It was a matchup that was a long time coming, as Ferreira and Sarafian were originally slated to face each other in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 1. Sarafian was unfortunately forced out of the bout with an injury, leaving the door open for Ferreira to lock up the contract win.
When the dust settled on the long-awaited matchup, Ferreira stood with his hand raised. It was a workmanlike victory that wasn't always easy for "Mutante." Let's take a look back at his hard-fought win from Goiania.
Sarafian came out aggressive, stalking Ferreira up against the cage. A lull in action earned a restart, after which Sarafian came out swinging to land a good combination. Sarafian went for a guillotine choke that Ferreira avoided. Sarafian let his hands fly, but "Mutante" ended the round strong with a headkick.
In the second, Ferreira rushed in for a good power double leg and landed some light shots from inside Sarafian's guard. Sarafian got back to his feet and landed a huge right hand that wobbled "Mutante." Ferreira responded by scoring another big takedown to neutralize Sarafian's striking. Ferreira was looking for an arm triangle, but the fight was surprisingly stood back up.
The last round saw Sarafian unload more combinations on Ferreira, who wanted no part of the striking game. Ferreira took the fight down to the ground once again to smother Sarafian. The fight was stood back up but Ferreira knew where his advantage was. He slammed Sarafian to the canvas one more time, taking his back. "Mutante" looked for a rear naked choke but Sarafian was well aware.
In the end, Ferreira took home the split decision victory on the strength of his takedowns. Training with his mentor Vitor Belfort at Florida's Jaco Hybrid Training Center, Ferreira appears to have taken his wrestling game to new heights thanks to the tutelage of Blackzilians wrestling coach Kenny Monday.
That's a scary prospect for the rest of the UFC Middleweight division.
"Mutante" is a huge 185-pound fighter with proven knockout power and submission skills. Now he has the takedown game to match. It looked like his striking defense could use an upgrade and he'll definitely be focusing on that for his next fight.
It'll be interesting to see just who UFC matches Ferreira up with next. A fighter like C.B. Dollaway, who just lost a controversial decision to Tim Boetsch at UFC 166, would provide an excellent test for just how far "Mutante's" development has progressed.
For Sarafian, the loss is going to sting. He had a golden opportunity to prove that he was the rightful owner of the TUF: Brazil 1 crown; instead he fell just short. It was a close fight, one that arguably could have gone his way. But the fact is he'll need better takedown defense if he wants to climb up the rankings.
Sarafian touched on this during the UFC Fight Night 32 post-fight press conference, noting that he wants to actually move forward with his own takedown attempts as a form of wrestling defense. That's probably a good idea for him.
He's also had an effective submission game and his strikes are coming along nicely, so adding a new element to his game will go a long way towards making him a complete fighter. He'll most likely face off with a mid-level Middleweight to gauge if he's ready for another stiff test or not.
Vitor Belfort protégé Cezar Ferreira showed great takedowns to neutralize Daniel Sarafian's power strikes at UFC Fight Night 32. He may have earned some boos from the fans, but he got the job done. What did you think of his performance?
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