UFC Fight Night 62 ended up being a throwback to some of the early Brazilian events in terms of the sheer dominance of the hometown fighters. The 12-fight event featured 10 bouts with Brazilians taking on foreigners, and the locals won 9 of those bouts. Only Christos Giagos was able to head back home from Brazil with a victory, as he took out Jorge de Oliveira in the first international bout of the evening. After that, it was all Brazil, and while most of the victories were expected (Erick Silva, Amanda Nunes, and Kevin Souza), there were a few surprises that made the evening that much sweeter for the home crowd (Demian Maia, Leonardo Santos, and Godofredo Pepey). The main event was a fairly typical of every Demian Maia fight over the past few years. Maia was able to get takedowns early, advance position, and control the fight with ease. As the fight progressed, the takedowns were harder to come by, but Maia still managed them even into a fifth round where he was visibly gassed. Ryan LaFlare wasn’t able to capitalize on Maia’s fatigue enough in the final stanza, although referee John McCarthy took an additional point from the former title contender (which was celebrated or reviled depending on who you ask) due to passivity.
Maia will still beat much of the division, as only those with elite takedown defense will be able to keep the fight standing against him, and even fewer can hang with him on the ground. The 37-year-old will never be a title contender again though. His cardio will let him down in five-round fights and better fighters will take advantage of that. If Hector Lombard was not suspended following his UFC 182 bout, that would be an interesting style clash, but as it stands there aren’t many options in the division for Maia. The co-main event may have seen the final fight of Josh Koscheck’s MMA career. The former welterweight title challenger looked far better in this short notice appearance than he did three weeks ago against Jake Ellenberger. He was aggressive early, but simply wasn’t able to land much of significance or impose his wrestling. As the first round wore on, Silva landed hard kicks to the body, a few solid strikes upstairs, and it led to a weak shot by Koscheck that turned into the fight ending guillotine.
Silva seemed to do a better job of pacing himself than in the past, but at 30 years old, he is long past the prospect tag many still label him with. He’s still a very entertaining fighter to watch, but he’ll be a gatekeeper to the top 10 or 15 welterweights for the forseeable future. Silva and Lorenz Larkin could make for a very entertaining bout if they were to be matched up. Tony Martin continues to be one of the most mercurial fighters in the UFC. Actually, scratch that. He’s not mercurial in the slightest. We know exactly what we get out of Martin every time. Excellent skills in the first round, and poor cardio and fight IQ following that. Leonardo Santos didn’t even push Martin particularly hard in the opening round, but the Minnesota native was done as soon as the BJJ world champion got a takedown in the second. It was a quick transition to mount, Martin almost immediately gave up his back, and it was only a matter of time until Santos coaxed a tap out of him. There was no comeback needed in the women’s bantamweight bout between Amanda Nunes and Shayna Baszler. Nunes was the bigger, faster, more skilled and more powerful fighter on the feet, and Baszler has no way to get the fight to the ground. It didn’t take long for Baszler’s body to quit on her. The end of bout was a simple leg kick which caused some sort of injury to Baszler’s left knee, and could potentially spell the end of her extremely disappointing UFC run. No fight on the card had more drama than Gilbert Burns’ third round submission victory over Alex Oliveira. The -800 favorite dropped the first two rounds on nearly all scorecards before coming out and scoring a quick takedown in round three. He then attempted a variety of submissions before catching Oliveira in a triangle and switching off to the armbar in the final minute of the bout. Burns was seen as an extremely good prospect heading into this bout, and while his ability to fight back and pick up the win is to be applauded, him dropping a pair of rounds to an unproven fighter like Oliveira is very concerning. The opening bout of the main card featured one of the flashiest finishes in the UFC this year, as Godofredo Pepey turned a simple clinch against the fence into a flying triangle. Andre Fili did his best to fight off the position, but Pepey wouldn’t let him escape and kept adjusting the position until the Alpha Male product was forced to tap. It was another impressive finish for Pepey in his home country, where he has become a very difficult fighter to deal with. The TUF Brazil finalist has now scored three consecutive first round stoppages after starting his UFC career 1-3. While Kevin Souza, Christos Giagos, and Fredy Serrano all scored impressive finishes on the undercard of UFC Fight Night 62, the most newsworthy occurrence was what will likely go down as the worst stoppage in UFC history. After probably edging the first round, Drew Dober was taken down by Leandro Silva in the second, but managed to scramble to his feet. In the scramble, Silva tried to lock on a guillotine, but Dober moved to half guard to alleviate the pressure. As it seemed that Dober was slipping his head out of the choke, referee Eduardo Herdy inexplicably stopped the bout and declare Silva the winner by tapout. It was baffling for anyone watching, and will likely be overturned in the near future, but was unfortunate for Dober. The next UFC event will be Fight Night 63 on the Saturday of Final Four weekend. The card will take place in the afternoon from Fairfax, Virginia and features a phenomenal main event between Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas. The opening odds were released for the card yesterday on MMAOddsBreaker.com, and you can find full analysis of the event on the site in the coming weeks.
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