UFC Brasilia started out with nine consecutive decisions — not many bad fights to watch individually, but a bit of a slog collectively — but then the top three fights all ended in impressive finishes. In the main event, in front of literally no fans due to the local government’s restrictions to curb the coronavirus outbreak, Charles Oliveira extended his winning streak to seven with a wicked guillotine choke that had Kevin Lee so out of it that he kept on fighting even after tapping a billion times.
Oliveira is a legitimate contender at lightweight and he is undeniably in the prime of his career. This was a really good scrap and Oliveira added to his extensive resume of submission victories. His striking is also better than it’s ever been, which makes him a danger to virtually anyone he fights at 155 lbs.
As for Lee, he’s missed weight again and there are legitimate concerns about his striking defense and his cardio. He was getting outstruck badly in round two and that’s largely what led to him pursuing takedowns, including the one that got him submitted. The Gregor Gillespie KO was no doubt impressive, but he’s still 1-3 in his last four and his career is in real danger of stalling out.
More thoughts below.
- Gilbert Burns went from escaping Demian Maia’s full mount attempt to knocking Maia senseless in a matter of seconds. A wicked left hand put the BJJ legend on his back, and after a premature celebration, “Durinho” whacked Maia with several unanswered shots for the first-round TKO. It’s the biggest win of Burns’ career and only the second stoppage loss for Maia in his entire career. Afterward, Burns called out Colby Covington, which is ambitious but hey, shoot your shot!
- A FINISH! Renato Moicano’s lightweight debut was stupidly easy, as he easily took Damir Hadzovic’s back and choked him out in about 45 seconds. Then the two exchanged heated words after the fight, which Moicano attributed to frustration over fighting in an empty arena in his hometown. He can even be heard saying he wanted to fight longer, to which Hadzovic retorted, “then you shouldn’t have submitted me.” Moicano called out Paul Felder, which would be one hell of an intriguing matchup and a nice callout.
- Michael Bisping said to “make some noise” for Moicano to end the interview. In an empty arena. That was as funny as when Amanda Ribas called him “Steve” on the prelims.
- Nikita Krylov was hellbent on trying to grind out and slop-grapple his way to a win over Johnny Walker, sucking much of the fun out of the theoretically chaotic matchup. He succeeded. I think we’ve officially figured out that Walker isn’t very good and has a lot of flaws to fix.
- Francisco Trinaldo landed the harder strikes, which offset the fact that John Makdessi somehow outlanded him in significant strikes. Makdessi really looked worse than the stats suggested and Trinaldo got a deserved win, as the 41-year-old keeps on fighting at a high-level.
- I hope you enjoyed this card as much as possible, because depending on what the United Kingdom, the state of Nevada, and the state of New York do over the next few weeks, there’s a real chance we won’t see UFC fights for at least a month. I really wouldn’t bank on those London and New York cards in particular staying intact, and if Nevada makes the decision to suspend combat sports shows indefinitely in its March 25th meeting, then goodbye to the UFC’s APEX facility plans.
Preliminary Card (Tim Burke)
- Seven straight decisions. Ugh.
- Brandon Moreno and Jussier Formiga was an excellent fight if you like grappling. The scrambling here was just crazy to watch. That’s Formiga’s game, but Moreno did more than keep up - he may have done even more. I personally had the fight for Formiga, but I have no issues with Moreno getting the win (well, the 30-27 score was dumb).
- Amanda Ribas beat the hell out of Randa Markos. Ribas looks to be really well-rounded and could very well be a contender in her division. She couldn’t get the finish, but she was thoroughly dominant. And she was pretty fun on the mic too (talking to approximately zero fans, but whatever).
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Alexey Kunchenko but on a hard-hitting contest that was heavy on kicks. Zaleski never really connected on any of his crazy kicks or kill shots, but Kunchenko held up well and had a case for the decision. Ultimately, all three judges leaned towards the Brazilian.
- Enrique Barzola and Rani Yahya went to an unsatisfying majority draw. I thought Yahya controlled the first two rounds, but a huge round three from Barzola where he battered Yahya earned him two 10-8’s. That meant two 28-28 cards, and both arms raised.
- Maryna Moroz was just a tank tonight. She kept going like the energizer bunny for all 15 minutes, landing a ton of shots and constantly looking for takedowns. Opponent Mayra Bueno Silva definitely landed the harder shots in the bout, and looked to have Moroz stunned a couple of times. But in that case, it was quantity over quality and Moroz picked up her second straight victory.
- David Dvorak didn’t have the best first round against Bruno Silva, but he mixed up his game quite well over the final two rounds to take the W. And Twitter was full of Czech/check jokes. Don’t quit your day job, comedians.
- In the opener Bea Malecki had a comical 10-inch reach advantage over opponent Veronica Macedo. Over the first half of the fight, she didn’t use it at all and Macedo touched her chin a bunch of times. But once Macedo gassed, Malecki just had to keep her at range and stop her sloppy takedown attempts. She won the second half of the fight decisively and took the decision.