UFC on FX 7 Results: 10 Memorable Moments from Sao Paulo
Going into Saturday's fight card, there weren't a lot of high-interest matches for UFC on FX 7, a card loaded with gritty Brazilian fighters and lesser known talents.
But even though the prelim fights dragged the night to a crawl, they were still peppered with occasional moments here and there.
Lots of close fights, complete blowouts and several poor officiating spots were all over the place, with much of the action dedicated to the main card, all building up to a pretty engaging night of MMA.
Read along and watch the highlights as we count down the most memorable moments of UFC on FX 7, from well before the big night all the way to the end of the big show.
Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping Scuffle During Staredowns
Bisping and Belfort could barely keep their aggression in check during the build to their main event title eliminator, and it wasn't more visible than at their standoffs.
At the UFC on FX 7 pre-fight press conference, Belfort "chinned" Bisping, prompting a minor dust-up that looked ready to come to blows.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.
Their weigh-in staredown was more intense but had more words than shoving as Bisping and Belfort talked trash with only UFC matchmaker Joe Silva standing between the two.
Pedro Nobre Fakes a Back-of-the-Head Punch, Ruins Fight vs. Yuri Alcantara
If you're a Brazilian and your own countrymen are booing you as you leave the UFC Octagon, you know you've hit rock bottom.
That perfectly describes Pedro Nobre, an Ultimate Fighter: Brazil hopeful who lost in the opening round to semifinalist Marcos Vinicius.
Stepping for an injured George Roop, Nobre took on the dangerous Alcantara, returning hard shots and surviving one of the wildest kimura attempts in MMA history.
But when Alcantara took his back and started raining down carefully-aimed shots, Nobre complained that he'd been hit to the illegal "back-of-the-head" area. Referee Dan Miragliotta took the bait, stopping the fight as a no-contest and allowing Nobre to wimp his way to the locker room.
Edson Barboza Sidesteps Mario Yamasaki to Smash Lucas Martins
Barboza put his stamp all over Martins' face, but he had to jump an extra hurdle to do it.
Ringing in the new year with his usual bumbling, referee Mario Yamasaki got in the way as Barboza swarmed Martins for a first-round finish.
Still, you have to hand it to Barboza for pursuing the TKO so doggedly.
That kind of win puts the 2012 "Knockout of the Year" candidate right back on the map after his surprising loss to Jame Varner, and potentially in line for a big-name opponent in a few months.
Nik Lentz Blankets Diego Nunes, Draws Huge Boos from Brazil
Lentz isn't winning over any hearts in the UFC corporate offices with his pointedly non-dramatic wrestling attack, but doing it to a Brazilian on his home turf made it worse.
Drawing some of the night's biggest boos, Lentz added another win to his record by controlling Nunes for much of the fight.
Despite moments when Nunes was able to get to his feet and fire off strikes, the match mostly consisted off takedowns and failed sprawls.
That was one of the most one-sided losses Nunes has suffered, but a victory like that doesn't seem like something that'll move Lentz very far up his next UFC card.
Pepey Castro Edges Milton Vieira Via Split Decision
Although Ultimate Fighter: Brazil veteran Godofredo "Pepey" Castro survived to the final bell in his fight against one-time Strikeforce fighter Vieira, it seemed pretty clear that he lost.
Unfortunately, the judges saw something else, with two of them awarding Castro the win via split decision.
That was bad enough, but "Pepey" made it even worse, running to sit on the cage wall like a complete doofus as his own countrymen showered him with jeers.
Not a good look for either fighter (and a pretty bad call by the ringside judges), but at least the crowd wasn't booing Vierira's wrestling as badly as they did with poor Nik Lentz.
Khabib Nurmagomedov Nearly Elbows Thiago Tavares Through the Mat
Nurmagomedov may have built his ridiculously long winning streak on the backs of overmatched Russian journeymen and prospects, but he's earned his stripes.
After playing a tense, dangerous game of "who can land the first knockout punch" with Tavares, Nurmagomedov clipped his foe with an uppercut-and-right-hook to start the beginning of the end.
Tavares crashed to the ground, followed by a hailstorm of elbows as "The Eagle" swooped in and landed elbow after elbow after elbow.
And then the elbows continued.
Finally, referee Dan Miragliotta decided to stop checking his nails and put an end to the assault, with Tavares left on the Octagon floor in a broken heap.
It was a gruesome end to a brilliant sequence from Nurmagomedov, as his 22 total strikes put him at a perfect 3-0 winning streak in the UFC and a step closer to the top of the lightweight division.
Gabriel Gonzaga Submits Ben Rothwell Via Guillotine Choke
Rothwell looked slim, trim and more than ready to put a hurting on Gonzaga as he walked into the Octagon on Saturday night.
Too bad he didn't count on Gonzaga dominating him in the first round.
Right from the start, "Napao" pushed for takedowns and grappling control, backing Rothwell up and tagging him with solid punches.
Rothwell tried to reverse the momentum in the second round, but a failed takedown of his own spelled nothing but doom. Gonzaga sensed an opportunity, snatching a standing guillotine choke and dragging his opponent to the cage floor for the quick tapout.
C.B. Dollaway Snatches a Win Away from Daniel Sarafian
Sarafian looked absolutely hulkish in the early moments of his fight with Dollaway, but the Ultimate Fighter 7 veteran gritted his way to the scorecards in an exciting battle.
Eating punch after punch to the grill, Dollaway pushed through a poor first round and capitalized as Sarafian gassed in the second.
Dollaway even came close to finishing the fight early, dropping his foe and swarming him with hammerfists, literally seconds away from victory before being stopped by the bell.
It was the third round that proved to be the most contentious, though, as Dollaway pushed a controlling wrestling game before getting swept by Sarafian, yet reversing and working just enough to steal a hard-fought victory from the jaws of defeat.
Needless to say, the crowd wasn't happy.
As Dollaway tried his best to answer interview questions from Jon Anik, the crowd booed so loudly he couldn't even be heard on the microphone during his post-fight interview
Vitor Belfort Clips Michael Bisping with a High Kick in Round 2
Everyone knew that Bisping had to careful of Belfort's hands, but who predicted that high kick?
Certainly not "The Count," as the Englishman found himself stunned and finished in the second round of the main event, his title aspirations dashed for the third time in his UFC career.
About the only strange part was referee Dan Miragliotta's hesitant (and early) stoppage, but a classy Bisping made no excuses.
However, even that didn't prove to be the highlight of the main event, as Belfort took to the microphone and proceeded to make headlines around the MMA world.
Vitor Belfort Calls Sonnen a Clown, Calls Out Jon Jones for a Rematch
Since a rematch with reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva was off the table, Belfort set his sights a little bit higher.
Calling out Ultimate Fighter 17 coach Sonnen as a "clown," Belfort implored UFC president Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta to give him a rematch against Jon Jones and boot the American Gangster out of his UFC 159 title fight.
To put it mildly, Jones didn't seem impressed with the challenge.
Sonnen, on the other hand, declared on the Fuel TV post-fight broadcast that he would "gladly" arrange a meeting between Belfort and Jesus after "taking care" of Jones.
That's a pretty big claim, especially since Sonnen is a clear underdog to the light heavyweight champion.
But nonetheless, Belfort's rant pretty clearly established that he's ready to go back to 205 pounds at a moment's notice, where he clearly wants to finish what he started with Jones' arm.