Photo by Martin McNeil
"Napao" and "Big" collided TONIGHT (Jan. 19, 2013) at the Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in a heavyweight showdown that pitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu vs. striking. And the former reigned supreme in the birthplace of the martial art.
Ben Rothwell and Gabriel Gonzaga were the only two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight fighters to make the trip to the Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, TONIGHT (Jan. 19, 2013) to compete on the UFC on FX 7 main card.
The new and improved Rothwell was eager to build off his most recent knockout victory over Brendan Schaub and string together back-to-back wins for first time ever inside Octagon, while Gonzaga was out to make it three straight wins (two inside the Octagon) since emerging from self-imposed retirement back in 2011.
It was a battle for position in the early going, with Rothwell wanting to keep the fight upright and "Napao" preferring to go horizontal (imagine that!) and leverage his top-shelf Brazilian jiu-jitsu. "Big" was able to defend the early takedown attempts, however, so Gonzaga traded for a bit, wobbling Rothwell slightly with a straight right, before going back for another leg.
Rothwell defended nicely and the pair exchanged punches again, which was a pattern that seemed destined to repeat for the remainder of the fight.
Think again ...
Gonzaga appeared tired to start the second stanza and Rothwell came out slinging again. Gonzaga responded in kind and landed a nice straight right, which he followed with a takedown attempt. Rothwell overreacted on the sprawl and Gonzaga latched onto his neck with standing guillotine choke.
It was all academic from there, with Gonzaga sitting down to tighten the choke and forcing Rothwell to tap rather than take an early nap.
That's now two straight submission victories for Gonzaga, which is hopefully a sign that he will finally play to his strengths moving forward rather than thinking he is a K-1 champion.
The results speak for themselves.
For complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of UFC on FX 7: "Belfort vs. Bisping" click here.