The Sunday Aftermath

machidadollaway580

For the last time this calender year, the Ultimate Fighting Championship held what turned out to be a card packed with finishes on Saturday night. The Ginásio José Corrêa in Barueri, Brazil played host to the event which saw two former champions on the docket.

Mixed Night For Brazilians

Kicking off the night under the top two fights was a prolonged card which pitted mostly Brazilian based fighters against foreigners. The outstanding match outside of those bouts saw Brazilian Erick Silva take on Duke Rufus trained American Mike Rhodes. As usual, Silva was quick to start and landed a spinning back kick and spinning back fist inside of ten seconds before he took the American down. Rhodes attempted a guillotine but was unsuccessful and allowed Silva to pass into side control. From there the Brazilian tied up Rhodes and caught him plum in a head and arm choke. Initially, Rhodes looked like he was surviving but after an adjustment from Silva his consciousness left him – forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to step in and stop the fight to give Silva the first round submission victory.

Before that, Russian Rashid Magomedov defeated Elias Silvério, Daniel Sarafian took the win against Antônio dos Santos after the Brazilian sustained a finger injury, Light Heavyweight Marcos Rogério de Lima beat veteran Igor Pokrajac, Renato Moicano submitted Tom Niinimäki, Featherweight Hacran Dias decisioned Darren Elkins, Leandro Issa neck cranked Ulka Sasaki and Tim Means took the win over Márcio Alexandre while Vitor Miranda head kicked KOd Jake Collier before Patrick Cummins continued his career progression with an impressive win over the extremely dangerous Antônio Carlos Júnior.

Renan Returns

The co-main saw the return of former bantamweight champion Renan Barao. The Brazilian lost his belt earlier in the year to current champion TJ Dillashaw and made his comeback last night against Mitch Gagnon after a scheduled immediate championship rematch was cancelled three months ago when Barao was injured in preparation. Gagnon looked confident from the off and was light on his feet, landing a nice left hook early before eating two leg kicks. Gagnon was happy to let his hands go after that but was caught numerous times with counters on the inside and thunderous leg kicks on the outside. The Canadian had plenty of success with his jab and uppercut but the biggest strike of the opening period was a well timed left hand from Barao late on which put his opponent on the arse of his pants.

Gagnon looked dead set to control the action in the second and quickly tied up Barao against the fence but a lack of action forced the break. Barao then decide to do the same which led to a prolonged greco exchange with neither man doing much damage outside of the brief exchanges between fence-work. Barao seemed to have regained some of his attacking qualities by the time the third started and was close to landing a high kick and a flying knee early on. Gagnon immediately clinched again but couldn’t get the takedown and was reversed before himself being taken down. The Canadian did well to get back to his feet but on Barao’s second takedown he looked down trodden. With time running out, Barao produced a silky transition into the mount before locking on the arm triangle and forcing Gagnon to tap. With the win Barao pushes himself directly back into title talk with the bantamweight belt due to be up for grabs early in 2015 between TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz.

Marvelous Machida

In the headlining bout, former light-heavyweight champion and middleweight challenger Lyoto Machida battled it out at 185 lbs with gritty wrestler and TUF veteran CB Dolloway. It was a typically educating start from Machida who immediately took up his karate stance out of his opponent’s range and uploaded the response data to every movement. Dolloway looked loose on his feet and pawed with the fake jab as he tried to set up a takedown.

The first real blow of the fight came from the Brazilian, though, as he landed a kick to the lead leg of the American which was immediately answered with by a leg kick of his own from Dolloway followed by a head kick which was off the mark. Getting into a kicking match with Lyoto Machida, though, is never a good idea. The Brazilian saw his opening and took it as he faked the low kick and pounded the liver of Dolloway with a clearly audible left leg attack. The Doberman couldn’t hide the anguish on his face or the pain through his body and backed away for dear life. The cage scuppered Dolloway’s escape strategy and Machida raced in with a barrage of punches which put the American down and forced the referee to step in and stop the fight with just over a minute on the clock. Just like Barao, the win puts Machida’s name back towards the title picture and, with chatter of a fight with Luke Rockhold in the near future, he might be just one fight away from another blast at champion Chris Weidman.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma