UFC Fight Night 137 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
Eryk Anders is a brave man.
The first time he competed in Brazil, Anders lost a close and controversial decision to Brazilian Lyoto Machida.
Saturday at UFC Fight Night 137, Anders was back in a main event, back in Brazil and facing a young headhunter in Brazilian Thiago Santos. Oh, and he did it on a week's notice.
Anders said he stayed ready and was thusly unconcerned, but the former Alabama linebacker had a tall order in front of him.
That was just the main event. A whopping 14 bouts, many of them containing local talent with little or no UFC experience, were contested in Sao Paulo. As always, the final stat lines don't reveal all. These are the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 137.
And for the literal-minded among us, full card results appear at the end.
Winner: Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos was simply too much.
The Brazilian called "Sledgehammer" turned up the heat and kept it up, using all manner of strikes to soften Anders over three rounds. Short elbows during a ground sequence piled up the damage to the point Anders was unable to stand up and walk to his stool between rounds. Referee Marc Goddard called the TKO stoppage, and the party was on in Sao Paulo.
Anders is a tough customer and showed it time and again in this main event. He never wilted, and he stayed in the fight despite being at a disadvantage from more or less the opening horn. Santos aims to overwhelm. His combinations are early and relentless. He got to Anders eventually, but it wasn't easy, and that was impressive, especially given the short notice.
Neither man put on a technical masterwork, and Anders was fully exhausted by the end. This was his light heavyweight debut, though the extra size wasn't overly helpful in his efforts to get consistent takedowns or impose control.
As for Santos, this was his 13th knockout win, and he's won six of his last seven. He performed well in this his first UFC main event. What's next for him? Although this was a light heavyweight bout (also his light heavyweight debut), he's normally a middleweight. Could he stay at 205 pounds? He looked good, and the light heavyweight field is notoriously thin. At the same time, he's a huge middleweight at 6'2". Still, 205 might be something to think about.
Loser: Renan Barao
Do you remember the famous scene in Anchorman, where an unemployed, despondent Ron Burgundy is wandering the sidewalks and drinking milk? That's all I can think about when it comes to Renan Barao.
After dropping a split decision Saturday to UFC first-timer Andre Ewell, Barao fell to 2-5 since losing his bantamweight title to TJ Dillashaw in 2014. His last win came against Phillipe Nover in September 2016. He's shuttled between weight classes. In advance of Saturday's bout, he missed weight by more than five pounds.
His performance against Ewell was limp. He seemed unable to press what appeared to be a clear grappling advantage. He was hittable. He dropped his split decision and left.
This was a longtime champion; his named was bandied about for bantamweight GOAT and maybe the top of active pound-for-pound lists. He had a 22-fight win streak.
What happened? He's still 31. He does have plenty of wars on his resume, with a 34-7-1 pro record. Clearly, the cut to 135 pounds is difficult for him, and he's done it many times. That takes a serious toll.
Unfortunately for Barao, after Saturday's clunker, the questions will continue to come faster than the answers.
Winner: The Other Cowboy
It was a short night for Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira. He may not be Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone yet in terms of popularity, but his 39-second melting of Carlo Pedersoli helps.
A kick started the knockout sequence, and a punch that didn't seem monumental in real time but perfectly hit its mark was the finish.
He's a fun action welterweight action fighter. A duel with Leon Edwards would be must-see TV on any fight night card.
Loser: Retirement Parties
Not one but two notable competitors announced before the event that Sao Paolo would host their final fight. For his last fight, middleweight Thales Leites would face Hector Lombard, while lightweight Evan Dunham would ride into the sunset following his tangle with Francisco Trinaldo.
Big respect to both of these fighters for doing more in MMA than 99.999 percent of the people who attempt to make a career out of it. But the retirement fights themselves, well, they were a bit of a mixed bag.
Leites got the win over Lombard, but in news that won't be surprising to anyone familiar with either of these men, it wasn't the most elegant of displays. Leites, a jiu-jitsu ace best known for his almost farcical 2009 title bout with Anderson Silva, controlled enough of the action to win. However, his lead leg took quite a roasting thanks to some Lombard low kicks. It was visibly swelling as the match wore on.
Lombard, who at age 40 is nearly four years Leites' senior, is now firmly entrenched as the guy who spends a round trying to bludgeon you to death, followed by two rounds of sucking wind and hoping you don't notice him too much. For those keeping score, Lombard's last victory came over Jake Shields in 2014. He's not what you'd call elite competition.
Nevertheless, good on Leites for going out with a W.
"I did my homework, and I am very happy to finish my career fighting here in Brazil," Leites told reporters afterward. "I do not want people to remember me as the fighter who finished 50 or knocked out 15; I want people to remember me not only inside the octagon, but as a good person, a good friend, a good father. That's the most important."
It's a nice enough final chapter. Dunham didn't fare as well.
I mentioned roastings earlier. Well, Dunham took a nauseating Trinaldo knee to the liver for a knockout loss. Yes, it was a knee right to the underbelly, and Dunham collapsed in visible pain. One of the hallmarks of Dunham's career was the massive amount of punishment he took in wars like the ones with Cowboy Cerrone, Edson Barboza and Joe Lauzon. So Dunham's loss was emblematic of his career, as Leites' win was of his.
A big tip of the cap to both guys for solid UFC careers. You just wish they had been able to put together something a little prettier for the going-away photos.
Winner: Livia Renata Souza
Wow. Welcome to the UFC, Livia Renata Souza.
Long considered one of the hottest prospects in women's MMA, the strawweight made her company debut count with an impressive, difficult mounted guillotine chokeout of Alex Chambers. It only took her 81 seconds to get it done, too.
If she wasn't on the radar before, she should be now—both for fans and other members of the strawweight division.
UFC Fight Night 137 Full Card Results
Thiago Santos def. Eryk Anders by TKO, 5:00, Rd. 3
Alex Oliveira def. Carlo Pedersoli by KO, 0:39, Rd. 1
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Sam Alvey by KO, 1:00, Rd. 2
Andre Ewell def. Renan Barao by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Randa Markos vs. Marina Rodriguez ruled majority draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Charles Oliveira def. Christos Giagos by submission (rear-naked choke), 3:22, Rd. 2
Francisco Trinaldo def. Evan Dunham by KO, 4:10, Rd. 2
Ryan Spann def. Luis Henrique by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Augusto Sakai def. Chase Sherman by TKO, 4:03, Rd. 3
Sergio Moraes def. Ben Saunders by submission (arm-triangle choke), 4:42, Rd. 2
Mayra Bueno Silva def. Gillian Robertson by submission (armbar), 4:55, Rd. 1
Thales Leites def. Hector Lombard by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Luigi Vendramini by KO, 1:20, Rd. 2
Livia Renata Souza def. Alex Chambers by submission (mounted guillotine choke), 1:21, Rd. 1