clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC Sao Paulo: Blachowicz vs. Jacare - Winners and Losers

Here are the winners and losers from the UFC’s long evening in Sao Paulo.

I generally try to be positive in how fight cards turn out. I accept that not everything is going to be exciting and usually try to make room for a stinker or two on a card and still be able to deem the card as awesome, if that’s all that pervades. UFC Sao Paulo was almost all stinkers, only Charles Oliveira was able to avoid going to decision, with all those that went the distance struggling to hold my full attention. After a single round of the main event between Jan Blachowicz and Jacare Souza, I was ready to call it a night, having a suspicion it would be more of the same for the other four rounds. It was, and though Blachowicz got the win, everyone knows there were no real winners from that horrid affair.

That doesn’t mean everything was terrible – Charles Oliveira and Randy Brown in particular looked awesome – but the close to the evening left a sour taste in the mouths of many.


Charles Oliveira: Is Chucky Olives becoming a KO specialist? After securing submissions for the first 13 finishes of his UFC career, Oliveira has now racked up back-to-back KO finishes. It looks like opponents have decided to overcompensate for their respect of his vaunted ground game and Oliveira has recognized that. The latest victim, Jared Gordon, couldn’t even make it 90 seconds. Oliveira is hurting himself by continually accepting contests with opponents that clearly aren’t on his level. Now that he has six consecutive wins – all finishes – hopefully he can get the high-level opponent he so clearly deserves.

Andre Muniz: I know many will disagree with me calling Muniz a winner as his contest with Antonio Arroyo was largely painful to sit through. However, I would give most of the blame to Arroyo. Muniz was aggressive in his pursuit of takedowns and submissions and even landed some heavy punches in the standup. Granted, Muniz slowed quickly himself, but that didn’t stop him from pushing the contest when he had an opportunity to do so. It was a smart strategy from Muniz and got him a win.

Wellington Turman: We still haven’t seen much out of Turman’s supposedly vaunted grappling game, but he has improved his striking enough to the point that was what largely delivered a victory over the durable Markus Perez. He still has a lot to work out, but Turman was more active and more often than not, that will earn a win. I wouldn’t call Turman a blue chipper by any means, but he is showing continued growth and could turn out to be a longtime staple. Keep in mind, the young Brazilian is still just 23.

James Krause: It’s hard to name a quieter six-fight win streak than the one Krause is currently on. Much of that has to do with Krause’s voluntary lack of activity as he has chosen to focus more on his gym and coaching, but it shouldn’t understate how much Krause has grown as a fighter. He appears to be thriving now that he’s no longer weighing himself down with pressure to advance his career. Against Sergio Moraes, he patiently waited out Moraes early takedown only to pick apart the athletic Brazilian over the rest of the contest, scoring a stoppage with less than a minute to go. Krause has indicated he might call it quits at any point, but I for one have been enjoying this late career iteration of the WEC vet.

Ricardo Ramos: For someone who came into the UFC known for their submissions, Ramos hadn’t shown much of what was considered to make him such a talented prospect. Moving up to featherweight, Ramos appeared to have more energy to engage in the physicality of wrestling and grappling, getting Eduardo Garagorri down with ease and quickly taking his back. Garagorri got back to his feet, but Ramos rode him like a backpack to secure the RNC victory. Excellent debut at 145.

Francisco Trinaldo: I say there was some Brazilian home cooking going on in Trinaldo’s decision over Bobby Green – I didn’t see a 30-27 – but not to the point it was a robbery. It could have gone either way and I’m fine with the outcome, even if I scored it for Green. Trinaldo was competitive in the scrambles and landed the harder shots, even if he didn’t land more volume. The 41-year old hasn’t slipped much from the wear and tear of age. A part of me continues to expect him to fall off a cliff every time I see him, but he continues to defy. Solid win for Trinaldo.

Randy Brown: I picked against Brown in his contest with Warlley Alves. Not because I don’t like Brown or this win surprised me. It’s because Alves has looked just about as good. Just look at how well the opening round went for Alves. And yet, Brown found a way to rock Alves on the feet with a head kick and then submit him with a triangle off his back after Alves fell into Brown’s guard. I know, it sounds weird when you read it, but if you saw it, it qualifies as a club and sub. Those of you who recognize grappling is supposed to be Brown’s Achilles heel, that’s a major sign of progress.

Douglas Silva de Andrade: I was blown away de Andrade was able to go strong for 15 minutes. No, it’s not because looks like a mini version of TRT Vitor, all the way down to the haircut. No, it’s because there wasn’t a single strike he threw that didn’t have every bit of power he could muster up behind it. Regardless of whether Renan Barao was there at the end of the fight, de Andrade put a hell of a beating on the former champion. I don’t see him having a breakthrough to his career now that he’s at 145, but he might be able to extend his career not having to cut that extra 10 pounds.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships: Want to make your competition look good? Bore your viewing audience while the competition delivers excitement on the same night. I cringe at what the bare knuckle organizations put on, but it was far more palatable than what the UFC was doing.


Jan Blachowicz and Jacare Souza: Recognize that I’m not saying clinch wars aren’t grueling. I know there was a lot going on in there. However, it was BORING AS HELL!!!! I say that under the auspice of people watching sports for the sake of entertainment. There was nothing entertaining in their clinchfest. Rather than declare a draw, this was the type of fight where you want to declare both combatants losers. Since that isn’t possible, I get to do the next best thing and declare them losers in my column. Not much solace, but it’s better than screaming out my complaints on the Twitterverse. I maintain both are fantastic athletes, but I would consider a rematch to be cruel and unusual punishment on the MMA community. Oh yeah, for what it’s worth, I agreed with the decision… not that it matters. Besides, it’s not like the win did anything for his standing.

Shogun Rua: There isn’t a decent MMA fan out there that doesn’t love Shogun. The dude is a legend of the sport and has produced a plethora of highlights and memories. However, fighting Paul Craig to a draw – a decision I won’t dispute – is a pretty good indication that Father Time is well ahead on his scorecard with the former champion. Formerly one of the most violent practitioners of professional fighting, Shogun executed a very measured approach, utilizing GnP that looked more to score points than to finish off the Scot. The hope here is Shogun can find a way to transition into life after MMA as the only reason he got away with fighting someone as low key as Craig is because of an injury to his original opponent. Things won’t get any better for Shogun if he keeps going.

Jared Gordon: I’m not going to fault Gordon for taking the fight with Oliveira. It represented a big opportunity to make a HUGE leap in the standings. Plus, no one else was exactly jumping at the chance to fight Oliveira. Alas, it turned out he bit off more than he could chew… just as everyone expected. Hats off to Gordon for taking the fight, but I can’t reasonably call him anything but a loser given how things played out.

Antonio Arroyo: I haven’t been as high on Arroyo as several others have been. Not because I don’t think he’s talented. I just don’t think he’s ready for the UFC quite yet. His loss to Muniz displayed that thought process perfectly. When he was attacking, Arroyo looked very good. The problem was that he wasn’t attacking very often, proving to be tentative when he had an opportunity in the grappling. His reluctance to engage cost him a very winnable fight.

Markus Perez: Perez isn’t the most physically gifted fighter. But he is a smart fighter. If there was any fight that felt like he should win, it was his contest with Turman. Instead, he let the younger fighter outwork him and walk out with a victory. It wasn’t a garbage performance by Perez by any means, but it felt like he could have done more, an issue amplified when Perez went balls-to-the-wall at the end trying to end things. Given there is nothing special about him, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him cut loose.

Sergio Moraes: It used to look like Moraes had fun when he was in the cage. Used to. Moraes hasn’t looked like he’s been enjoying his career for quite a while now, looking miserable as soon as Krause stood up from Moraes’ early takedown. His body appears to be more prone to injury as his leg was compromised very quickly from some Krause kicks. Plus, Moraes’ explosion disappears much faster than it used to.

Eduardo Garagorri: I know I sound like a hater, but this was pretty much what I expected as soon as the UFC gave Garagorri a real opponent. Garagorri has been a can crusher who is less ready for UFC action than most – if not all – of the DWCS winners. I’m sure he gets another UFC fight, but he’d be better off going to a regional promotion and getting some seasoning.

Bobby Green: Green being in the loser’s column has more to do with the outcome than his performance. As I stated, I thought he won over Trinaldo. However, it wasn’t a robbery and it leaves Green with a single victory in his last seven appearances. Several of those losses have been controversial decisions, indicating Green’s tendency to leave his chin hanging out doesn’t bode well in the eyes of judges. Despite that, Green has done next to nothing to change his approach. I hope this isn’t the end of Green’s UFC run, but it realistically could be given his poor record over that stretch.

Warlley Alves: The only reason Alves is here is he badly needed this win. He’s been living off potential since his UFC entry five years ago and it looked like he was finally putting it all together. The opening moments of the first round looked like he had arrived. He took Brown down and controlled him for several minutes, even coming dangerously close to securing a RNC. Then he let it all slip away with a poor start to the second, leading to Brown’s submission victory. I do believe Alves is the best version he’s ever been, but this was a pivotal fight for him… and he fell short.

Renan Barao: I wanted to put Barao in the neither category as he looked better than he has in several years. He went the distance, had his wrestling game working early, and showed a confidence on the feet that has been missing in recent years. Regardless, it wasn’t enough. Barao was completely worn down by the third round, his strikes bouncing off de Andrade like they were nothing. The explosiveness that defined his title reign is nowhere to be seen. I truly hope this is the last we see of Barao in the UFC.

Vanessa Melo: There may not be a fighter I was more disappointed with on the card. After a game performance against Irene Aldana, Melo looked flat against Tracy Cortez. Even worse, Cortez is a natural flyweight and she bullied Melo throughout the last two rounds. Melo was never a physically gifted athlete by any means, making her the lack of speed she displayed that much more noticeable. It doesn’t look like she’ll be around for very long.

Sao Paulo crowd: The audience was bored enough during the main event that they started waving their cell phones throughout the audience to entertain themselves. Hell, it entertained me more than the actual fight.


Paul Craig: While most would look at a draw with Shogun as a victory of sorts, this is Shogun in 2019. Shogun’s prime was 2005. However, Craig deserves credit for taking the fight to Shogun and winning the standup exchanges, forcing Shogun to take the contest to the mat for most of the second and third round. Shogun was savvy enough to avoid Craig’s subs from the guard, taking away Craig’s best chance of securing a finish. Nonetheless, this was Craig’s opportunity to make a name for himself outside of a Hail Mary specialist and he came up short. Not saying he performed poorly, but it was a missed opportunity.

Ariane Lipski: After two highly disappointing contests to start her UFC career, Lipski started her bout with Isabella de Padua with such promise, knocking the newcomer to the mat just seconds in. Then… she laid on top of her for the rest of the contest or allowed de Padua to lay on her. Lipski got the win – which was badly needed – and showed glimpses of why everyone was so excited about her coming in. But she still hasn’t come close to reaching expectations. Until she fixes her ground game, she won’t.

Isabella de Padua: Given she accepted her fight with Lipski less than 48 hours before it went down, de Padua deserves a lot of credit. She hung tough and even found a way to cinch in a tight triangle in the closing moments of the second round. Given I didn’t have the opportunity to see what she can do for film study, I think she could prove to be a keeper based on what she showed on short notice.

Tracy Cortez: All the credit in the world to the youthful flyweight prospect. She fought Melo at a weight class higher than where she usually fights since she wanted to get a fight in before the end of the year for the experience. Walking away with a win in that sense in impressive. However, she also won in just about as boring of a way as she possibly could have. The UFC wants to promote her as her story into the sport tugs on the heartstrings, but she has to be something fans want to watch. Granted, Cortez did fight intelligently in order to get the win, indicating she can be a winning fighter. Hopefully the entertaining part comes along with her development.