During the second fight of the UFC 147 preliminary card streamed live on Facebook Saturday night, two fighters from The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil took to the cage. It’s clear that TUF: Brazil has been a major hit for the UFC, with solid competition from legitimate contenders on the show.
Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini (who also goes by just Marcos Vinicius) and Wagner Campos are both Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belts, so it wasn't clear whether this would end up being a ground war or striking battle. Throughout the first two rounds, the fight took place both on the feet and on the ground. Campos was able to utilize better BJJ—including dropping Vinicius when he threw a flying knee that left him exposed.
However, the fight was finished on the feet during the third round, with Vinicius able to land a couple of knees to the body. Once Campos was backed up against the cage following the knees, Vinicius was able to land several hard punches that forced referee Herb Dean to step in and save the stunned Campos.
The fight marks Vinicius’ 20th professional win, and all of them have come via stoppage.
What Fans Will Remember From This Fight
Campos’ high-level BJJ skills set him up for success on the ground, but he was unable to finish the head-arm choke in the first round. Meanwhile, Vinicius was able to actually land upkicks and some hammerfists from his back, cutting Campos open, and did what he had to do to survive on the ground.
Vinicius did enough to survive until the third round, where he suddenly decided to go for broke, and threw another flying knee. This time the flying knee landed on the body, and he was able to follow up with another knee and a quick barrage of strikes.
What We Learned About Marcos Vinicius
He’s a BJJ black belt able to grapple with the best of them, as he prevented Campos from ending the fight via submission or ground-and-pound. Entering the third round, he knew he was down in the fight, and came out firing.
I like fighters that understand they need to get after it, and promptly decide that it’s time to fight back. Vinicius is well-rounded, but will still need to work on his striking and wrestling if he hopes to progress through the UFC’s featherweight ranks.
What We Learned About Wagner Campos
Campos was able to control Vinicius on the ground, easily passing the Brazilian fighter’s guard. However, he was unable to finish any submission attempts, and couldn’t utilize ground-and-pound to cause major damage on Vinicius. I’m curious why he was unable to finish the choke during the first round, as it almost looked like he decided to let Vinicius out of it.
He'll still be able to put most fighters in serious trouble if he can drag it down to the mat, but he seemed to lack a killer instinct required to propel him to the top of the division.
What’s Next For Marcos Vinicius
Get him back into the cage as soon as possible, as he’s 32 years old and may not have a lengthy future ahead of him in the UFC Octagon. Whenever the UFC decides to head back to Brazil, making sure Vinicius is on the card could lead to some great featherweight matchups.
I think a fight against someone like Bart Palaszewski could be fun—Palaszewski is absolutely willing to bring it in the cage, and he would give us a better idea of where Vinicius stands in the UFC featherweight division. If they want to keep him against a Brazilian, perhaps a fight against Hugo Viana would be an ideal matchup.
What’s Next For Wagner Campos
Get back into the gym and work more on his standup defense, as his grappling skills are already at a high level.
Match him up against another one of the TUF: Brazil featherweights, as it’s difficult to see where Campos really stands in the featherweight division. Honestly, I think it’ll depend on who is available to fight, and on what card, as we will have to wait and see how things shape up later this summer.
If not, I’d like to see him fight Mark Hominick, only because I’m curious if Hominick can keep the fight standing and try to turn it into a slugfest.