This past weekend, as UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo defended his belt before 55,000 people in Toronto, a number of the 145-pound kingpin’s Nova UniÃ£o brethren were earning important wins of their own back in Brazil.
Saturday night in Recife, Pernambuco, once-beaten 23-year-old Ronny Marki Sales da Silva (a.k.a. Ronny Markes) abused former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho in the 198-pound main event of International Fighter Championship’s debut offering. Da Silva, the current Shooto South America 200-pound titleholder, repeatedly took down “Paulao” and punished the erratic star on the ground en route to a unanimous decision victory. The loss was only Filho’s third in 26 fights and the win Da Silva’s third to date in 2011.
Hermes Franca’s three-fight comeback streak ended in the co-main event, as the ex-WEC lightweight champ was knocked out 56 seconds into round two by the unheralded Thawa Ril. Franca is scheduled to face Drew Fickett for the Maximum Fighting Championship lightweight title in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on June 10.
The IFC undercard saw 132-pound prospect Rodolfo Marques Diniz and UFC lightweight vet Ronys Torres -- Nova UniÃ£o fighters both -- score wins over Marcos Vinicius (split decision) and Helderson Filhao (first-round armbar), respectively. Thugjitsu practitioner Carlo Prater submitted NU lightweight Henrique Mello with an armbar in just 50 seconds, while Gregor Gracie became the first Gracie to fight in Brazil since 1997 with a 29-second guillotine-choking of Mariano Hinojal.
The day before Aldo retained his title, teammate Luis Ramos notched a pair of wins to take Watch Out Combat Show’s four-man, one-night welterweight grand prix in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul.
Shooto’s reigning 167-pound world champion, Ramos had not competed since October, when a dubious decision loss to Roan Carneiro eliminated him from United Glory’s welterweight tournament. The 30-year-old began his Friday night with a dominating, three-round unanimous decision win against Curitibano Edval Pedroso.
On the other side of the bracket, Team Nogueira standout Andre Santos was shocked by 10-year MMA veteran Mauro Chimento. Although submission specialist Santos scored an early takedown, it was Chimento who laid down the groundwork, throwing up a textbook armbar and forcing the tap at 1:29 of the first round.
Ramos was not to be upset in the evening’s finale, however, as he outstruck Chimento on the feet and applied a suffocating ground game after securing multiple takedowns. Following two rounds of punishment, the exhausted “Xuxa” was unable to emerge from his corner for the third frame, giving Ramos the tournament win.
France Wrenches ‘Hammer’ in Crowbar Headliner
Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Francisco France didn’t need long to apply his skill of trade against “Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 contestant James McSweeney in the 205-pound main event of Friday’s Crowbar MMA “Spring Brawl 2.” The show, promoted by ex-UFC heavyweight Chris Tuchscherer, took place at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D.
After dragging the English kickboxer to the mat almost immediately, the 28-year-old France dropped elbows from side control until he was able to frame up a kimura. Arm cranked behind his back, McSweeney submitted to the lock at 1:35 of the opening round, his sixth defeat in seven outings and fourth straight. France, who came in for the match eight pounds overweight, rebounded from a December decision loss to Keith Jardine and improved to 7-2 overall, with all seven wins by way of submission.
UFC and WEC veteran Steve Steinbeiss scored his second impressive win in a row since being released by Zuffa in August. A teammate of current UFC talent such as Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson, Steinbeiss unleashed a vicious right shin kick to the body which forced Terence Joseph Medrud to crumble and tap out 2:57 into the second round of their middleweight tilt.
On the undercard, Minnesota-based welterweight Indalecio Tat Romero upped his lengthy ledger to 18-3 with a 78-second knockout of Missourian Chris Page, the first stop on what Romero dubbed “the 2011 Mean Bean Massacre.” A pair of women’s bouts saw 125-pound prospect Barb Honchak outpoint Nina Ansaroff and Elaina Maxwell decision fellow Strikeforce vet Shana Olsen.
Quick Hits: Onetime UFC heavyweight title challenger Jeff Monson won his eighth straight on Saturday, taking a unanimous decision over Croatian prospect Maro Perak under the Strength and Honor Championship banner at Theatre du Leman in Geneva, Switzerland. The 40-year-old “Snowman” has recently discussed a move to 205 pounds, but will fight at least once more at heavyweight on May 28, when he meets Konstantin Gluhov at 100% Fight in Paris... Two weeks after winning his 99th career bout, 52-year-old Dan Severn had his 10-fight win streak snapped by Canadian “Vanilla Gorilla” Ryan Fortin on Friday at King of the Cage “Mile Zero.” Fortin, a three-time MFC veteran, halted the UFC Hall of Famer with punches at 4:04 of the third round... Anton Kuivanen, a Finnish-based lightweight who also trains with American Top Team in Florida, ran his current win streak to eight by outpointing regarded Slovakian Ivan Buchinger on Saturday. Kuivanen took Buchinger’s Cage lightweight title in the main event of the Reebok-sponsored Cage 15 at Barona Arena in Espoo, Finland... Fighting for the first time since his August ouster from the UFC, New Jersey middleweight Mike Massenzio pummeled returning local favorite Nate Kittredge at Combat Zone 37 in Salem, N.H. Massenzio threatened with submissions and spent much of the match in rear mount before finishing Kittredge with ground-and-pound at 3:32 of the second period... Unbeaten lightweight “Flash” Gordon Bell submitted the Jeremy Horn-trained David Castillo via twister on Friday in the main event of Fight King’s “Soul of Fight” at the Davis County Legacy Events Center in Farmington, Utah. The end came at 4:08 of the opening round, moving Bell’s record to 7-0...
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