By Jaime C. Feal
Hall of famers Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva and Rich “Ace” Franklin fought to a decision on Saturday night, with Franklin spoiling the Brazilian’s homecoming. Silva had Franklin badly hurt in the latter part of the second round, and pounced on Franklin looking for the finish. Silva was unable to get the stoppage, however, and appeared to punch himself out as Franklin cruised through the next three rounds. Also on the main card, Fabricio Werdum solidified himself as a top five heavyweight with a first round TKO over Mike Russow. The Ultimate Fighter Brazil finales were also held, with Rony Jason and Cezar Mutante becoming the first ever TUF Brazil champions.
Heavyweight Divison (265 lbs.):
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (15-5-1) vs. Mike Russow (15-1, 1 NC)
Werdum controls the center of the Octagon with Russow circling the outside. Russow steps forward, misses with a jab. Werdum with a good right hand. And a one-two. Russow against the cage, spins Werdum. The fighters separate, nice uppercut from Vai Cavalo. Left hook from Russow, knee in response from Werdum. Right outside leg kick by Werdum. Nice stiff jab by Fabricio. Russow with a lead left hook. Werdum steps in with an uppercut that drops Russow on his hands and knees. Werdum swarms with punches looking for the finish. Right hand after right hand while Russow is turtled and ref Herb Dean is telling Mike to “fight back.” Now Werdum is coming with more unanswered shots, hammerfists and right hands, and Dean steps in to stop the fight.
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum wins by TKO at 2:28 of Round 1.
TUF Brazil Featherweight Finale (145 lbs.):
Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezzera (10-3) vs. Godofredo “Pepey” de Oliveira (8-0)
Pepey charges forward and clinches Jason against the cage. Mariano lands a flying knee, Pepey wildly throwing hooks that miss. Pepey again charges forward, missing with his punches, and clinching Jason. Pepey pulls guard and begins working for a kimura. Jason remains calm and defends well, escaping from the kimura. The fighters are stood up due to inactivity. Good right outside leg kick by Rony Jason. Incredible flying knee by Jason, and Pepey tries to pull guard. Jason picks him up and slams him on his back. Pepey just locking up Jason’s arms, not using an offensive guard. 10-9 Round for Rony Jason.
Nothing much happening for the first minute, until Pepey throws a leg kick and Jason answers with a straight right hand counter. Jab misses for Jason. Pepey charges forward with punches but misses again. Jason misses an overhand right, Pepey clinches him and pulls guard. Pepey not being offensive with his guard, eats an elbow. Ref already looking to stand it up. Pepey tries to throw the legs up for an amrbar but Jason stands up. Back standing Pepey wains in with punches and misses, eating a solid right counter in the process. Powerful lead left hook by Jason. Good left body kick by Rony. Jab from Pepey. Overhand right from Jason connects. Spinning back fists whiffs for Pepey. Jason tries a wheel kick but misses. 10-9 Round for Rony Jason.
Head kick by Pepey partially blocked. Right hand by Jason, body kick by Pepey. Big right hand counter temporarily drops Pepey, and has him looking for a single leg. Jason defending well. Back in the center of the cage now. Jason takes a low blow, time given to recover. Jab from Pepey. Left hook from Jason, knee to the body. Pepey looking for a double leg, can’t complete it. Pepey pulls guard, Jason backs away. Left hook, overhand right by Jason. Pepey with another low blow, Jason writing in pain on the mat. More time given to recover. Fight resumes, outside leg kick by Pepey. Fighters both clinch and try to judo toss each other to the ground to end the fight. 10-9 Round for Rony Jason.
The judges score the fight 29-28, 29-28, and 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, and the new TUF Brazil featherweight winner, Rony “Jason” Mariano.
TUF Brazil Middleweight Finale (185 lbs.):
Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (4-2) vs. Sergio “Serginho” Moraes (6-1)
Moraes misses with a right hook. Mutante throws a beautiful capoeira kick but it is blocked. Mutante coming forward and throwing, Serginho backing away. Straight left by Mutante. Leg kick by Moraes. Nice knee by Cezar Ferreira. Hard body kick by Moraes. Straight left to the head and body by Mutante. Left by Mutante, right hand answer by Serginho. Elbow by Moraes. Knee from Ferreira, and a head kick. Moraes lands several right hands. Body kick by Mutante, then a left head kick that is partially blocked. 10-9 Round for Mutante.
Mutante clinches and lands a left. Moraes tries to pull guard but Mutante backs away. Mouse under Serginho’s eye. Moraes slips and Mutante lands a hammerfist. Mutante won’t go to the ground to engage, lets him back up. Capoeira kick lands clean for Mutante, Moraes is hurt bad. Mutante pounces with hammerfists, ref Herb Dean having a close look. Moraes goes for a leg lock which causes Mutante to stand up and back away from the jiu-jitsu world champion. Serginho is bleeding badly now out of his eye. Inside leg kick by Moraes. Knee to the body by Mutante. Body kick by Ferreira. Moraes catches Mutante coming in with a short elbow. Mutante is rocked and backpedaling, Moraes is frantically chasing him across the Octagon. Moraes lands two right hands, Mutante is in trouble. Straight right by Seringho, Mutante looking to clinch and regain his wits. Sergio gives up on his attack as Mutante appears to recover, and the round ends. 10-10 Round.
Mutante pawing with the jab, measuring distance. Combination by Mutante sends Moraes to the ground. Ferreira again refuses to engage on the ground, lets Moraes up. Front push kick by Mutante. Right hand counter by Moraes. Not much happening, lots of feinting. Moraes charges forward with punches but misses everything, similar to Pepey earlier in the night. Crowd booing due to inactivity. Mutante charges forward and eats a straight right from Moraes. Rogan goes cxrazy but Cezar Ferreira has his composure still. Left straight from Mutante drops Moraes, who stays on his back. Mutante lands some light leg kicks, lets him up, fight ends. 10-9 Round for Mutante.
The judges score the fight 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, and the new TUF Brazil middleweight champion, Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira.
Middleweight Division (185 lbs.):
Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (34-11-1) vs. Rich “Ace” Franklin (28-6, 1 NC)
Franklin in his familiar southpaw stance, controlling the center of the Octagon. Rich throws a left body kick that lands but gets tagged by a straight right hand from Silva. Franklin pawing with the jab, lands an inside leg kick. Straight left from Franklin finds the mark. Right jab from Rich lands as well. Head kick thrown by Silva is caught by Franklin. Body shot by “Ace.” Nice one-two from Franklin. Big right hook from Franklin on the cage, then a left kick to the body. Silva getting outstruck early. Inside leg kick, then a right hook from “The Axe Murderer.” Another hard left body kick from Rich. Right head kick from Wanderlei hits Franklin flush. Wanderlei throws it again but Franklin blocks it. Good right hook counter from Silva. Good combo by Franklin to end the round. 10-9 Round for Franklin.
Hard left hook from Wanderlei. Head kick from Silva, inside leg kick. Silva bleeding from his nose. Nice head kick from Wanderlei, then a front kick. Good right hook from Franklin, then a left body kick. Nice combo by Franklin against the cage. Body shot-head shot combo from Franklin. Nice one-two from Silva. Right hand counter from Wanderlei. Nice right hook from Silva, then a straight left and a big knee. Big left hook from Silva, another knee. Big straight right from Silva sends Franklin crashing to the canvas. “The Axe Murderer” pouncing, dropping right hands on his fallen foe. Rich is rolling and trying to recover, hammer fists now. Several more hammerfists from Silva but the horn sounds ending the round, and Franklin survives. 10-8 Round for Silva.
Left straight from Franklin. Left head kick from Franklin is blocked. Good left straight to the body by “Ace.” Silva throws a head kick that is blocked, but looking lethargic. Body kick by Franklin. And another. Two right jabs from Rich. Silva still hasn’t done anything all round. Head kick from Franklin. Jab from Wanderlei, body kick from Rich. Straight left by Franklin, then takes Silva down. Franklin in half guard. Franklin looking to pass to side, lands an elbow. Three big elbows from Franklin, and a nice right and left hand from the postured up guard to close the frame. 10-9 Round for Franklin.
Right hook from Silva hits home. Slow pace to start Round 4. Head kick misses for Wanderlei. Right jab from Franklin. Left straight to the head and body from Rich. Silva still largely inactive. More jabs from Franklin. Big left straight from Franklin. Nice one-two from “Ace.” Right hook from Franklin. Completely controlling the round. Left straight to the body now, Wanderlei again bleeding from his nose. Swelling on Silva’s face. Jab after jab from Franklin. Now a nice combo to the head from Rich. Right straight from Franklin. Hard body kick by Franklin, counter right by “The Axe Murderer.” Several more jabs by Franklin to close the round. 10-9 Round for Franklin.
Jab and a straight left from Franklin. Rich circling on the outside jabbing like a boxer. Nice straight left lands clean for Franklin. Good counter left hook from Silva. Another jab-straight combo from Franklin. More jabs from Franklin. Silva still doing nothing. Left hook from Rich. Non-stop jabs and movement from “Ace.” Front kick from Silva is blocked. Right hand from Silva lands, crowd reacts. Silva waives to the crowd and lands a nice right hook, then a straight. Nice right hook from Silva now. Jabs from Franklin and circling away. Franklin with a nice counter. Good right from Silva, eats a jab. At the ten-second mark, both fighters begin wildly throwing, with Franklin dropping Silva with a straight left right before the horn sounds. 10-9 round for Franklin.
The judges score the fight 49-46, 49-46, and 49-46 for the winner by unanimous decision Rich “Ace” Franklin.