Rony Jason may have “Jiu-Jitsu” tattooed on his back, but it was the fists of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil winner that did in Sam Sicilia in their UFC 153 preliminary bout Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as he stopped the TUF 15 competitor in the second round of a wild featherweight bout.
A head kick from Jason missed badly as the bout started, but a left punch to the head hit the mark, rocking Sicilia badly. Remarkably, the Washington native shook off the blow and got a takedown, not necessarily the position he wanted to be in against a jiu-jitsu black belt, and Jason almost caught Sicilia, but an inexplicable standup from referee Fernando Yamasaki put an end to the intriguing ground action. Back standing, Jason caught Sicilia with a hard knee and then some hard strikes, and all were pretty easy scores given Sicilia’s tendency to keep his hands at his waist.
Sicilia dominated the first two minutes of the second round, with little coming back from Jason. The TUF Brazil winner did start throwing in the third minute of round two, catching Sicilia with a hard knee. Sicilia roared back with a counter right, and the brawl was back on, with both fighters drilling each other and making the crowd wonder whose chin would crack first. It was Sicilia’s, as he caught a hard right that sent him to the mat. Jason followed up with a series of ground strikes, prompting Yamasaki to stop the fight at the 4:16 mark.
With the win, Jason improves to 13-3; Sicilia falls to 11-2.
TIBAU vs. TRINALDO
In his first fight at home in Brazil since 2007, longtime lightweight standout Gleison Tibau survived a rough second round to decision ultra-tough Francisco Trinaldo in an exciting back-and-forth battle.
The judges’ scores for Tibau read 29-28 across the board.
After a slow first minute, Tibau (35-8) got a takedown and immediately sunk in a guillotine as the two rose. After some tense moments, Trinaldo got free, but Tibau tagged his countryman with some stiff punches to the head before another takedown. Trinaldo made it to his feet quickly, but his wide haymakers were easily picked off by Tibau. After a stalemate against the fence, Trinaldo was able to land a couple hard knees, yet it was Tibau who finished on top – literally – as a late takedown kept him in control.
Settling down in the second, Trinaldo (11-2) bounced back with a left hand that dropped Tibau, and he immediately attempted a rear naked choke. Tibau escaped that and a subsequent arm triangle, but the tide had turned significantly. A ground and pound assault followed from “Massaranduba,” sealing the deal on an impressive round two effort.
Both fighters came out slugging in the final round, and after 30 seconds of wild hooks, Tibau scored the takedown. Now it was Tibau’s turn for some ground and pound, though his attacks were more of the point scoring variety. With 2:40 left, referee Marc Goddard restarted the action, only to see Tibau drill another takedown and then get into the mount position. Tibau soon moved into position for an arm triangle, but he wasn’t able to finish his foe. He did get the victory though, one he isn’t likely to ever forget.
BRANDAO vs. GAMBINO
Featherweight prospect Diego Brandao kept Joey Gambino winless in the Octagon, scoring a solid three round unanimous decision victory.
All three judges scored it 30-27 for Brandao, who bounced back from a May loss to Darren Elkins.
A hard head kick by Brandao (20-8) in the opening seconds was caught by Gambino, but after a trip to the canvas, the Brazilian scored with a series of hammerfists. Gambino rose to his feet unhurt though, and he finally had an opportunity to get his game plan in gear. Brandao continued to score, but Gambino got in his share of shots as well before getting taken to the mat with under two minutes left. Brando stayed busy with his strikes until Gambino broke loose and got back to his feet, but the New Yorker was able to cut Brandao over the right eye just before the end of the round.
Gambino (9-2) led the scoring as the second began, but a flush right hand by Brandao dropped him with a little over a minute gone. The Brazilian moved in for the finish, but Gambino’s defense was solid, and after a brief spell, he almost locked up Brandao in an armbar. The TUF 14 winner pulled free and brought the fight back to the feet, but only briefly, as he picked Gambino up and slammed him to the mat. With a minute left, referee Fernando Yamasaki restarted the fighters, with little action of note for the rest of the stanza.
Starting out strong to begin the last round, Gambino again had it erased by another right hand-induced knockdown. The gutsy American shook off the effects of the blow again, but when the action went back to the mat, it was Brandao staying busier. Gambino looked for a submission from his back, but Brandao stayed out of trouble long enough for Yamasaki to stand the fight up again. Gambino tried to press forward in the final stages, but the comeback was not to be.
MORAES vs. FORTE
Former members of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil cast, Sergio Moraes and Renee Forte were scheduled to fight in June, but when Moraes was elevated to the season final at UFC 147 against Cezar Mutante, the bout was scrapped until Saturday night, when it was Moraes emerging victorious via third round submission.
After a brief cat and mouse game to open the fight, Moraes got a quick takedown, and after Forte rose, he pinned him to the fence when it was clear that he wasn’t going to get his foe back to the mat. Seconds later, the pattern repeated itself, but this time Moraes got Forte to the canvas. Fortaleza’s Forte broke loose and forced Moraes back to his feet, showing good defense, and throughout the rest of the round, he attempted to get his offense in gear, but he only had sporadic luck doing so.
Moraes was having little success with his striking as the second round began, so it was back to the takedowns, but Forte refused to stay on the mat for long. The crowd began to get restless at the subsequent dip in the action, but it was Forte getting the last word with a hard combination that jarred Moraes in the closing minute.
The boos broke out again early in round three, but after a couple decent exchanges, Moraes closed the distance and wound up taking Forte’s back while the two stood against the fence. Moraes, a multi-time world jiu-jitsu champion, was not going to let his opponent off the hook though, and a rear naked choke produced a tap out at 3:10 of the final frame.
With the win, Curitiba’s Moraes improves to 7-3; Forte drops to 7-2.
CAMOZZI vs. CANE
A move to middleweight wasn’t the immediate answer for a recent slide by former light heavyweight prospect Luiz Cane, as Chris Camozzi handed “Banha” a close, but unanimous, decision defeat.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Camozzi, now 18-5; Cane falls to 12-5 with 1 NC. It was the Brazilian’s fourth loss in his last five fights.
Camozzi took the fight to Cane from the opening bell, mixing up his strikes well as Cane stood idle until the 90 second mark, when he followed up a thudding kick with a takedown, and then took the American’s back. Seconds later, he went after a rear naked choke, but Camozzi’s defense was solid. Undeterred, Cane fired off some ground strikes before the two rose, but Camozzi threw right back, again mixing things up nicely as he controlled the rest of the round.
Staying the course strategically, Camozzi pecked and poked at Cane, throwing a variety of punches, kicks and knees that weren’t fight enders but point scorers, and the result was a Cane that just couldn’t get on track. At the end of the round, Cane got staggered by a left hand from the southpaw, putting an exclamation mark on a Camozzi round.
Feeling the fight slipping away, Cane went on the offensive and landed some hard shots to open the third round, but nothing made Camozzi blink twice, not necessarily what the Sao Paulo native needed at this point in the fight. With a little over a minute left, Cane was able to tag Camozzi with a hard left, but again, the Colorado product shook it off and went toe to toe with Cane to the bell.
Watch Camozzi's post-fight interview
MADADI vs. MARCELLO
Former Ultimate Fighter 15 competitor Cristiano Marcello got things off to a good start for the Brazilian contingent in the lightweight opener, gutting out a three round split decision win over Reza Madadi.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Marcello, who improves to 13-4; Madadi falls to 12-3.
Marcello went on the attack immediately, drawing a roar from the crowd with each punch and kick, whether they landed or not. Madadi was the cooler of the two, perhaps hoping that Marcello would wear himself out, but he still kept a steady pressure on his foe, and as the round progressed, he began landing more on the Brazilian, leaving his with a bloodied nose. In the final minute, Madadi scored the first takedown of the bout but got up almost quickly, yelling at Marcello to get up, which he did just before the bell.
Again going on the attack to start round two, Marcello tagged Madadi a few times, but did no real damage. He was scoring though, building up points as the Sweden-based fighter waited for his moment to attack, and soon Marcello had opened a cut on Madadi’s face. With 90 seconds left, Madadi opened up with strikes and had his opponent on the run. A takedown followed moments later, but referee Fernando Yamasaki stood them up fairly quickly, allowing Marcello to finish the round strong.
Madadi looked to be the fresher of the two as the final round commenced, but Marcello kept swinging with bad intentions on every shot. A minute in, Madadi got a takedown but didn’t keep the action on the ground for long, and the two resumed their striking battle. Again, Madadi was sharper, but Marcello was busier, leaving the judges with a dilemma after the 15 minute scrap was done.
Watch Marcello's post-fight interview