What a night of fights in Brazil! In fact, count most of the mixed martial arts (MMA) media who follows the sport (this writer included) as the biggest losers for taking this FOX Sports 1-televised fight card lightly.
UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson 2" was full of finishes from Gioania Arena in Gioania, Brazil, and the result of the main event will be remembered for years to come.
Vitor Belfort found revenge in the sweetest fashion, stopping Dan Henderson with a headkick in the first round (watch full fight video highlights here) -- avenging his 2006 loss to "Hendo." Belfort now has three-consecutive victories in his past three outings, all of them resulting in almost identical fashion.
There were an abundance of great performances, and it is tough to pinpoint which ones were the most impressive and who gained the biggest points from their respective contests.
Nonetheless, in a sport like MMA, each bout can have only one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs, while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows.
Every competitor who steps foot in the eight-walled cage is looking for that moment of glory. Some capture it, others don't.
There were several shining stars on UFC Fight Night 32, including career-defining performances and capitalizing homegrown talent. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from the event in Gioania.
Let's do this:
Biggest Winner -- Vitor Belfort
Duh ... Belfort is obviously your biggest winner.
First off, he won in front of his Brazilian faithful -- his third-straight stoppage victory in his homeland. He was able to avenge is 2006 loss to Dan Henderson when they first met at Pride FC 32. "The Phenom" is also the first fighter to stop "Hendo" by way of strikes, winning "Knockout of the Night" in the process.
Belfort also cemented his spot as the No. 3-ranked Middleweight in the world right now, directly behind Anderson Silva, who will rematch division champion Chris Weidman for the title at UFC 168.
At 36 years old, it is weird to say this, but Belfort has never looked better. Is it because of his controversial TRT usage or is "The Phenom" aging like a fine wine?
Whatever the case may be, he is arguably the most dangerous fighter on the UFC roster as it stands. With a title shot looming, Belfort has only lost twice out of his past 12 bouts ... and those were title fights.
If Belfort can stop using TRT, and find a way to fight elsewhere than the states that do not need his presence, his second 185-pound title shot is in his grasp.
Runner Up -- Rafael Cavalcante
It was tough to choose "Feijao" as the runner up over the rest of the successful main card winners; however, based on Cavalcante's previous track record, he really needed a win inside the Octagon. "Feijao" had won the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight championship over Muhammed Lawal in Summer 2010, but since then he was on a downward spiral that was tough to explain.
He only won once after that, having his title taken away from Dan Henderson and tested positive for banned substances after fighting Mike Kyle in 2012.
He was stopped in his Octagon debut by Thiago Silva in June of this year in Brazil, and with his back against the wall, he got a huge win by stopping Igor Pokrajac, who had not been stopped by strikes since 2010.
Simply put, this win over Pokrajac saved his job and it should commence his escalation in the205-pound division, regaining his form in the process.
Biggest Loser -- Dan Henderson
Hardcore and longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) fanatics let out a deep sigh in unison on last night (Nov. 9, 2013) because it may be the last time Henderson competes in the Octagon.
At 43 years old, the only accolade missing from Henderson's trophy case was a UFC title. And that seems almost impossible to achieve in this moment.
"Hendo" was on the brink of signing a new contract with the promotion; however the brass decided to wait and see what he was capable of. And being the last fight on his current contract, Henderson lost in the worst way possible.
Indeed, Henderson was stopped for the first time in his career via strikes (it took 39 fights for someone to do it), and no matter how some may have perceived the stoppage, "Hendo" was in the biggest trouble we have seen him in on his feet and that resulted in a huge loss for the American. This is also his third-straight Octagon loss, making 2013 the worst year of his career.
Will "Hendo" hang up the gloves or will we see him continue to sail on?
Runner Up -- Paulo Thiago
Unable to string together two-straight victories in the Octagon since his submission win over Mike Swick at UFC 109 in 2010, Paulo Thiago's UFC career may have come to a close in his homeland of Brazil.
As one of the top fighters backed by his countrymen on Saturday night, Thiago fell victim to a brutal knee to the body courtesy of the rising Brandon Thatch, and that is the second time the special forces unit officer was stopped in the first round in his past three losses. Making matters even worse, he tapped out because of strikes in front of his home crowd and had the faithful silenced as he laid on the mat.
Thiago has only two victories in his past seven outings, and those were uneventful decision wins. He may get one more shot, but given the recent roster cuts, Thiago may be forced to leave the Octagon until he records a few wins elsewhere.
For complete UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson" results and extensive fight coverage click here.