These fight fans in Brazil, they just aren't like the Vegas crowds. A full capacity Arena Jaragua started off hungry for action, these weren't suits strolling in towards the end of the preliminaries inside of the MGM Grand. These were blood thirsty Brazilians ready to cheer on their fellow countrymen and enjoy a full night of UFC action. And every single one of them were rewarded for showing up right on time.
1st Star(s) - Lucas Martins & Jeremy Larsen
"You're gonna hear a lot about me - Lucas Mineiro from Brazil." - Lucas 'Mineiro' Martins (pictured above) after his fight of the night performance against Jeremy Larsen.
The final result may have saw Lucas Martins earning the KO victory just 13 seconds into the final round of the contest. That said, his opponent Jeremy Larsen should not be feeling down following this fight. For one, he did get a $50K fight of the night bonus for his duel with Martins. And two, I swear he knocked out Martins at least three or four times during this insane festival of slug.
One of the number one no-no's in the sport of mixed martial arts is keeping your chin up as your opponent throws haymakers directly at your face. Lucas Martins doesn't care about that ****. Your fist has to punch through six layers of granite to get to his chin. Martins has tons of heart and not a whole of technique standing, which made for one hell of a fight. I mean he kept his chin straight up in the air for the duration of the fight and ate shots that literally did enough for the referee to call the fight on a handful of occasions.
The finishing sequence went a little something like this -
Larsen moves forward continuing to wing hooks looking to land the knockout shot as he has since the the fight began. As Martins moves backwards he hits him with a counter right that turns off the lights, face planting Larsen. Martins lands a couple of hammers fists for good measure before the referee waves things off. The crowd explodes. This is just the first fight of the night folks, WOW.
Final Result - Lucas Martins (13-1) defeats Jeremy Larsen (8-4) via KO (punch) - Round 3, 0:13
2nd Star - Vitor Belfort
"The 1st round with Vitor is hell." - Luke Rockhold
Whether you like it or not Vitor - you're name will be synonymous with TRT for the rest of your professional MMA career. And whose fault is that? Rhetorical.
The big question is whether or not a TRT fueled Vitor or a clean Vitor could've pulled off this berserker of a finish. Let's give Mr. Belfort credit where credit is due. I've been quick to judge him for his repeated illegal blows to the back of the head in the past. It's driven me nuts that referees have turned a blind eye to it and it's held me back from giving him the credit he probably feels he has been due.
The Phenom's head kick finishes of Michael Bisping, and now Luke Rockhold haven't exactly won me over, they've just freaked me out a little bit. The new Vitor Belfort is one scary cat. I don't see anyone at 185 that can beat him that doesn't go by the name of Anderson Silva. Silva vs. Belfort II, for more reasons that one, is a must at this point in time. Dare I say Vitor is much more worthy of that title shot than young Chris Weidman is at this juncture.
3rd Star - John Lineker
If every weight class in the UFC is eventually represented by a champion from Brazil than it'll likely be John Lineker holding the flyweight strap. After losing to Louis Gaudinot in that crazy back and forth fight of the night warfest last year he's come back with two impressive showings, the latest being a TKO finish of Azamat Gashimov this past weekend.
Lineker wounded his opponent with a right kick to the ribs then feasted on him with a body shot to the same area. Gashimov curled up in a ball wanting nothing more to do with the hometown favorite at that point. I can try to make this finish sound cool all I want but seeing it in GIF form via the one and only Zombie Prophet is always much cooler. Check it out -
Honorable Mentions - Souza, Trinaldo, Alcantara