Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Brazil with UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson 2" in Goiania, Brazil, Goiania Arena last night (Sat., Nov. 9, 2013). The mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined by Vitor Belfort facing Dan Henderson in the Light Heavyweight division.
As far as shows go, last night was one of the most enjoyable cards I can remember. This has definitely been a super fun year to be a fan.
Belfort ended up picking up his third straight head kick knockout, becoming the first man to finish Henderson via strikes in his illustrious, and extensive, professional combat sports career.
That's crazy. And there's a ton to talk about so let's just get right to it.
So, About last night ...
So you can teach a "young Dinosaur" new tricks ...
Vitor Belfort's head kick knockout of Henderson was impressive (highlights here). And contrary to popular belief, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) did not land that kick for "The Phenom." That's not to say that TRT had nothing to do with Belfort's ability to drill it in the gym, but last night, TRT didn't throw the kick.
However, that being said, Belfort sure is looking a lot like the 19-year-old Belfort who made his UFC debut with beastly wins. I mean that in the physical sense. He looks exactly like he did at 19 years old. That's insane.
And while I do doubt that TRT is what is causing him to land absurd kicks, I'm sure that it's at least partially responsible for Belfort's new found confidence. He's feeling young again and there's no question that it's giving him a mental edge when he enters the Octagon.
"Dangerous" Dan no more ...
Henderson is an interesting case in this sport. Like Belfort, he's gone through his own changes. At one point during the "prime" of his career in Pride FC, he was known as "Decision" Dan because he'd stifle opponents with his wrestling game to win both unanimous and split decisions.
Then he started knocking out dudes and suddenly he was "Dangerous" Dan.
However, now that he's on his three-fight losing streak, a first for Henderson in his MMA career, he's starting to look his age. He's 43 and moving like a 43-year-old. He can say he's never felt better, but he's a wrestler who has abandoned his wrestling and whose only path to victory is a right hand.
Submitting to strikes is the new black
Don't worry, I'll offer more opinion on these two fighters in the "additional thoughts" section, but I had to talk about Brandon Thatch (highlights here) and Rafael Cavalcante (highlights here) both finishing their opponents with knees and punches.
However, their opponents weren't knocked out. Instead they tapped out.
Thatch made Paulo Thiago, a BOPE officer (Brazil's version of SWAT), tap immediately from a knee to the liver. To say that was unexpected would be an understatement. Thatch is definitely for real. And "Feijao" clobbering of Igor Pokrajac was just as impressive.
I hope that this becomes a "thing" in MMA. That would be most awesome.
Jeremy Stephens was robbed of "Knockout of the Night" ...
Stephens may be one of the scariest little guys currently under contract with UFC. His knockout power has actually improved with the cut down to Featherweight and if he can start showing that he's well-rounded, we could have another player in the featherweight division.
That head kick put "Jason" to sleep and that follow up punch was totally unnecessary. But, I'll be damned if I was not impressed by the absolute viciousness of "Lil Heathen."
- I know that I said that TRT had nothing to do with Belfort's knockout but that's not entirely true. Yeah I know, I'm funny like that. Without TRT, Belfort wouldn't be going through this career resurgence. And without TRT, Belfort never comes close to sniffing another middleweight title shot.
- Man that Brazilian crowd did not like Cezare Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian, huh? I mean I didn't either, but they also didn't like it. That fight nearly sucked all the excitement out of the arena. Actually it did. So thank you TRT for saving the day.
- Thiago Tavares sure still looks jacked. He tested positive for drostanalone in his last fight and looks to still have the same muscle mass. Don't take this as an accusation. Just that I'm just saying stuff.
- So those guys from Dagestan sure can fight huh?
- My major beef of the night was that the Jon Anik tip-toed around Tavares' steroid suspension. I know that it wasn't his decision to totally ignore what kept Tavares on the sidelines for nine months, but it just comes off janky. And saying "due to circumstance" was awful.
- Hands down one of my favorite events. Just super fun. And I love fun fights.
For complete UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson" results and fight coverage click here.