Despite being one of the hotbeds of mixed martial arts, Brazil has historically had a very tight-knit community, with competitors from the South American nation generally not wanting to have to fight a compatriot in the big shows if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
It may have been something that started in jiu-jitsu competitions, when teammates would close the brackets and then refuse to battle each other in the finals, but as the sport grew and elite fighters from Brazil rose to the top, it was necessary to put this unwritten rule to the side.
On February 2, the UFC returns to Fortaleza with a main event rematch between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes that has significant bantamweight title implications, and that’s enough reason to recommend it. Another reason is because it is only the seventh UFC main event pitting two Brazilians against each other.
Here are the first six and what we wrote each night…
Mama said there would be nights like this. In his first time going five rounds, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva earned the UFC record for most consecutive wins and tied the mark for most consecutive title defenses with his unanimous decision win over Thales Leites, but the lackluster 25-minute bout earned more boos than cheers from the sold-out crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal for the sometimes bizarre lack of action.
“It’s unfortunate that things sometimes turn out that way, but when you’re not in here, it’s hard to tell what going on sometimes,” said Silva. “Sorry.”
Lyoto Machida is human. He also remained the UFC light heavyweight champion after a grueling five round unanimous decision win over Mauricio Rua at STAPLES Center in a bout that may have shown more about the challenger than the champion, as “Shogun” finally showed UFC fans the form that had him terrorizing 205-pounders in Japan’s PRIDE organization from 2003 to 2007.
“I trained hard for this fight. I feel like I won this fight,” said Rua, who pushed Machida into deep waters he had never seen in his 16 fight pro career.
“It’s the most difficult fight I had in the UFC,” said Machida, who had not lost a round, let alone a fight in his seven previous trips to the Octagon.
Scores were 48-47 across the board for Machida. The decision was greeted with boos from the Los Angeles crowd, but in a bout as tough to score as this one, it’s hard to find fault with the final verdict.
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s return to the Octagon after an eight-month absence wasn’t as explosive as his previous battle with Forrest Griffin.
Not even close.
And though he retained his belt with a five-round unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia in the UFC 112 main event at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, it was a bout filled with more stalemates than submissions, and more posing than punching, forcing Silva to apologize more than celebrate after the final bell sounded.
“Demain actually surprised me with some of his punches,” said Silva. “I apologize to everybody; I don’t know what got into me. I wasn’t as humble as I should have been. It was just the ring rust and a little bit of everything. I can guarantee that next time it won’t happen."
Scores for Silva were 50-45 twice and 49-46.
It wasn’t too long ago that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was written off as a serious contender after he lost his UFC debut to Forrest Griffin in 2007. At the Bell Centre in Montreal, Rua – two knee surgeries, three wins and a controversial loss later – is the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world after a stunning first-round knockout of previously unbeaten Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 113.
“I had a serious injury in 2007 with the knee surgeries, but I always believed and used it as motivation to fight for my dreams,” said Rua.
Vitor Belfort was widely considered to be the most dangerous threat to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title reign. So Silva did what you’re supposed to do to such threats – he eliminated him immediately, knocking out Belfort in the first round to retain his crown for the eighth time in the UFC 126 main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In the process, Silva broke a tie with Matt Hughes for most successful title defenses in UFC history.
“That’s just one of the tricks I was working on,” said Silva, who, for all intents and purposes, ended the bout with a spectacular front kick to the chin.
On a night at the Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil, where a Brazilian won every fight and there were more submissions (eight) than in any other event in Zuffa-era UFC history, the biggest moment was saved for the UFC on FUEL TV 10 main event, as Fabricio Werdum avenged a 2006 PRIDE loss to Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira by submitting the Rio de Janeiro legend in the second round. In the process, Porto Alegre’s Werdum made a strong case for an eventual shot at the heavyweight title.