UFC 153 offered up a number of compelling contests, many of which came prior to the main broadcast during the oftentimes overlooked prelims—yet more evidence of why people should always tune in early on fight night.
Indeed, three of the fights were amongst the most exciting of the entire evening.
Read on to see how I ranked UFC 153’s preliminary bouts.
An unspectacular affair. The TUF Brazil finalist didn’t look impressive on his first official outing in the Octagon and looked only marginally better this time out.
This bout was mainly notable for the fact that we got to witness Moraes' formidable submission game, as he locked in a slick rear naked choke to pick up his first win in the UFC.
Luiz Cane—or “Kanye," as he apparently now wants to be known—had a pretty horrific time at UFC 134, being the only Brazilian to lose on that particularly memorable evening. Luiz’s belated return to his homeland wasn’t much of an improvement.
Though known primarily as a striker, the Brazilian appeared to have a lot of trouble getting his offense going during his first contest at middleweight.
In contrast, Camozzi controlled the fight on the feet for the majority of the 15 minutes, with the exception of the occasional fusillade from Cane.
A decent contest, but not one you would use to convert the naysayers.
Diego Brandao appears to be maturing—at least as a fighter.
In his previous outing against Darren Elkins, the TUF 14 winner put his full potential on display in a terrific first round.
Unfortunately, he also used up his entire gas tank.
Noticeably more cautious this time out, the Brazilian opted not to windmill in with punches, instead adopting a more methodical style to good effect.
Brandao landed a number of big shots on the teak-tough Gambino and appeared to be on the verge of ending the fight on more than one occasion.
However, his opponent’s uncommon durability meant that he was forced to settle for the decision.
Note: I considered marking the bout down due to Gambino’s ill-advised cage tattoo on his mid-section, but I’m in a good mood.
Joe Rogan suggested during the broadcast that Gleison Tibau should give lessons to fighters on how to cut weight. And it’s not hard to understand why.
How on earth he manages to cut his Herculean physique down to 155 pounds is one of life’s great mysteries. Indeed, Tibau looks like Rousimar Palhares, if he decided to cut down to lightweight—along with one of his limbs.
This was a much better contest than I had anticipated, offering some excellent exchanges both on the ground and on the feet.
The opening duel in the third round was something a little special, with both fighters trading punches like Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama—OK, so maybe it wasn’t quite that exciting.
Still, it was a terrific fight and well worth watching if you missed the prelims on Saturday.
I must confess, I wasn’t at all convinced by Rony "Jason's" performance during the TUF Brazil finale. Fortunately, he showed much more promise against fellow TUF veteran Sam Sicilia.
Both fighters traded heavy shots throughout the fight, each giving as good as they got, in a much higher quality affair than any of us had a right to expect.
Towards the end of the second round, “Jason” connected with a murderous right hand that sent Sicilia crashing to the floor before following up with some brief ground-and-pound to earn the stoppage and the knockout of the night.
Based on their aggressive posturing at the weigh-in, there was pressure for both fighters to deliver on their implied promise.
They didn’t disappoint.
Best known as the BJJ coach for the legendary Chute Boxe, most would have expected Cristiano Marcello to frantically search for the takedown. Instead, he decided to trade leather with the pugnacious Madadi.
The contest was back and forth most of the way, with Reza appearing to get the best of it.
Both absorbed an inordinate amount of punishment, particularly Marcello, who moved and looked like an extra from The Walking Dead after eating so many shots.
Unfortunately, the judges gave what could charitably be called a home town decision, handing Cristiano Marcello the win.
It tainted a fight that was otherwise memorable for all the right reasons.