Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was home to a mixed bag of fights, with six (T)KOs, four submissions, and four decisions, including one split-decision and a majority draw.
Tonight saw a huge 14 fight card, and a late start, but thanks to a series of finishes on the main card things still ended by 1am Eastern. The fights took place in the shadow of Conor McGregor’s press conference and Jon Jones’ USADA announcement, and the card was lacklustre on paper. For the few who did tune in, though, the card had some pretty damn entertaining fights.
Fight of the Night: Thiago Santos vs. Eryk Anders
Thiago Santos and Eryk Anders put on a violent brawl of epic proportions. I’m not entirely sure how it lasted 15 full minutes, but a lot of the credit has to go to Eryk Anders for sheer toughness. He was outgunned throughout the fight, but kept firing back and pushing forward. Both men traded brief takedowns, using them not for position or to finesse a submission attempt, but simply to enlist gravity’s help with their bludgeoning.
The fight ended in a most fitting manner: Anders, having survived a huge barrage of shots from Santos, losing his mouthpiece, and then having it put back in to protect his teeth as he ate even more shots, somehow made it to the bell. Then, having accomplished his goal, he fell to the mat, completely spent. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t pick Anders back up again, and referee Marc Goddard called the fight then and there. Santos got a $50,000 bonus for putting on a clinic of violence, and Anders got his own 50 Gs for having the heart of a lion.
Performance of the Night: Charles Oliveira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Charles Oliveira and Christos Giagos immediately got down to business in Sao Paulo with “Do Bronx” looking to close the distance and Giagos putting up a road block right hand to slow him down. The two stayed locked up against the fence for a couple minutes before Oliveira threw a jumping knee and got slammed with another right from Giagos. With just a minute left of R1, Oliveira finally secured a takedown and then full mount, but Giagos escaped. The round closed with Oliveira bleeding from the nose after having a second takedown attempt stuffed.
The second round saw Oliveira land not one, but two spinning backfists. Giagos ate them like candy, though. Charles became increasingly aggressive, pressuring with a barrage of front kicks and spinning kicks. Oliveira scores the takedown, then took Giagos’ back. Christos tried to stand, and Charles locked in the body triangle while tightening a nasty rear-naked choke. Oliveira gets the win and $50K for snatching the breath out of Giagos like a cat in a crib.
Smilen’ Sam Alvey came into his fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira with bad intentions, landing a left early on that didn’t seem to even register with “Little Nog.” Nog immediately started pressing him to the fence, and somewhere along the way, managed to accidentally poke Alvey in the eye. Alvey said he was okay and the two get back to throwing punches that aren’t doing much. With just a minute on the clock, Smilen’ Sam landed a big left to Nog’s cheek, but let him escape more punishment. As the last seconds of the round ticked away, he managed to land another left on the Brazilian.
Round 2 opened with Nogueira looking to put an end to Alvey. Sam tried to clinch, but Nog breaks it up easily and then comes over the top with a left that carried the force of a 747 behind it. Alvey goes down, stanky style and the younger Nogueira was all over him. Marc Goddard stepped in and called the fight. Little Nog gets the win and $50,000 for showing us that Pride was still alive, at least tonight.