The co-main event of tonight's (Sat., Feb. 15, 2014) UFC Fight Night 36: "Machida vs. Mousasi" event from Arena Jaragua in Brazil, broadcast live on Fox Sports 1, featured former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza taking on Francis Carmont in a bout with plenty of divisional relevance at 185-pounds.
After all, the number three (Souza) and number eight (Carmont) ranked middleweights were going at it.
"Jacare" was on his game early, scoring points with a sweet spinning high kick before knocking Carmont down with a punch and taking his back not long after. A body triangle soon followed and the Brazilian was suddenly dominating the bout within the first half of the opening round.
A rear-naked choke attempt that was fully locked under Carmont's chin appeared close to finishing the contest but the Frenchman somehow managed to survive and even reversed position before the round was out.
Didn't want to lose that 11-fight win streak.
That's likely why he was a bit more aggressive in the second, finding more success standing and striking. It was a bit of a cat-and-mouse game, however, and while his jab was finding a home, the big punches weren't landing with any effectiveness.
Solid defense from Souza more than anything. Much better round for Carmont, though.
Still, his corner, led by former Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, were screaming at him to engage and put together the performance of a lifetime in the final five minutes of the fight.
Not even close.
Actually, he was dominated in the same way he was in the first frame. Souza got him down, took his back, maintained superior position, and attempted multiple submissions. He controlled Carmont completely, totally neutralizing whatever offense St. Pierre had been hoping he would deliver.
"Jacare" once again came close to finishing the fight with a rear-naked choke but Carmont once again survived. It didn't matter in the end, not really, because the Brazilian was awarded the unanimous decision once the final horn sounded.
Judges scores: 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.
For complete UFC Fight Night 36 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.