Before the UFC on FX 8: "Belfort vs. Rockhold" main card kicked off on FX this evening (Sat., May 18, 2013) from Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil, an entire nine-bout "Prelims" under card was broadcast on Facebook and FUEL TV, respectively.
In the "Prelims" under card headliner on FUEL TV, Nik Lentz did what he does best, outworking Hacran Dias for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory. Lentz's fight style may not be pretty to watch for most, but "The Carny" knows how to neutralize his opponent's offensive game as well as anyone in the sport.
And for all but the third round, he did exactly that to Dias.
The 28-year-old stuck to the Brazilian like a magnet for the first two rounds, which in this instance was enough to snap Dias' nine-fight win-streak for his first defeat since 2009. Lentz has been a force since dropping to the featherweight division in early 2012 and is now undefeated (3-0) in the weight class after the win over Dias. With his style of fighting, Lentz probably isn't going to win any "Fight of the Night" bonuses anytime soon.
However, that matters little now because he is now officially a contender at 145 pounds.
Francisco Trinaldo relied heavily on raw power to earn a second consecutive submission victory inside the Octagon, forcing Mike Rio to tap out from an arm-triangle at the 3:08 mark of the first round. Trinaldo's game plan in the fight was simple: take Rio down, grab a hold of the neck or a limb and squeeze until the referee stopped the fight. It worked perfectly for him, as the Brazilian managed to make Rio give up from the half-guard position -- a difficult and uncommon feat in MMA competition. After making his UFC debut as a middleweight coming off The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil, Trinaldo has worked his way down to 155-pounds where he appears more comfortable competing with each passing fight.
Gleison Tibau is one of the longest tenured lightweight fighters on the UFC roster dating back to 2006, yet he continues to be as successfully as ever, recording his 12th Octagon victory with a second-round submission of John Cholish at UFC on FX 8. Tibau was too big and powerful for the New Yorker to handle as he outmuscled and outworked the physically inferior fighter until Cholish made a mistake and was caught in a fight-ending guillotine choke. While it will be a night of celebration of Tibau, the opposite can be said for Cholish, who before the fight said he was retiring from MMA competition regardless of the outcome of Saturday's fight.
Veteran welterweight Paulo Thiago narrowly avoided a third-straight defeat with a close decision victory over UFC newcomer Michael Richard dos Prezeres. It wasn't exactly the most memorable 15-minute affair, but Thiago did what he had to do to get the much-needed victory while simultaneously handing Prezeres his first defeat in 17 professional fights. Thiago was 1-4 in his past five bouts going into UFC on FX 8, and while certainly didn't look like the killer people pegged him to be after his UFC debut against Josh Koscheck, he got the job done against an hungry UFC debutante who was looking to make his name at Thiago's expense.
The lone bantamweight contest on the UFC on FX 8 fight card saw Yuri Alcantara wipe the floor with late replacement Iliarde Santos for a first-round (technical) knockout victory. It was clear from the outset that Santos -a natural flyweight-- was outmatched both physically and in terms of skills as it took just over two minutes of Alcantara's offensive attacks to end the fight in a violent fashion. A colossal straight right hand by "Marajo" was the beginning of the end of as he quickly swarmed Santos after knocking him down for the dominant finish. It was Alcantara's first knockout victory since Dec. 2010 and the talented Brazilian has now won 14 of his past 16 fights.
Fabio Maldonado opened up the FUEL TV portion of the preliminary card with a classic performance, defeating Canadian Roger Hollett by unanimous decision after three hellacious rounds. In typical fashion, Maldonado started the fight slow (this time with the help of a brutal low blow by Hollett), but got better as the fight wore on and began utilizing his superior boxing ability to work his opponent down with shots to the body and head. Hollett simply could not withstand the punishment of Maldonado's relentless attack and was clearly worn out and defeated by the end of the third stanza. Entering the fight on a three-bout skid, Maldonado desperately needed a victory to avoid a release from the promotion. He managed to do that in successful fashion by getting his hand raised for the first time since Oct. 2010.
The final of three preliminary bouts to be streamed on Facebook featured No. 9 ranked flyweight John Lineker putting a beating on Azamat Gashimov for a second-round (technical) knockout victory and his second-straight UFC win. Lineker was on another level compared to "Tough Guy," as he had his way in the stand-up and on the ground from start to finish. The conclusion of the contest came at the midway point of the second frame when "Hands of Stone" connected with a clean right body kick that hurt Gashimov followed by a big right hook to the midsection. The Russian was unable take further punishment as he collapsed to the ground and shortly thereafter referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight, awarding Lineker with the TKO win.
In a battle of top-10 flyweights, Jussier Formiga did what he does best by absolutely dominating Chris Cariaso on the ground for the majority of three rounds for a unanimous decision victory. Formiga's superior skills on the ground were evident from the outset as he completely mauled "Kamikaze" for the first two frames. In the third round, Cariaso fought with desperation, nearing finishing Formiga with a submission and ground strikes. Unfortunately, though, his efforts were too little to late. After a rough UFC debut where John Dodson knocked him out in highlight reel fashion, Formiga proved why he is ranked as one of the top-five 125-pound fighters in the UFC with the win.
Lucas Martins and Jeremy Larsen opened the UFC on FX 8 fight card on Facebook with a high-paced lightweight battle that saw Martins come out on top by third-round knockout after two rounds of solid action. For a majority of the fight, it felt as though Martins was the superior competitor, but his poor striking defense allowed Larsen to stay in it by landing the overhand right repeatedly. Fortunately for Martins, he has an incredible chin which carried him to the fight-ending sequence where he landed a perfectly placed counter right hand on an incoming Larsen for the knockout victory at the thirteen second mark of round three.
Here are the complete results from the UFC on FX 8 preliminary card:
Hacran Dias vs. Nik Lentz - Lentz via Unanimous Decision (28-27, 29-28 x2)
Mike Rio vs. Francisco Trinaldo -- Trinaldo via Arm Triangle (rd 1, 3:08)
John Cholish vs. Gleison Tibau -- Tibau via Guillotine (rd 2, 2:34)
Michel dos Prazeres vs. Paulo Thiago -- Thiago via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
Yuri Alcantara vs. Iliarde Santos -- Alcantara via TKO (rd 1, 2:31)
Roger Hollett vs. Fabio Maldonado -- Maldonado via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x2, 29-28)
Azamat Gashimov vs. John Lineker -- Lineker via TKO (rd 2, 1:07)
Chris Cariaso vs. Jussier Formiga -- Formiga via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
Jeremy Larsen vs. Lucas Martins -- Martins via KO (rd 3, 0:13)
That's it for the "Prelims" portion of the UFC on FX 8 fight card.
Be sure to hit up MMAmania.com's for up to the minute results and blow-by-blow coverage of the rest of the night's UFC on FX 8 main card action by clicking here.