Believe it or not, both men had faced each other previously, in jiu jitsu competition, that is. Back then it was Zeferino who came out on top.
He couldn't repeat history last night, however.
Zeferino wisely tried to get the fight to the canvas in the first round but instead of holding a significant edge there, both fighters became locked in a stalemate, each working for respective leg locks while battling in 50/50 guard against each other.
When it became evident that neither man was going to have an advantage front the position, the crowd began to turn on both men, only cheering when the fight was stood up by the referee.
While Natal expected to have an advantage on the feet, he did nothing if anything to exploit it, instead settling for inactivity while looking for perfect openings that never seemed to present themselves to him.
Surprisingly, Natal's biggest weapon was his ground game, his wrestling in particular as the veteran managed to score takedowns near the end of both the second and tgurd rounds to secure his position on the judges' scorecards.
In the end, Natal did just enough to win over the judges and he was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
For Joao Zeferino, whether it was Octagon jitters or whatever, he definitely slowest down after a pretty active first frame. He could have done so much more with the feeble amount of activity Natal was showing in rounds two and three but gett couldn't capitalize on the opportunities whether it was a mental block, an adrenaline dump or what have you.
Zeferino will get another shot, but he'll likely be fighting for his UFC career next time around. Don't be surprised to see him matched up against a TUF 17 fighter like Uriah Hall or something similar.
For Rafael Natal, he could have done so much more but he still was able to secure a victory. I guess you could say he 'Sapo'd' the energy out of the building with his performance. while he was able to score a victory against a UFC neophyte, he'd better step his game up against upcoming stiffer opposition or he's going to receive one hell of a painful wake up call.