Anthony Hernandez was told by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan that he shocked the world on Saturday night and for good reason. Hernandez met decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Rodolfo Vieira in the featured preliminary fight of UFC 258, and was one of the biggest betting underdogs of the night.
The accolades of the previously undefeated Vieira were enough for many to believe he would go out and submit Hernandez without much of an issue. Seconds into the first round, it appeared that would be the case as Vieira immediately shot in for a takedown and went straight to work on submissions. However, Hernandez was able to defend them quite well and get back to his feet where he started tagging Vieira with some heavy shots.
Hernandez nearly ended the fight by the end of the first round, but Vieira survived and made it into the second round. Hernandez picked up right where he left off and continued to pummel Vieira until the Brazilian went for another takedown only to be caught in a guillotine. The submission was locked in tight and Vieira had no choice but to tap to Hernandez.
Hernandez winning by submission against someone like Vieira was quite the shock, but not to him. During his post-fight interview with the UFC team, Hernandez said this was an outcome he expected considering his preparation for the fight.
“I’m happy,” said Hernandez. “I proved myself. I knew what I was capable of and I just had to go out there and execute it. That first round, it wasn’t going so well, but I stayed in there, stayed calm and made it happen.”
Hernandez continued by saying that a win like this is exactly why he became involved in the sport in the first place.
“I’m not afraid to fight anybody,” said Hernandez. “At the end of the day, I know my coaches and my team will get me prepared and that’s plain and simple. I got into this sport because I knew I could be the best and just because he’s 7-0 doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable. I wanted to be the first one to prove he’s [expletive] beatable. And I submitted him and that’s his [expletive], so let’s go.
“I love to beat people at their own game because then it’s just like, ‘alright, well what did you beat me at?’ Because if you beat them at their best, then they have no excuse. So, I wanted to give him no excuses.”
Hernandez was awarded his first ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus since joining the UFC in 2018. He now holds an overall record of 2-2 inside of the Octagon.