping the Brazilian in the second round. Shevchenko received a $50,000 bonus for her sterling efforts and is likely on her way to a title shot.
Iuri Alcantara basically landed a 66-second long combo on poor Joe Soto. The “fight” was a non-stop barrage of punches, kicks and elbows, and I have no idea what Joe Soto had done to cross the referee, but the official seemed content to let Alcantara rearrange Soto’s features for way longer than was necessary as the Brazilian cruised to a TKO win in just 1:06. Alcantara picked up a cool 50 Gs for his demolition work.
Fight of the Night: Thiago Santos vs. Anthony Smith
Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith lit up the Octagon with a supercharged fight that had plenty of kicks, spinning shit and bodyslams. In one of the opening exchanges, Santos connected with a spinning kick and then a huge knee, but Smith, in the way most gigantic men do when fending off unwanted knees, picked up the Brazilian and tried to throw him through the canvas, even managing to land in the mounted position. Santos got the sweep, then pinned him to the cage while he blasted shots to Smith’s ribs. The American finally made it back to his feet and landed two big bombs. They both throw hot leather, but Santos’ heat-seeking missile drops Smith, cutting him, making him bleed his own blood.
The second round opens with Santos throwing a kick straight from the depths of Hell that landed square on Smith’s jiggly bits. No lull in the action, though, as he decided to walk it off. Santos nails another huge kick to the body, then swarms him. Smith ate so many hammerfists that the referee decided to step in and call a halt to the action. Smith might not have won the fight, but he did get $50K smackeroos for taking a piping hot plate of whoopass, and Thiago Santos got 50 large for delivering it.