Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to FOX Sports 1 last night (Sept. 4, 2013) with UFC Fight Night 28: "Teixeira vs. Bader" from Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It was the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's third show in eight days, as well as the third on the new sports network.
As far as FOX Sports 1 events go, this was likely the weakest from a name value perspective. Because of UFC's television deal with Globo, its needs to fill Brazilian cards with recognizable Brazilian fighters. So while American fans are often left saying "who?" these guys have been making a name for themselves on the regional South American circuit.
And while the night started off slow with several boring fights, it ended with fireworks. Indeed, the top three bouts on the main card ended in stunning fashion, with all three victors finding a way to finish their opponents in the first round.
So, about last night ...
This is the guy to beat Jon Jones?
Glover Teixeira earned a shot at the winner of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, who will collide in the main event of UFC 165 later this month. But, Teixeira had a lot of difficulty dealing with Ryan Bader. Don't get me wrong, it was an impressive knockout (watch video highlights here). But, Teixeira very well could have been the man waking up to cage-side doctors asking, "do you know where you are?"
He was out on his feet, and it was very much Bader's poor fight IQ that led directly to the knockout.
Teixeira may very well be one of the more dangerous Light Heavyweight fighters because of his punching power and grappling credentials, but to think he has any shot against Jones is laughable.
It's just a case of a fighter being on a whole 'nother level.
That's going to sting for a bit ...
On the flip side, this loss is probably going to stay with Bader. He's on his way back to Arizona, knowing that the fight was his for the winning and he dropped the ball. He had the opportunity to play spoiler and lost because he opted to spam overhand rights instead of throw straight punches.
This is starting to become a theme in Bader fights. He's got a knack for finding a way to lose matches when he's on the verge of victory. Between this and the loss to Tito Ortiz, it may be time for him to step away for a bit and work on his head rather than stand up.
The scariest guy under 5'4"
Joseph Benavidez is in a weird spot in his career. He's clearly one of the best Flyweight fighters in the world, but he recognizes that if he comes up short again against Demetrious Johnson, he'll likely never earn another title shot until that belt changes hands. That's the reason after absolutely destroying Jussier da Silva, he wasn't taking the bait to call for a rematch.
There's a crocodile in the mix!
Were you aware that Ronaldo Souza has world class grappling? You'd never have guessed after he put on an absolute striking clinic on Yushin Okami. That knockout was sick (watch video highlights here) and definitely should put the Middleweight division on notice. There's a new apex predator in town.
Tor Troeng shines in defeat
There are times when a fighter advances their career upward in a loss. Tor Troeng's performance against Rafael Natal was one of those times. He didn't have the Brazilian fighter in trouble, but he made the "Fight of the Night" exciting by escaping some really bad situations. Expect him to receive a favorable match up in his next fight.
- Really didn't enjoy the "Prelims" under card. Just a case of maybe guys who aren't ready for the big show getting UFC fights because they're local. There were some decent prospects or guys to watch, but when it's my job to know who these guys are and I'm totally lost, it's not a good look.
- Really concerning that Yuri Villefort was so gassed out. He's got the skill set to do well, but his conditioning last night was abysmal. There was no reason to lose to Sean Spencer, especially when those leg kicks did so much damage.
- Man, that fight between Keith Wisniewski and Ivan Jorge was a real stinker. Soa Palelei and Nikita Krylov have to be wondering why people were so critical of them right now cause at least they had some action.
- As far as the production goes, I'm really digging what FOX Sports 1 brings to the table. It's a legitimately noticeable difference and makes it a very enjoyable experience.
- This was also the UFC's third show in eight days. I know people love free fights, but when we're still reacting to a card, it's difficult to get up mentally for such a quick turnaround. Just based on general Twitter reactions, there didn't seem to be much interest in last night. Maybe it's because of the lack of familiarity with many of the fighters?