(That awkward moment when one of your most marketable fighters denies the existence of his opponent’s Lord and Savior. Pretty typical face-off stuff, really. / Photo via MMAJunkie.com)
The last time that Vitor Belfort fought in Sao Paulo, this happened. Fourteen years later, those still-lethal fists are the only thing separating Michael Bisping from the middleweight title shot that has stayed maddeningly out of his reach. So will Belfort triumph in front of his countrymen tonight at the Ibirapuera Arena, or will Bisping defy the haters and take what belongs to him?
Elsewhere on the UFC on FX 7 lineup: Gabriel Gonzaga‘s heavyweight comeback faces its first big test in Ben Rothwell, Khabib Nurmagomedov goes for his 19th-straight victory against Thiago Tavares, and TUF Brazil standout Daniel Sarafian will do his best to defend the relentless takedowns of Massive Doucheface.
Round-by-round updates from the “Belfort vs. Bisping” main card broadcast will be available after the jump beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and make the world a little less lonely by tossing your thoughts into the comments section.
Preliminary card results:
- Godofredo Castro def. Milton Vieira via split-decision (28-27 x 2, 27-28)
- Ronny Markes def. Andrew Craig via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Nik Lentz def. Diego Nunes via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 30-26)
- Edson Barboza def. Lucas Martins via submission (punches), 2:38 of round 1
- Yuri Alcantara vs. Pedro Nobre resulted in a no contest (Nobre was knocked out by strikes to the back of the head), 2:11 of round 1
- Ildemar Alcantara def. Wagner Prado via submission (kneebar), 2:39 of round 2
- Francisco Trinaldo def. C.J. Keith via submission (arm triangle choke), 1:50 of round 2
And now the main card…
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Thiago Tavares
As I once wrote, “God help the CagePotato writers who have to type [Nurmagomedov's] name during liveblogs. (Not it, guys.)” Well, shit. Due to a last-minute withdrawal, I (BG) have to soldier up and make it happen. I’ll be shortening his name to “Nurma,” and I don’t even think Khabib himself would judge me for that.
Round 1: Tavares trying to back Nurma down to the fence, and Nurma brushes him away with a high kick and overhand right. Nurma throws another big wild punch but misses. Tavares lands a straight, but Nurma connects moments later with a sneaky left uppercut that drops Tavares to the canvas. He follows it up with a carpet-bombing of elbows from the top that puts Tavares’s lights out. Aaaaaaand still undefeated…Nurmagomedov def. Tavares via KO, 1:55 of round 1. The UFC production crew realizes that a translated English-to-Russian-to-English post-fight interview wouldn’t be very well-received by the Brazilian crowd, and they wisely skip it.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell
Round 1: Rothwell snaps out a pair of punches, and Gonzaga responds by shooting for a takedown. He gets Rothwell down, but Rothwell makes his way to his feet. Gonzaga sticks onto Rothwell, dragging Big Ben to the mat again despite a very blatant fence grab that Rothwell is warned for. Rothwell’s up again, and down again. Gonzaga with some wall-n-stall. They’re separated. Rothwell misses a jab and Gonzaga clinches up with him, landing a punch as Rothwell shakes out. Rothwell lands a punch. He puts Gonzaga against the fence, and is warned for a knee to the ball-area. They separate and Gonzaga starts finding his range with punches, making Rothwell’s legs go shaky at one point. Rothwell answers. A little jockeying against the fence and the horn sounds. Rothwell goes back to his corner with a cut under his eye. 10-9 Gonzaga.
Round 2: Right straight from Gonzaga lands. They clinch and trade knees. Gonzaga staggers Rothwell with two more rights, looks for a takedown, and grabs an arm-in guillotine when Rothwell tries to sprawl. Gonzaga pulls guard and bears down on the choke. Rothwell taps once, and looks pretty pissed off at himself as the ref ends the fight. Rothwell def. Gonzaga via submission (guillotine choke), 1:01 of round 2.
“Speaking of nice guys, the *infectious* Junior Dos Santos…” Jon Anik says, pointing out Cigano in the crowd, and making subtle reference to the herpes outbreak that ruined his marriage.
Daniel Sarafian vs. CB Dollaway
Round 1: Dollaway dashes in with some awkward looking jabs and Sarafian counters him with ease. Dollaway lands a leg kick. They land hooks simultaneously. Sarafian makes good contact with a charging punch combo. Sarafian lands an overhand right as Dollawya lands a kick to the body. Sarafian lands a straight to the body. Sarafian drops Dollaway, but Dollaway grabs onto Sarafian’s leg and makes his way back to his feet. Sarafian throwing with serious power, and lands a cross/hook combo. Dollaway jabbing. Sarafian again with the overhand right. Dollaway sticks the jab, Sarafian gives one back. He pushes forward with punches. Sarafian goes to the body. Dollaway taunting Sarafian, God knows why. Sarafian attacks at the horn but doesn’t catch Dollaway with anything. 10-9 Sarafian.
Round 2: Sarafian getting loose in the cage, shuckin’ and duckin’. Dollaway lands a long jab. Sarafian throws a spinning kick and misses. They briefly clinch against the fence. Dollaway lands his jab. He scores with a leg kick. Sarafian staggers Dollaway again with his big overhand right. Dollaway with a solid kick to the body. He throws another one, Sarafian catches it and trips Dollaway down, but Dollaway pops back up. Dollaway sticking with those kicks even though Sarafian is onto them by now. Both guys trading punches, Dollaway continuing to work the jab, and Sarafian throwing more big rights. Dollaway catches Sarafian with a big punch coming in, and Sarafian drops to his knees on the mat. Dollaway fires down some shots in an attempt to end the fight before the round ends, but Sarafian is saved by the horn.
Round 3: Dollaway throws a high-kick. Big hook from Sarafian lands, Dollaway swings back to counter and lands. Dollaway reaching forward with that jab. Dollaway lands a kick to the gut, then a short hook. Sarafian lands a big overhand right, Dollaway answers with a big right of his own. Dollway lands again and Sarafian is on his heels. Dollaway takes Sarafian down. Sarafian works to his feet but Dollaway is hugging him around the middle, and converts the takedown. Dollaway on Sarafian’s back. Sarafian rolls, and sweeps a fatigued Dollaway off of him. Now Sarafian is on top. He’s got 90 seconds to steal this round. Dollaway rolls, Sarafian seizes his back and tries to set up a RNC. Dollaway escapes and gets in Sarafian’s guard. Sarafian escapes. Dollaway shoots for a leg and takes a knee to the face. He continues to pursue Sarafian as the round ends. Could be a close decision coming up…
Dollaway def. Sarafian via split-decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29). Even the translator sounds pissed off. The crowd tries to drown out CB’s interview response with boos. Something about landing his takedowns. Oh man. This is kind of brutal. Honestly, if Bisping takes out Belfort next, there could be actual rioting in this building.
Unrelated: I wonder what these bros are up to tonight.
Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping
Round 1: Bisping takes the center of the Octagon. He feels Belfort out with jabs. Belfort throws a front kick. Inside leg kick from Bisping. Belfort throws a left head kick that’s blocked. Belfort long-jumps into Bisping and almost gets punches out of mid-air. Bisping starting to committ with his punches. Belfort misses a reverse kick. Bisping whiffs on a right straight. He comes in again and eats on uppercut. Bisping lands the inside leg kick again. Swing and a miss from Belfort. Belfort lands a body kick. Bisping tapping Belfort with the jab. Bisping tries to call time-out for an eye poke, but changes his mind and goes right back in. Bisping moves in with a punch and spinning kick but doesn’t have the right range. Belfort lands a punch that staggers Bisping, and chases him with punches as the round ends. That might be enough to give Belfort the edge.
Round 2: Low leg kick from Bisping. Belfort scares Bisping off with a fast straight. 1-2 from Belfort. Bisping jabs. A massive left-head kick from Belfort drops Bisping! Belfort lays on some finishing punches from the top and it’s all over.
Belfort def. Bisping via TKO, 1:27 of round 2. Belfort says he’s only there because of God. He thanks his wife, camp, and Brazil, and gives all the glory to Jesus. Then he loses his mind about Chael Sonnen, ordering Dana and Lorenzo to get that clown out of the title fight with Jon Jones. Hey, from your mouth to God’s ears, buddy.
Michael Bisping has no sour grapes in his post-fight interview. “He was the better man…you win some, you lose some, I’m not going away.”
So now what? Weidman vs. Lombard for the next middleweight title shot? I doubt Belfort will be getting another chance any time soon, despite his post-fight pleas.
And now we get a look at Edson Barboza’s execution of Lucas Martins from the prelims. Martins gets kicked in the balls about 30 seconds into the fight, and pops a squat against the cage to recover. Ugh. He’s going back in after about a minute and a half, but you can tell he’s not completely ready. Martins is a game opponent, active with his attacks even if they’re not doing much. He gets a little too wild, though, swinging his punches during a striking blitz and leaving his chin out. Barboza finds it with a left hand, and Martins’s legs go all noodly. Barboza slams down punches as Martins’s head is wedged against the fence, and Martins eventually taps to the onslaught. The fight is stopped at 2:38 of the first frame.
That’s it, folks. If you’re on the East Coast and you have no taste in comedy, enjoy the new episode of Anger Management.