UFC Fight Night 119: Machida vs. Brunson was everything that it was expected to bem and you can read all the results and details below.
Derek Brunson: Dragon Slayer
The left hand of Derek Brunson silenced the raucous crowd inside Ginasio do Ibirapuera to close out the action in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Saturday night, spoiling Lyoto Machida’s return to action and stamping himself as a fighter to watch in the middleweight division.
After two minutes of feeling each other out and trying to find the elusive former light heavyweight champion, Brunson put a left hand on Machida’s chin that took the Brazilin veteran’s legs out from underneath him. As “The Dragon” tried to recover, Brunson pounced, forcing him to the ground and finishing him with pinpoint coffin nails on the canvas.
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While not the biggest name in the division, Brunson has been a consistent force in the lower half of the top 15 for the last couple years and merits a look against the more established names in the division after this one.
Brunson is 9-3 in the Octagon and his losses have come against Yoel Romero, interim champ Robert Whittaker and a questionable decision opposite former champ Anderson Silva earlier this year. He’s now picked up two straight stoppage wins since that bummer in Brooklyn back in February and a matchup with Luke Rockhold — whom he called out after the bout — makes all kinds of sense.
Colby Covington backs up his Words
Colby Covington backed up his big talk, rebounding from a sluggish first round to leave Demian Maia exhausted and covered in blood at the close of Saturday’s co-main event.
From the time this fight was announced, the brash American Top Team representative talked about retiring the recent title challenger and while Maia isn’t likely to hang up the gloves quite yet, he did land on the wrong side of what turned into a one-sided fight. After starting quick and opening a cut over Covington’s right eye, Maia faded even quicker and that’s when “Chaos” went on the offensive.
I questioned whether Covington had the skills to back up all his talk. He called out Maia, walked into his hometown and put it on him; I tip my cap to him.
Following the bout, Covington went full heel, calling Sao Paulo (and all of Brazil, really) a dump before turning his attention to welterweight champ Tyron Woodley and you know what? I want to see it.
Colby Covington getting pelted with garbage as he runs out of the arena after cutting a heel promo on the whole country of Brazil feels just about right #UFCSaoPaulo
— Patrick Wyman (@Patrick_Wyman) October 29, 2017
I know the UFC has said the winner of the upcoming bout between Robbie Lawler and Raphael dos Anjos gets the next title shot, but maybe Covington can be Plan B in case the victor gets hurt and can’t make the timeline the organization is looking at because Covington is clearly game, Woodley would likely be down to shut him up and that fight would have a ton of heat.
I hate myself for advocating for it, but you’ve got to go with the times and right now, grudge matches and rivalries are where it’s at in the UFC.
Odds, ends and observations
– Now that he’s rattled off four straight wins and developed a signature finishing move (a nasty guillotine choke), can we please get Pedro Munhoz in the bantamweight top 10 and match him up with an elite opponent again? Now training out of American Top Team, the 31-year-old has only lost twice in his career, both times to top 5 competitors, but he’s looked terrific lately and deserves another chance to break into the upper echelon.
– The UFC needs to follow the Francisco Trinaldo Blueprint a little more frequently. “Massaranduba” has 16 UFC appearances and 13 of them have come in his native Brazil, where he’s a massive star. It’s harder to do with so many fights taking place in Las Vegas and various other U.S. outposts, but having local competitors on the card and building regional stars is how you start elevating talent to new levels of popularity.
– Thiago Santos remains a terrifying specimen on the fringes of contention in the middleweight division. The former paratrooper picked up his third consecutive stoppage victory on Saturday night, drowning Jack Hermansson under a swarm of powerful shots just before the horn at the end of the first round. He lost his last fight with a top-10 talent, but the time has come to try again.
– Welcome back, John Lineker — I’ve missed your vicious body shots you tiny Brazilian wolverine.
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– Outstanding performance from Vicente Luque, who stepped up on short notice and scored a second-round submission win over the previously unbeaten Niko Price. After having his four-fight winning streak snapped in March, this is a great bounce-back win for the 25-year-old, who has collected a finish in all five of his UFC wins thus far.
– Antonio Carlos Junior has proven that he’s too good for the middle class of the middleweight division. The Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion ran his winning streak to four with a first-round submission win over Jack Marshman and is in dire need of a step up in competition next time out. My pick: Tim Boetsch, a quality veteran with the size and strength to matchup well with “Shoeface.”
– Jared Gordon spoiled Hacran Dias’ debut at lightweight, suffocating the hometown favorite to collect a unanimous decision victory. Unfortunately, this fight will be remembered for horrible officiating by referee Fernando Portella, who refused to stop the bout during a lopsided second frame and thought about waving it off in the third, only to change his mind after making contact with Gordon.
– Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Max Griffin delivered a slobberknocker to kick off the televised prelims, with the Brazilian picking up a unanimous decision win. The fact that it went the distance is a testament to Griffin’s force of will (and bad refereeing and cornering) because he was on roller skates for the final 90 seconds of the opening round, yet managed to win the second and stay in it until the final horn.
– Deivison Figuieredo and Jarred Brooks are both solid additions to the flyweight division and guys who could develop into Top 10 stalwarts in the future. The former won the battle of unbeaten fighters on Saturday night, edging the latter on the cards in an entertaining scrap.
– Marcelo Golm kicked off the action in Sao Paulo with the kind of performance you would expect from an unbeaten hometown newcomer squaring off with a 37-year-old who looks like a science teacher with tattoos. The local favorite mauled Christian Columbo in just over two minutes, forcing him to tap to a rear-naked choke to secure a victory in his promotional debut.
Facts and figures
Attendance: 10,265 (sold out)
Gate: Not Reported
Fight of the Night: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Max Griffin
Performance Bonuses: Derek Brunson, Pedro Munhoz