(And remember folks, this is a UFC main event, so the fight will be scheduled for five rounds, and both fighters will be allowed to receive injections of synthetic testosterone during training. Wait, what’s that? Only *one* of them can do that? Well how the fuck does that make any sense? / Photo via Getty Images)
Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to go live from Jaraguá do Sul — known to many* as the Kansas City of Brazil — for UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold. Once again, the Phenom has home-country advantage and the Lord’s blessing. Will that be enough to stave off the invasion of a young, hungry, and very amped-up former Strikeforce champ? Plus: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza makes his UFC debut against Chris Camozzi, and Rafael Dos Anjos clashes with Evan Dunham in the lightweight division.
Taking us through the play-by-play tonight will be Matt Kaplan, who will be stacking live results after the jump beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and toss in your own thoughts in the comments section — or just holler at us on twitter @CagePotatoMMA.
* Or perhaps, nobody?
MK here, live in Jaraguá do Sul and very excited for tonight’s Belfort-Rockhold main event. If Belfort is nearly as fired up by his countrymen tonight as he was at the weigh-ins yesterday, this fight will be the mutt’s nuts.
Man, I forgot how good watching Belfort drop Bisping felt. Great highlight. I also liked when Hendo dropped Bisping. And when Wanderlei dropped Bisping.
Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino
Rd. 1 – Both men test the waters early, and Zeferino opens things up with a bight right overhand that connects. Zeferino kicks Natal in the right cheek. Wow, that was fast. Natal seems less sure with his striking than Zeferino and is feeling the pressure of Zeferino’s straight-ahead charge. Zeferino lands on top of Natal after a clinch against the fence. 50/50 guard, and Zeferino is working on a heel. Natal is chopping away on Zeferino’s left arm with his heel, but nah. The crowd is starting to boo as both men fight for position in 50-50 guard. Again Natal kicks at Zeferino’s left arm. Zeferino still wants that heel, dammit. The ref stands them up with 20 seconds left, but the crowd is still annoyed. I’d give that round to Zeferino, I guess.
Rd. 2 -Zeferino ignores Natal’s jabs and wings another overhand right. Natal stuffs a double, but Zeferino scores a takedown. Natal is right back up, though, and has Zeferino pressed against the cage. Zeferino reverses and has Natal against the fence. Both men separate and are back in the center of the cage. Things have slowed. The crowd again boos. Zeferino’s double is stuffed, and Natal has a front headlock on a downed Zeferino. Zeferino’s hands are real low. Natal charges in with a 1-2, but Zeferino counters. He looks gassed. Natal is producing at a higher rate now. Zeferino drops to his back, and Natal enters it behind a flying right hand. Natal finishes the round by dropping shots from Zeferino’s half guard.
Rd. 3 -Oh boy, they’re hugging. Natal is fresher and letting his hands and feet go. Natal slugs away at Zeferino against the fence, but Zeferino escapes and lands a big right that got Natal’s attention. Close fight. Zeferino just threw a slow motion right cross and then another looping right overhand. Zeferino nearly catches the side kick from Natal, but is taken down in the ensuing scramble. Natal is in half guard now. Natal is droping punches and is back in full guard with 1:30 to go. Zeferino is stopping the submission attempt, but is eating forearms to the ribs. And now he’s mounted. Natal is slamming away from the mount. Zeferino is survivng, but not much else. Strong finish from Natal.
Natal earns the unanimous decision victory.
Anyone ever try this Sailor Jerry spiced rum? The commercial features a bunch of people who look a lot like me, so I feel like I should maybe get on this.
I think Bigfoot is gonna get that work from Cain Velazquez.
Evan Dunham vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Rd. 1 -Dunham has not been tanning down in Brazil. Huge leg kick from Dos Anjos. DosAnjos kicks upstairs now, but Dunham blocks. Dos Anjos is firing punch-kick combos fast and hard, while Dunham is sluggis out the gate. Dos Anjos is kicking and avoiding the counter punches from the pasty American. Good head movement too. Dos Anjos keeps firing, but Dunham is picking things up. Dunham counters a Dos Anjos kick and lands a takedown. Dunham in full guard and going to work with his closed fists. Ref stands them up with 13 seconds left, and Dos Anjos lands a wide left after missing with a right uppercut.
Rd. 2 - Dos Anjos lands an early left jab. Dunham lands the double. Dos Anjos is back up, then down, then back up again.Dunham is looking to clinch. Dos Anjos lands a hard right to the body. Dos Anjos looks for a single against the fence, but settles for a right hand to the side of Dunham’s head as both men retreat to the center of the cage. Dunham is finding his range, but Don Anjos is landing the harder, faster punches. Borth men are working, and Dos Anjos has blood from his right eye. Dos Anjos is starting to throw wildly, whereas Dunham is picking up the pace and punching with more accuracy. Dos Anjos unleashes the power with a kick-punch combo, and Dunham ends the round with a last-second takedown. Close fight so far.
Rd. 3 – Both men are letting the hands fly. Don Anjos has blood from hisn nose and right eye brow, and Dunham looks very sure of himself. Dos Anjos stuffs a double against the cage and lands a knee. Back in the center of the cage, Dunham eats a thunderous kick to his left side and a hook to the same side of his head. Both are bloody, both are firing away with straight punches and baaaad intentions. Dunham goes in for the single, but Dos Anjos keeps hismelf up. Dunham wants to do work in the clinch, but it’s Dos Anjos who locks in the Thai clinch for a bit. 30 seconds left and we’re swinging away in the center of the octagon. Hooks to the body and head until the final bell. Great final frame.
Rafael Dos Anjos takes the unanimous decision.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
Rd. 1 – Camozzi isn’t afraid. He’s come out with 1-2s and kicks, but now Jacare’s got him against the cage. Biiig overhand right from Jacare. A trip from Jacare. Camozzi upkicks as Jacare descends into his guard. Over to half guard. Jacare is punching the body of Camozzi, who lands an upkick to Jarace’s face. And Jacare gets side control. Scramble. Omaplata? Yup. Camozzi is safe, but Jacare is back in side control. Make that a full mount. Head and arm choke time. Got it. Night night.
Jacare wins by Rd. 1 sub.
Luke Rockhold vs. Vitor Belfort
Rd. 1 – Referee Leon Roberts gives the instructions and we’re under way. Rockhold misses a head kick and falls, but Vitor lets him up. Vitor fires a spin kick – just off. Rockhold shoots. Vitor hits Rockhold with a fast right, but Rockhold ties him up. In the center of the cage, Vitor shows his hand speed, just missing with punches, but scoring with low kicks that delight the crowd. Rockhold lands a left. Spinning heel kick. Rockhold is down. He’s out. Shit. I just saw the replay: wow. It was a tight, precise, spinning heel kick to the left side of Rockhold’s jaw that dropped him, and then Vitor connected with four monster punches to an already dazed young former Strikeforce champion.
Vitor Belfort wins via first-round KO.
That was unreal. So who gets “The Phenom” next?