UFC Fight Night 28 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned
The UFC's return to Belo Horizonte, Brazil should be remembered for a dismal undercard and terrific main card—namely, the three primary fights of the evening all delivered in spades.
Joseph Benavidez blitzed through another flyweight, Ronaldo Souza unleashed savage fury on Yushin Okami and Glover Teixeira continued his undefeated streak inside the Octagon.
Let's take a closer look at the lessons learned from UFC Fight Night 28.
Timing Is Important
Go ahead and try to find someone on the East Coast of the U.S. who watched the initial prelims—I'll wait here.
With Fight Night 28's earliest fights airing at 4:30 p.m. ET, there's a good chance that very few people east of the Mississippi River even tuned in to Fox Sports 1.
You know, there are other variables in life to consider—perhaps anything from work to a personal life.
Sure, the casual fan doesn't plan on watching each and every bout of a given card. Nonetheless, if the UFC-Fox partnership signifies the continued broadcast of fight cards on weeknights, it would be nice of them to at least aim toward the evening hours.
There Is Such a Thing as Too Many Fights
Perhaps the blanket statement of "too many fights" lacks the necessary nuance—nonetheless, an issue remains.
With Fight Night 28 marking the third event inside of eight days, there's no doubt that Zuffa is beginning to wade dangerously close to events punctuated by a fraction of noteworthy fights dispersed into far too many that are barely worth attention.
Put simply, Wednesday night's prelims felt nothing short of regional level, arguably chipping away at the luster behind the label "UFC caliber."
Even Lucas Martins' brilliant knockout victory couldn't resuscitate the listless undercard—four of the five bouts dragged to anticlimactic decisions.
Though passionate MMA fans will argue that you can never have too many fights, I think it's important to add the qualifier "good" just prior to "fights."
Tor Troeng Has Heart and Then Some
It's a rare thing to see a fighter's worth rise a bit as the result of a loss.
But that happens to be exactly what took place with Tor Troeng's gutsy performance against Rafael Natal in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Dropped with a brutal right hand in the second round and nearly caught in a guillotine in the third, the Swedish fighter just refused to raise the proverbial white flag.
His grit and gumption ensured that, in spite of a decision loss to Natal, Zuffa brass will still be happy with his Octagon performance.
Joseph Benavidez Deserves a Second Go at the Flyweight Title
With a dominant win over John Moraga at UFC on Fox 8, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is in need of a viable opponent.
Enter Joseph Benavidez.
Though Johnson won a decision victory over Benavidez when the two first met at UFC 152, both have evolved immensely over their past few bouts.
In particular, Benavidez's knockout victory over Jussier da Silva inside the first round marked his third consecutive win and second straight knockout.
Sparks will fly when Johnson defends his belt for a second time against a freshly recharged and invigorated Benavidez.
Ronaldo Souza Is a Bad, Bad Man
Beating savvy cage veteran Yushin Okami is no easy feat—stopping him dominantly is a challenge usually reserved for the likes of Anderson Silva.
At UFC Fight Night 28, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza unleashed hell and fury on Okami, with virtually no sympathy for his opponent's well-being.
From the onset, the speed difference was startling—Souza regularly trapped Okami against the cage and unloaded punches in bunches. Worse yet—likely the result of Souza's vaunted ground game—Okami was unwilling to test his grappling mettle when presented with the opportunity.
The end came when Okami, with head held high, was caught by a vicious overhand right—his body collapsed to the canvas as a few more perfunctory shots followed to end the fight.
A five-time world jiu-jitsu champion with knockout power developed just in time for his UFC run—the middleweight division is officially on check.
Glover Teixeira Is on a Mission
In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Glover Teixeira absolutely clobbered Ryan Bader.
The proposed wrestling disadvantage never came to fruition—Teixeira was able to stuff takedowns en route to eventually catching Bader with a savage left hook inside the pocket.
On the other hand, it's probably a good sign to hear his somber, self-critical outlook on his performance Wednesday night—in spite of the knockout, his post-fight interview made it clear that he was unhappy with Bader managing to catch him with a few critical blows.
That kind of reality check is what he'll need if Jon Jones manages to defeat Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.
Though his performance at Fight Night 28 was impressive, Teixeira displayed what will likely be an immense speed deficit against the reigning champ. Worse yet, his predisposition to getting hit is nothing short of a bad omen when you factor in how consistently Jones damages opponents and yet manages to stay safe via his own reach advantage.
Nevertheless, his clobbering of Bader on Wednesday night likely fortified his expected title shot. With a 5-0 run inside the UFC, Teixeira has modeled himself to be a powerful threat in the UFC's light heavyweight division and a serious consideration for whoever has the belt after Jones vs. Gustafsson.
Full Results and Bonuses
Fight of the Night: Rafael Natal vs Tor Troeng
Knockout of the Night: Glover Teixeira
Submission of the Night: Piotr Hallman
Glover Teixeira defeats Ryan Bader via TKO (punches) at 2:55 of Round 1
Jacare Souza defeats Yushin Okami via TKO (punches) at 2:47 of Round 1
Joseph Benavidez defeats Jussier Formiga via TKO (punches) at 3:07 of Round 1
Piotr Hallman defeats Francisco Trinaldo via submission (Kimura) at 3:50 of Round 2
Rafael Natal defeats Tor Troeng via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28)
Ali Bagautinov defeats Marcos Vinicius via knockout at 3:28 of Round 3
Kevin Souza defeats Felipe Arantes via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29)
Lucas Martins defeats Ramiro Hernandez via technical submission (rear naked choke) at 1:10 of Round 1
Elias Silverio defeats Joao Zeferino via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28)
Ivan Jorge defeats Keith Wisniewski via unanimous decision (29-28x2, 30-27)
Sean Spencer defeats Yuri Villefort via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)