A whopping five fights from the UFC 134 undercard were streamed for free on Facebook to MMA fans around the world today (August 27, 2011).
Paulo Thiago, a member of the elite special police force in Brazil, took on American submission specialist David Mitchell in the final bout of the Facebook preliminaries. Mitchell was a game opponent but Thiago repeatedly took him down into side control.
Thiago was repeatedly forced to return to his feet after being unsuccessful with submission attempts and guard passes on the ground but once there, he also found a home for a big looping overhand right as well.
Despite having a history of stamina issues, Thiago fed off the crowd, which reached a frenzied pitch in the third and final round as he pressed the action, not afraid to eat a jab to get inside and he finished strong, taking Mitchell down at the end of the round and nearly choking him out at the final horn as the home crowd roared in approval.
The tough Brazilian had to be content with a unanimous decision victory, something most of the other Facebook fights had in common as well.
Former top featherweight contender Rafael Assunção made the drop to bantamweight for the first time to square off against fellow countryman and Brazilian Muay Thai champion, Johnny Eduardo. Assunção wisely choose not to stand and bang with the dangerous striker, instead utilizing his wrestling, clinch attempts and takedowns to frustrate his opponent over the course of three rounds.
Assunção also mixed in some improved striking, continuously landing a nice 1-2 punch combination and connected with a solid right hand. When it was all said and done, he was awarded a unanimous decision over Eduardo 30-27 across the boards.
Top welterweight prospect Erick Silva proved the hype was real in a battle against veteran Luis Ramos. After a 30 second feeling out process, Silva exploded forward with a massive right hand that dropped Ramos. He quickly pounced his stunned foe and finished him off with ground and pound to earn a technical knockout victory in 40 seconds. The crowd exploded after the finish, cheering on Silva as he did a backflip in celebration. Watch out for this guy.
In a battle of Brazilians, top prospect Yuri Alcantara repeatedly used takedowns and guard passes to thwart opponent Felipe Arantes over the course of three rounds to steal a unanimous decision. Alcantara opened up a nice cut between Arantes' eyes with elbows from top position and, other than a brief three minute stint in the final round, was able to dominate the fight. Referee Mario Yamasaki was criticized by many on press row for his four stand-ups during the bout which may have cost Arantes a chance to win the final round.
Opening the night was a bantamweight contest between Canadian Yves Jabouin and Team Quest's Ian Loveland. Loveland got off to a strong start with a quick pace and a takedown after catching a kick, but "Tiger" closed the round strong with a big punch that rocked the American and he didn't let up for the rest of the fight. The bout was closely contested but Jabouin did enough with his diverse array of strikes throughout the final two rounds to win the fight on two judges' scorecards and take home a split decision.
Which performance stood out most for you, Maniacs?