The UFC presented its third offering of the new year to fans on the FX network Saturday night as they returned to Sao Paulo, Brazil to pit former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (22-10) against elite middleweight title hopeful “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-5). The night was loaded with named talent facing hometown heroes. Fast rising Russian blue-chipper “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (19-0) backed up the comments printed on his weigh-in shirt when the Sambo International Master of Sports dominated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Thiago Tavares (17-5-1) of Santa Catarina, Brazil. “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (14-6) sent “Big” Ben Rothwell’s (32-9) UFC record back into the sub .500s with a devastating Arm-in Guillotine Choke submission. In the “Fight of the Night”, TUF: Brazil stand-out Daniel Sarafian (7-3) came up short in his UFC debut when “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (13-4) used his wrestling to edge out the Brazilian in the final frame.
Back in Brazil for the fifth time in the Zuffa era, the UFC has set its seventh offering on the FX cable network for January 19. This time Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) will start the show against “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0) followed by a heavyweight showdown between “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) and “Big” Ben Rothwell (32-8). Following the Brazil vs. the world theme of the evening, the de facto co-main will see TUF: Brazil standout Daniel Sarafian (7-2) face TUF 7 alumni “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (12-4). Capping off the event is a marquee feature with major title implications as “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-10) looks to blast his way into another shot at the middleweight crown by handing “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-4) his second KO loss. The wily Brit of course has other ideas as he is certain that destiny will one day award him the 185lbs. crown.
The UFC hits the airwaves again just seven days following its final consumption of former rival promotion Strikeforce to bring the fans of Sao Paulo, Brazil a night of bouts headlined by brutal KO artist “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-10) and savvy British striker “The Count” Michael Bisping (23-4). UFC on FX 7 offers fight fans an additional trio of quality MMA pairings on the main card starting with Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) against “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0). Next out, “Napao” Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) looks to continue rebuilding his stock in the UFC, this time at the expense of struggling heavyweight “Big” Ben Rothwell (32-8). The de facto co-main event of the evening features “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (12-4) against UFC newcomer Daniel Sarafian (7-2). While Sarafian appears a rather easy mark for the far more accomplished TUF 7 finalist, Dollaway is hardly in a position to take any opponent for granted, especially a hungry young blood eager to spit in the odds makers’ faces.
Thirty-two of the world’s most talented unsigned mixed martial artists are primed and ready to compete on The Ultimate Fighter 16. Today officials announced the names of those comprising the 32-man welterweight roster, which includes 29 Americans, two Canadians, and one Brazilian as well as several major promotion veterans, all to be under the tutelage of either former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin (12-2) or TUF Season 10 winner and former IFL champ “Big Country” Roy Nelson (17-7).
The UFC returns this Saturday with a highly Pay-Per-View worthy fight card to be broadcast for free in their fourth installment on the FOX network. “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7) and former WEC champion Jamie Varner (20-6-1) will meet in a promising lightweight match-up. The 205lbs. division is bound to get a new change in scenery as “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2) meets former champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (17-3) in the co-main event. PRIDE veteran and former UFC champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) and “The Truth” Brandon Vera (12-5) battle it out to close the night’s proceedings in the main event. As if three big fights were not enough, the card will begin with a welterweight showdown between previous The Ultimate Fighter titans as “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-10) welcomes “Quick” Mike Swick (14-4) back to the eight-sided cage. Each man is in dire need of a win and with the same task to set the pace for the main card, Swick and Johnson are poised to draw fireworks come fight night.