The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held an event for the first time this year for as UFC on FX 7: ‘Belfort vs. Bisping' went down last night (Jan. 19, 2013) in Brazil's most populated city - Sao Paulo.
Seven of the 11 bouts on the card ended inside the distance while the co-main and main event ended in a split decision and a knockout, respectably.
The grudge between middleweight contenders Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping was settled in decisive fashion as Belfort took out his British counterpart in front of his home country via second-round technical knockout.
In a sport like mixed martial arts (MMA), each bout can only have one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows.
Every competitor who steps foot in the cage is looking for that moment of glory. Some capture it, others don't.
There were several shining stars on the UFC on FX 7 fight card as well as an equal amount of disappointments. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser from the event in Sao Paulo.
The biggest winner of the night was Vitor Belfort. "The Phenom" played spoiler by derailing Michael Bisping's title hopes in the UFC on FX 7 main event, scoring a devastating second-round head kick technical knockout. Belfort had a brilliant strategy of kicking to the body early and then mixing it up with shots to the head, one of which ended Bisping's night early. Belfort called out UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the cage after his victory, but considering he is a middleweight, a second fight with Anderson Silva seems much more likely at this point. Either way, Belfort showed he still has it at 35 years of age and it will be interesting to see what the future has in store for the 17-year MMA veteran.
Gabriel Gonzaga is suddenly back on the map in the UFC heavyweight division after a second-round submission of the extremely durable Ben Rothwell in the lone heavyweight fight in Sao Paulo. It was only a mere 18 months ago that Gonzaga was retired from the sport, but now he has reemerged with his first three-fight win-streak in over five years. "Napao" may not ever fight back to a top contender's spot he held back in 2009, but he certainly proved he is still a formidable heavyweight and has some gas left in the tank.
Khabib Nurmagomedov scored a first-round knockout of Thiago Tavares in the opening fight of the UFC on FX 7 main card, extending his MMA win-streak to 19 in a row, the best for any current UFC fighter. Nurmagomedov dropped Tavares early in the first round with a left uppercut and following up with a relentless onslaught of punches and elbows that put Tavares to sleep at the 1:55 mark of the opening round. The _-year-old Russian is one to keep an eye on in the lightweight division going forward.
Nik Lentz may not have had the most exciting performance on the card, but his win over Diego Nunes was certainly one of the most significant of any of the 11 winners. After a run at lightweight that ended with a three-fight winless streak, "The Carny" has reinvigorated his career by dropping to the featherweight divison, where he has gone 2-0. A win over Nunes is a big deal, and it would be hard to argue Lentz doesn't deserve a place in the top-10 of his weight class after picking up the most notable win of his career.
The biggest loser of the night was Michael Bisping. Once again, "The Count" failed to solidify a UFC title shot as the British bad boy was knocked out by a head kick from Vitor Belfort. If you include Bisping's defeats to Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen, this is the fourth time The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 winner has failed to deliver in a significant bout. Bisping was gracious in defeat, but where he goes from here is anyone's guess. The 33-year-old announced in his post-fight interview with Jon Anik that he "isn't going anywhere," however any hopes of a title shot in the foreseeable future look grim.
The referees and judges at UFC on FX 7 made a fool of everyone last night. From the questionable judging in Godofredo Castro vs. Milton Vieira and C.B. Dollaway vs. Daniel Sarafian to Dan Miragliotta's horrendous "No Contest" ruling in the Yuri Alcantara vs. Pedro Nobre fight and the late stoppage in Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Thiago Tavares, there were some very, very bad calls at UFC on FX 7. Not only did the officiating disappoint the fans, but UFC President Dana White lashed out as well.
Wager Prado's performance was certainly a letdown. After two tough fights against Phil Davis, many were hoping to se Prado showcase his talents against a lower caliber opponent in Ildemar Alcantara, who took the fight on short notice. What we got instead was an underwhelming effort from "Caldeirao" that climaxed in a submission defeat by way of kneebar. Once Alcantara got a hold of the leg, Prado's defense was futile and he simply tried to kick away the arms of his opponent instead of rolling or trying to slide his leg out. After this latest defeat, Prado's future in the UFC is very much in jeopardy.
Yuri Alcantara falls into the losers column, but for no reason other than the fact he was utterly robbed of a win by referee Dan Miragliotta. Alcantara made easy work of Pedro Nobre in their bantamweight bout, nearly scoring multiple submissions, securing the back position and landing strikes for what appeared to be a TKO. But when the referee stopped the fight, it wasn't for a TKO, it was for alleged strikes to the back of the head, which after viewing the replay, appeared to be the incorrect call. After Miragliotta stopped the fight, Nobre was unable to continue, robbing Alcantara of his win bonus. Unfortunate situation.
Who was your biggest winner and loser from UFC on FX 7? Let us know in the comments in the comment section below.