If ever there was a crowd that wanted to drink its troubles away, it would pale in comparison to the Brazilian fans down in Sao Paolo. They were having a pretty good time for the majority of the night, and then the last two fights saw the fall of two legends of Brazil MMA. The one who got it the worst is by far Lyoto Machida. The Dragon was making his return after more than two years inactive, and looked laser focused in the buildup to the fight. He even walked out to the Game of Thrones intro music (because dragons, get it?). I was hyped and on the edge of my seat to see how he would handle being in the Octagon again. Just one problem: Derek Brunson…
This turned out to be a HELL of a problem for Lyoto Machida. Brunson has power and is reckless enough to go for it, and he seemed dead set on not caring about Machida’s ability to counter. Derek Brunson called out Luke Rockhold after the fight, and I have to say that is a damn good idea.
If the fans were feeling sad after Machida fell, they felt murderous after Colby Covington got a unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia. Let’s talk about Maia actually having a decent stand up game, huh? He looked like a completely different fighter in the first round, and landed some damn good shots on Covington. Colby had trouble seeing out of right eye for the rest of the fight from a cut on his eyebrow. But Maia may have overestimated himself, because Colby turned it up in the last two rounds, and ended up causing a horrific bloody mess all over Demian Maia’s face. His performance was pretty good. I still think he needs to clean up his striking, but he also might want to clean up mouth…
That’s a crazy person talking right there. I guess he really wants the bad boy persona, but holy shit, dude, you’re IN BRAZIL. You still have to at least stay the night there.
Anyway, before all that, the Brazilian fans at least got to experience some euphoria when Pedro Munhoz had an amazing comeback victory over Rob Font. Font was in charge of this stand up fight from the beginning, and I never expected it to end as abruptly or the way it did.
Also in the news of the unexpected, I was halfway in between the living room and the bathroom because I had to pee, so I was waiting for the round to end of Jack Harmannson vs Thiago Santos when suddenly….
Santos is a fucking beast of a finisher. He can stand in front of anyone in the division and give them hell. I want to see him soon against a top 10 guy.
Sao Paolo also bore witness to the first loss of Nik Price’s career. Vicente Luque didn’t fuck around. He took full advantage when given the opportunity.
Price did not look like his usual self. He seemed timid and unsure of how to approach the fight. Maybe because Luque took the fight on 11 days notice, so Price wasn’t able to study much. Still, Price is usually the one pushing forward and taking crazy risks, but either couldn’t find his rhythm, or had a gameplan he couldn’t implement.
Another guy I keep getting impressed by is Antonio Carlos Junior. I still say he needs to find a spot on a popular Brazilian soap opera, but he’s pretty good at MMA, too. The man loves submission wins, Jack Marshman was just one in a long line of opponents to find that out. Really want to see some higher level competition for Carlos Junior next.
I also want to highlight Jared Gordon’s win over Hacran Dias. I knew Gordon was able to slug it out, but I expected Dias to have better cardio than that considering he moved up a weight class. Hacran may have used up a lot of his energy in the first round, and Gordon never let up after that.
So maybe the Brazilian fans shouldn’t be too upset. They did get to see a few of their fighters gain some impressive victories, and I got to see some amazing finishes. Now if I could only get other people to watch it with me instead of silly things like baseball, I’d be happy.