Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made the trek south of the equator to Porto Alegre, Brazil for the first time in 2015. A match up of struggling heavyweight competitors headlined this Sunday night's (Feb. 22, 2015) free "Sunday Funday" action on FOX Sports 1 and Fight Pass live from Gigantinho Gymnasium.
The under card was kicked off by a pair of competitive tilts before the finishes began pouring in. After a 2-0 start on the evening, the Brazilian crowd was silenced after Mike de la Torre and Matt Dwyer walked away with first-round knockouts.
In the "Prelims" main event, a gutsy, first-round submission victory was turned in by rising women's bantamweight competitor Marion Reneau. The American survived a knockdown from Brazilian Jessica Andrade to sink in a triangle choke.
Check out the UFC Fight Night 61 "Prelims" recap below:
Up-and-coming female bantamweight Marion Reneau earned her second-straight victory with an impressive first-round submission victory over the Brazilian Jessica Andrade.
Andrade opened up the preliminary card main event with a flurry of punches, eventually knocking the 37-year-old Reneau down. However, the Elite Team member kept her wits about her and locked in a tight triangle choke for the quick victory.
Canadian striker Matt Dwyer proved to tall and powerful for the equally dangerous 23-year-old Brazilian William Macario.
It was all Dwyer from the opening bell as the British Columbia native practically went untouched. The 25-year-old found the mark early with leg kicks and a couple of overhand rights. Eventually the 6-foot-4 Dwyer put Macario to sleep with a soaring superman punch and some vicious ground-and-pound.
Mike de la Torre continued the MMA Lab's winning ways of late, notching a first-round knockout win over Tiago dos Santos e Silva.
We were looked at a brawl between two high-level bantamweights once this fight got underway. De la Torre landed first, scoring with a left hand but Silva instigated the clinch. Each fighter spent time battling for position along the cage. Torre and Trator each trade unsuccessful takedown attempts. Torre landed a few solid right and left hands after obtaining the muay-thai clinch for a moment. The 28-year-old Torre ended Silva's night and 10-fight winning streak with a blistering left hook and follow-up punches.
Cody Gibson vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
After a prolonged moment of stagnancy, Andrade opened up the first round with a leg kick. The trend would continue on throughout the round as Gibson looked to counter. Andrade punished the Elite Team staple's body with a spinning back kick and a hard left hand. The 27-year-old Gibson continued to utilize a stick-and-move approach, switching up stances often and throwing a variety of combinations to boot. As Andrade pressured Gibson into the fence, a small cut would surface under the left eye of the heavy-handed Brazilian.
Andrade's blistering power took over in the second frame, where he dropped the California native with a huge right hand. The Brazilian could smell blood in the water and looked to finish the fight in his foes' half-guard but was unsuccessful. Gibson landed a right hand as he got back to his feet but was nothing but prey for the stalking Andrade for the remainder of the round.
Badly in need of a dominant round badly, the American looked for an early takedown but couldn't find it. A wild back-and-forth scramble quickly ensued on the ground following an Andrade toss. The Brazilian ended up in Gibson's half-guard. After a short stint on the ground, the pair rose and traded punches. Gibson stunned his counterpart with a left jab and right upper cut but comes up short in the end, dropping a unanimous decision to Andrade.
Duneland Vale Tudo's Joshy Shockley had every reason to win--Jorge defeated his head coach Keith Wisniewski in September 2013 and he was coming off of a loss in his Octagon debut. Spoiler alert: that didn't happen.
In the opening round, a frantic pace set by both the Brazilian and Indiana native led to Jorge eating damaging knees from Shockley's muay-thai clinch. Jorge would continue to close the distance against the 6-foot-1 lightweight, eventually securing a body lock in the clinch and a subsequent takedown. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt scored with another takedown, after the two stood up briefly, and attempted an arm-triangle. However, Shockley's submission defense was up-to-snuff and withstood the tight grip of Jorge. He made it back to his feet and out of the round.
Jorge came out looking to push the pace in the second frame but found himself in the clutches of Shockley once again and was pummeled by knees. The 25-year-old Shockley continued to utilize distance and found a home for his right hand multiple times. Jorge turned the pressure on with just over a minute to go, but failed on a takedown attempt up against the fence.
Likely tied one round a-piece heading into the final frame, both men took the center of the Octagon. Jorge instigated the clinch and tossed Shockley to the mat but it was the latter who ended on top and in full-mount. Shockley landed a few elbows before the Brazilian utilized his butterfly guard to get the fight standing. The stout Jorge shrugged off a desperate attempt at a takedown by his foe and followed that with some body punches. Jorge landed a takedown to put an exclamation point on the round, defeating the American via unanimous decision.
TJ Waldburger vs. Wendell Oliveira Scratched because Waldburger fainted prior to weigh-ins.
With UFC Fight Night 61's "Prelims" in the can, we can now turn our attention to the six-fight FOX Sports 1-televised main card, featuring the aforementioned Heavyweight showdown between former division champion, Frank Mir, looking to get back in the win column at the expense of "Bigfoot" Silva.
For complete UFC Fight Night 61: "Mir vs. Bigfoot" results, including play-by-play updates, click here.