After Brazilians ruled all eight of the bouts on Saturday’s UFC on FX 8 prelim card at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, it was up to American featherweight contender Nik Lentz to break the string in bout nine, and he did just that, holding off a late comeback attempt by Hacran Dias to remain unbeaten at 145 pounds via three round unanimous decision.
Scores for Lentz were 28-27 and 29-28 twice for “The Carny,” who moves to 26-5-2 with 1 NC; Dias, who saw a nine fight winning streak snapped, falls to 21-2-1.
Lentz was largely in control during the first round, either scoring with some long-range striking attacks or keeping Dias pinned against the fence. It wasn’t particularly compelling action, but it was effective for the American Top Team fighter, who added a dose of excitement early in the second when he dropped Dias with a knee. Dias recovered quickly, but Lentz kept him grounded, not allowing the Brazilian to get loose. Midway through the round, Dias did get back to his feet, albeit with Lentz keeping him tied up until he could put the Nova Uniao product on the mat again.
Told by trainer Andre Pederneiras that he needed a knockout to win, Dias went on the attack as the third round began, and he rocked Lentz several times before the American was able to lock up and catch his breath. Dias followed up with a slam as Lentz tried to lock in a guillotine choke, but the Brazilian escaped and secured an arm triangle choke. Lentz looked to be on the verge of defeat before getting loose, but the tide had turned widely in Dias’ favor. With a minute left, the two stood, and Dias made a final charge, only to be locked up by Lentz, who was able to ride out the clock and take the win.
TRINALDO vs. RIO
Francisco Trinaldo’s strength proved to be too much for fellow Ultimate Fighter alum Mike Rio, as he slammed then submitted the Floridian in the first round of their lightweight encounter.
Taken down and forced to play defense early on, Trinaldo quickly took over after rising to his feet, slamming Rio to the mat and then sinking in an arm triangle. And despite being in half guard, the Brasilia native’s power allowed him to tighten the hold and produce the tap out 3:08 into the first round.
Trinaldo improves to 13-2; Rio falls to 9-2.
Watch Trinaldo's post-fight interview
TIBAU vs. CHOLISH
Earlier Saturday, New York lightweight John Cholish tweeted that win, lose, or draw, he was walking away from the sport after his bout with Gleison Tibau. Unfortunately for Cholish, the veteran Tibau sent him into retirement with a second round submission defeat.
Cholish didn’t fight poorly in the first round, it was just that Tibau fought a lot better, scoring with a couple takedowns in between plenty of effective long-range striking. And in round two, Tibau closed the show in style, rocking Cholish with a left before finishing him with a guillotine choke seconds later at the 2:34 mark.
With the win, Tibau improves to 36-9; Cholish retires with an 8-3 pro mark.
Watch Tibau's post-fight interview
THIAGO vs. PRAZERES
Paulo Thiago snapped a two fight losing streak in his welterweight bout with Brazilian countryman Michel Prazeres, handing the Octagon newcomer his first pro loss via close, but unanimous, decision.
All three judges saw it 29-28 for Thiago, now 15-5; Prazeres falls to 16-1
Prazeres fought like a UFC veteran in the opening round, showing no sign of the first time Octagon jitters as he controlled Thiago in grappling exchanges against the fence and landed with plenty of leg kicks when the two were separated.
Thiago got back in the fight in the second, with a brief knockdown leading into a successful takedown. After Prazeres got back to his feet, Thiago put together a second takedown, but Prazeres’ defense was solid, as he rose and delivered with his own trip to the mat. Upon rising, Thiago caught a hard left hook to the jaw, and while he took it well, he did get sent to the canvas moments later. Thiago was able to reverse position by the end of the round, ending a close stanza.
The third frame was just as close, with each man having his moments until the final 30 seconds, when Thiago scored with a takedown and some ground strikes, sealing the round and the fight.
ALCANTARA vs. SANTOS
Bantamweight Yuri Alcantara got back into the win column for the first time since January of 2012, stopping debuting Iliarde Santos in a single round.
Alcantara’s striking was sharp and on target immediately, not easing his countryman’s entry into the UFC at all. Forced into defensive mode, Santos tried to use lateral movement to keep Alcantara from setting his feet, but the UFC vet scored with a left hand that put Santos on the deck midway through the round, and after following up, referee Kevin Mulhall stopped the fight at 2:31 of the first.
With the win, Alcantara ups his record to 27-4 with 1 NC; Santos falls to 27-7-1 with 1 NC.
Watch Alcanatra's post-fight interview
MALDONADO vs. HOLLETT
Fabio Maldonado kept Canada’s Roger Hollett winless in the Octagon, rebounding from a slow start to pound out a three round unanimous decision victory in light heavyweight action.
Scores for Maldonado, now 19-6, were 29-27 twice, and 29-28.
The most significant salvo of the opening minute was unfortunately an inadvertent low kick by Hollett, forcing Maldonado to take an extended break before continuing. Once the bout resumed, Maldonado was sent to the canvas by a Hollett takedown, but referee Leon Roberts restarted the fight when the action stalled. Hollett again searched for a takedown, bulling Maldonado to the fence and locking up before another Roberts restart. With less than a minute remaining, Hollett got his takedown, but was unable to do anything with it before the bell rang.
Hollett (13-5) got his standup game working in the second frame, but the bread and butter of his attack remained his grappling against the fence. In this round though, Maldonado began to get on the board with close range body shots and some upstairs work that bloodied his opponent.
Gaining momentum with each passing second, Maldonado’s body work again drew a roar from the crowd, but just when it looked like the tide was turning for good, Hollett briefly found new life, at least until Maldonado targeted the midsection again. Fatigue was evident on the face of the Canadian, and Maldonado poured it on, moving his strikes upstairs when necessary as he took control of the bout, even capping things off with a late takedown.
LINEKER vs. GASHIMOV
Exciting flyweight John Lineker thrilled his home country fans, improving to 21-6 with a second round stoppage of Azamat Gashimov.
Lineker’s deadly right hand was on display as he knocked Gashimov down hard in the opening minute of the fight, but Gashimov quickly cleared his head and got back to his feet. Lineker wasn’t discouraged though, as he got the action to the mat moments later and then resumed a patient standup attack. With a minute left, a trip to the canvas resulted in Gashimov being penalized a point from referee Mario Yamasaki for grabbing the fence, and it didn’t help matters when he was knocked down a second time in the closing seconds of the round.
Likely down two points entering round two, Gashimov (10-3) needed to make something happen, but a strong start was greeted with two left hooks that wobbled his legs. Seconds later, it was a right body kick that began a trip to the canvas for Gashimov, and a follow up barrage brought Yamasaki in to halt the fight at 1:07 of the round.
Watch Lineker's post-fight interview
CARIASO vs. FORMIGA
Brazil’s Jussier Formiga used a smothering ground game to build a big lead against fellow flyweight contender Chris Cariaso, allowing him to hold off a late surge and take a unanimous decision win over the American.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Formiga, now 15-2. Cariaso falls to 14-5.
Formiga took the first round behind his dominant ground game, but Cariaso’s cool under pressure and solid defense kept him out of serious danger as he tried to figure out how to keep the fight standing long enough to take control.
Cariaso ran out fast to start the second, but that just allowed Formiga to take him down easier, and the Brazilian quickly got into the mount position. Cariaso escaped, but he found himself in trouble again soon enough, with Formiga’s top game ruling the day until referee Kevin Mulhall stood the fighters up for the second time in the bout. Cariaso wasn’t able to capitalize on this bit of good fortune before the round ended though.
Finally getting his groove on in the third, Cariaso scored well with his left hand, almost locked up a D’Arce choke, and then did some effective ground work of his own as he cut Formiga and poured it on with ground strikes, but he simply ran out of time, with the bell intervening before he was able to pull off the comeback win.
MARTINS vs. LARSEN
Lightweights Lucas Martins and Jeremy Larsen opened the evening with a bang, battling it out for two full rounds before Brazil’s Martins ended matters via knockout seconds into the final frame.
From the opening bell, Martins and Larsen took turns teeing off on each other, keeping a fast pace that rarely let up. Early on, the difference was Larsen’s ability to take the Brazilian to the mat on a couple occasions, but Martins’ power shots rapidly swelled up his foe’s face and cut him under the right eye.
In the second, Larsen’s bread and butter shot became the right hand, and he drilled Martins with it repeatedly. But as the third opened, he found out that if you live by the sword, you can die by it as well, and a trade of right hands didn’t work out well for the American, who got the bad end of the exchange, falling face first to the mat, two shots later, referee Mario Yamasaki intervened, halting the bout at the 13 second mark.
With the win, Martins improves to 12-1; Larsen falls to 8-4 with 1 NC.
Watch Martins' post-fight interview