UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson 2" took place at Gioania Arena in Gioania, Brazil, last night (Sat., Nov. 9, 2013) on FOX Sports 1. And although it seemed like a weak card at first, it was one of the most action-packed and stoppage-heavy mixed martial arts (MMA) events of the year.
The main event featured a rematch between two legends, with Vitor Belfort decimating Dan Henderson in little more than one minute, finishing him with a head kick en route to another "Knockout of the Night" bonus. It was Belfort's third-straight victory in Brazil, and it is the third time he has stopped an opponent with a kick to the head (even though unnecessary punches ensued).
Before all the MMA action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip to Gioania in front of a vibrant Brazilian crowd. Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But, as we've done before, let us look at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage on Saturday night.
"He's more dangerous than he used to be, but I am too. I feel I have more tools I can utilize and that makes it tougher on him. I never touched steroids. But I still have low testosterone. I am on TRT so I can't really point fingers too bad, other than the fact that I've never taken steroids and he has. With that being said, I don't really care what he's on or not on -- I'm going to beat him up no matter what. Just like the last time I fought him."
-- It is true that Henderson may have been the more well-rounded fighter heading into this bout; however, Belfort proved that he simply needed his standup skills to avenge his PRIDE FC 32 loss seven years ago. "Hendo" did not even throw one significant punch in the fight, being dropped twice and stopped in less than 90 second. This may be the end of the road for "Hendo," who satisfied the last fight on his contract with the promotion. As for the TRT aspect, it is hard to criticize Belfort when Henderson used it for this fight, too.
"I believe in everyday is a winning day. That's what I live for. I think it's going to be a great fight. He comes forward, he likes to fight, he likes to scramble. So, you just got to keep alert and just do my thing, do my best. That's all I want to live is my best in the Octagon and that's what I can promise you guys. I'm going to do my best and the result is in God's hands."
-- If that knockout was God's doing, then the Lord is a very scary thing. Belfort was wary of Henderson's abilities and he gave absolutely no chance for "Hendo" to make this a competitive fight, dropping him with his fists and swarming him from that moment forward. Belfort has never looked better and should be anticipating a title fight sometime soon, or at least a title eliminator fight.
"The crowd will be on my side again. It's also good to fight at home here in Brazil so that we don't have to fly so far or fight in different weather and a different time zone. All of that makes a difference. I've been making sure I'm very well prepared to face Brandon Thatch. Brandon is a striker, very explosive, who's used to winning in the first round. I studied him well, and I expect to impose my game and get the victory."
-- Paulo Thiago could have watched all the tape in the world yet it did not stop him from feeling the wrath of welterweight prospect Thatch, who delivered a crushing knee to Thiago's body and had the Brazilian tapping because of strikes (watch video highlights here). A heavily inconsistent Thiago is now 5-6 in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and faces the possible axe after winning just two fights out of seven.
"For me, a champion is built by his ability to overcome challenges. I believe that my career is on a rise. I work through objectives. My goal is to become top 10 in my division. I'm going in there and I am going to win this fight. I will put on a great show. I've worked hard for this and I will make you all very proud."
-- Cezar Ferreira earned a close, split decision win over Daniel Sarafian in what was supposed to be The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" Middleweight tournament final. "Mutante" may have picked up the victory, though this fight was the least eventful one on the main card. And he received plenty of boos from the home crowd for his grappling and takedowns, which ultimately won him the fights since he faced problems on the feet with Sarafian.
"I feel good and I feel more complete so I get in there feeling good to fight. I am fighting now in Gioania. I was going to fight in Barueri but I injured my back. I am very happy because they kept my opponent, who was already in the UFC when I started fighting. He's a tough and experienced fighter and I'm honored to share the Octagon with him."
-- Seeing Rony Jason praise Jeremy Stephens makes it even harder to watch the Brazilian get knocked out cold, as he dove into a kick thrown from Stephens and was out like a light (see the video highlights here). It should not prove too costly for Jason, who loses his first fight since winning TUF: "Brazil" Featherweight tournament; however, you have to feel for the young fighter who lost terribly in front of his Brazilian faithful.
For complete UFC Fight Night 32 results, including play-by-play coverage, click here.