Read on for a recap of episode seven of The Ultimate Fighter Brasil 2...
Argentine defeats Márcio "Pedra" by TKO in the first round, becoming the fourth Team Nogueira member to qualify for the quarterfinals
Fate of Daniel "Gelo" is decreed: after a conversation with UFC president Dana White, Team Werdum picks Cleiton "Foguete" to face substitute Yan Cabral
In the seventh episode of the second season of The Ultimate Fighter Brasil, Argentine Santiago Ponzinibbio qualified for the quarterfinals, dropping Márcio Pedra in one of the most exciting fights of the season so far.
With the victory, Team Nogueira now leads Team Werdum 4-2, with only two fights left to close the quarterfinal round: a battle between Gelo (substituting for Yan Cabral) and Cleiton Foguete, and the Wild Card bout, which will give two fighters previously eliminated the chance to fight again for a spot in the next round.
The episode also featured a guest appearance by former champion and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell. One of the most respected fighters in UFC history, Liddell was praised by Minotauro and Werdum, and also showed some of his characteristic techniques to aspiring UFC fighters. Another special appearance was made by UFC president Dana White, who, via video, spoke about the future of Gelo.
The fighters did not hide their excitement when Chuck Liddell entered the gym. The former light heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Fame member took the trip to teach the fighters how to throw the right hand, his characteristic punch. He recalled his own time as a coach on the first season of TUF when, alongside Randy Couture, he worked with future UFC greats like Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Josh Koscheck and Chris Leben. Team Liddell also produced the two winners: Griffin and Sanchez.
The fight between Santiago and Pedra started off with a bang. Without wasting much time to study each other, the two threw everything, exchanging strong blows from the beginning. Santiago, who comes from kickboxing and therefore was fighting in his comfort zone, connected punches and low kicks with ease, while Pedra, also very strong, retaliated and launched high kicks. Pedra landed an elbow to the face of Santiago, and the Argentine fell to the floor. He was then dominating, but Santiago eventually managed to get up and took control of the battle standing, and when a strong punch hit the face of Pedra, who fell to the mat, referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight right there.
The decision, however, was not well received by the yellow team. It was particularly bothersome for Wanderlei Silva, who made his displeasure clear as he left the gym as an angry protest. According to the members of Team Werdum, the decision to stop the bout was premature, since Pedra was still alert when dropped to the floor. "He fell and was not unconscious," said Fabricio Werdum. Gelo, however, said: "The referee has no time to think twice, he has to think and act."
The protests, however, did not alter the outcome of the fight. Santiago secured a place in the next stage, becoming the fourth member of Team Nogueira to achieve that status. The "Argentine hammer," as dubbed by coach Eric Albarracin, is the first non-Brazilian to advance in TUF Brasil. "I am very happy. It was a great fight for me, as he is one of the toughest athletes on the other team, very complete. My life story is about overcoming; I have to struggle to get things.”
Following the bout, UFC president Dana White made a special announcement, informing coaches Minotauro and Werdum that Gelo, the participant who came to replace the injured Yan Cabral, would fight against one of the participants previously eliminated from the green team. In the end, Cleiton Foguete, despite being injured, opted to fight again. Gelo and Foguete have their battle scheduled for the next episode.