Who'd have thought that in the battle of "Brazil vs. The World" last night (August 27, 2011) in Rio de Janeiro, it would be the undersized Stanislav Nedkov who would score the only victory for the foreign invaders?
The undefeated Nedkov took on former top prospect Luiz Cane in a light heavyweight showdown in the opening bout of the UFC 134 main card and he stayed undefeated after scoring a late first round technical knockout victory.
Cane had seemed to have the fight firmly under control before he let it slip through his fingers.
So what was his fatal flaw?
Cane had a firm grasp on the fight from the beginning, carefully gauging the distance and attacking with his big left hand.
The problem with that plan of attack?
Nedkov was repeatedly throwing a slow, looping overhand right. Literally that was his only attack. He'd occasionally lunge forward with it and try to connect with the exposed left side of the Brazilian's head.
So why was Cane loading up with his left hand and not protecting his head with it? Unforgivable.
"Banha" fended off a pair of takedown attempts from the former Bulgarian national champion wrestler and he bloodied up Nedkov's nose with repeated blows to the face. He even had Nedkov hurt, landing a combination on the awkward wrestler while he was pinned against the fence.
Inexplicably, though, he decided to let Nedkov off the hook. it was another horrible decision that would come back to bite him moments later.
With one minute left in the round, Nedkov landed that big overhand right and actually followed it up with a looping left hook. Both punches connected and Cane tried to run away to clear the cobwebs but it was too late. Cane turned his back and ran out of running room against the fence as the Bulgarian swarmed him with huge hooks against the cage. "Banha" collapsed and after some unanswered right hands, the referee stopped the fight, awarding the comeback victory to Nedkov to keep him undefeated.
For Luiz Cane, what more can be said about his performance that hasn't already been said about Chernobyl? His gameplan of loading up with his left hand and leaving the entire left side of his head exposed to Nedkov's overhand right was completely inexcusable. He also does not respond very well to being hit at all. Perhaps the pressure of fighting in front of such a rambunctious crowd in his home country got to him. He might have to take some time to think about it in another promotion.
If the UFC decides to keep him around, there aren't many compelling fights right now. Perhaps a match with Igor Pokrajac or Karlos Vemola would make sense or they could pit him against a UFC newcomer. Regardless, at 30 years old, the days of Luiz Cane being a "can't-miss prospect" are definitely done.
For Stanislav Nedkov, this wasn't exactly a terrific showing either. His defense was not very good, his striking was very sloppy and his wrestling was practically non-existent. He still has a long ways to go in his development and hopefully the UFC sees that and doesn't throw him to the sharks in his next fight. Perhaps a fight with the winner of Brandon Vera vs. Eliot Marshall or the winner of Fabio Maldonado vs. Aaron Rosa would work. Honestly though, from looking at the size disadvantage he had in his last bout, a drop to middleweight would suit him best.
Did the outcome of this bout surprise you, Maniacs? Do you see either of these two fighters accomplishing anything significant in the UFC?