The Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was home to an exciting night of fights, with six (T)KOs, five submissions, and just two decisions, one of which was a split-decision.
In the biggest pre-event story, Mackenzie Dern came in seven pounds over her maximum contracted weight of 116 pounds. Amanda Cooper chose to fight her regardless, which might have been a mistake. Dern destroyed “ABC” in under two-and-a-half minutes, knocking her down before sinking in a rear-naked choke to get the tap. No bonus though, likely due to her huge weight miss.
There was controversy in the main event when Raquel Pennington told her corner she wanted to be done with the fight, but they sent her out anyway.
RP: “I’m done. I want to be done.”
Corner: “No no no no.”
Corner: “No no no. I know it hurts, just power through this. Throw everything we’ve got. We’ll recover later.”
She eventually went out and the fight was, unsurprisingly, stopped soon after.
Performances of the Night: Lyoto Machida and Aleksei Oleinik
Lyoto Machida kicked Belfort straight in the mouth then stood, hands on hips, disappointed that it was so easy. The entire first round acted as one long setup to the inevitable KO as Machida threw body kicks and roundhouse kicks to get Belfort reacting just the way he wanted. Shortly into the second, Machida feinted a front leg kick, before launching a straight kick up the middle that would have pushed Belfort’s nose right into his brain if this was Con Air. Machida got a $50,000 bonus for retiring Belfort just the way the Phenom wanted to go out; sniffing feet.
Aleksei Oleinik won, again, by Ezekiel choke. Oleinik is like the first dude to discover how to forge iron in the bronze age. In theory the advantage isn’t that great, but in practice, very few people can figure out how the hell to deal with his crazy Ezekiel choke game. There are three inevitabilities in life: Death, Taxes and Oleinik by Ezekiel choke. Oleinik got an extra 50 Gs for turning a previously unseen submission into a routine occurrence.
Fight of the Night: Kelvin Gastelum and Jacare Souza
Kelvin Gastelum and Jacare Souza put on a razor close mixed martial arts masterclass. Gastelum got the best of things on the feet and showed some incredibly versatile and dextrous takedown defense, but when it hit the ground, Jacare looked infinitely more dangerous. Gastelum managed to survive every time it went to the mat, though, and ultimately, his success on the feet and his ability to outlast Jacare in the cardio department got him the split-decision victory. Both guys walked away $50k richer for their outstanding efforts, though.