Eryk Anders answered the call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, stepped in for an injured Jimi Manuwa on just six days’ notice and took on Thiago Santos in the UFC Fight Night 137 main event on Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It made for an exciting headliner. While Anders showed amazing resilience throughout the battle, he ultimately succumbed to a combination of strikes and fatigue, unable to lift himself off the canvas at the end of the third round.
From the start, Anders looked to grapple, as he caught the first kick from Santos and converted it into a quick takedown. Throughout the first round, Santos did well to avoid the grappling exchanges, sticking and moving from the outside while keeping the former University of Alabama linebacker on the end of his punches. Santos’ striking advantage became clearer as the fight went on, as he peppered “Ya Boi” with a wide array of strikes, including elbows, high kicks and knees. The battle was resolved in the waning seconds of Round 3. As Anders shot for another takedown, Santos delivered a volley of elbows to the side of his head. An exhausted Anders slumped to the mat at the end of the round, unable to stand even with the assistance of his cornermen. Referee Marc Goddard then stepped in and called for the stoppage.
Afterward, Santos indicated that he planned to remain at 205 pounds moving forward and expressed an interest in meeting Jimi Manuwa, who was the Brazilian’s original opponent before he withdrew with a torn hamstring.
Alex Oliveira toed the line against Carlo Pedersoli Jr. in the co-headliner, which came together when original Oliveira opponent Neil Magny was repackaged for a later event. It was a case of too much too soon for Pedersoli, as “Cowboy” needed just 39 seconds to finish him. Oliveira has scored two straight stoppages and owns a 4-1-1 record since moving to the welterweight division.
There was no feeling-out process. Pedersoli tried to control the cage by backing “Cowboy” to the fence from the start. He was first to throw, firing a front-leg side kick at Oliveira. The Brazilian caught the kick and took the opportunity to blast Pedersoli with a vicious right hand before driving him to the mat. Oliveira followed with a barrage of punches, as he battered Pedersoli unconscious before referee Jerin Velel arrived on the scene.
Before exiting the cage, Oliveira affirmed his interest in competing again before the year was over. He undoubtedly has eyes on a Top-10 opponent next.
Mess with a Bull, Get the Horns
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira stepped into the Octagon for the first time since his November 2016 loss to Ryan Bader. At the seasoned age of 42, “Minotouro” was out to prove he still had some gas left in the tank. Nogueira succeeded in doing so, as he took out Sam Alvey with a barrage of punches a minute into the second round to an eruption of roars from the Sao Paulo crowd.
The bout started with Nogueira on the attack. While keeping “Smile’n Sam” on his back foot, Nogueira looked to poke and prod his opponent with clean, crisp boxing combinations throughout the opening frame, trying to establish range and score on Alvey, who was more than game to stand and trade with his Brazilian counterpart. The finishing sequence came just under a minute into Round 2, where Nogueira came over the top with a blistering overhand left that took Alvey’s legs away from him and sent the American retreating backwards on a wobbly base. Nogueira gave chase, and it did not take long for the Pride Fighting Championships veteran to land the kill shot. It sent Alvey crashing to the floor while diving on a last-ditch takedown, as referee Marc Goddard stepped in to stop the fight.
Andre Ewell defeated Renan Barao in his UFC debut, taking a split decision from the former bantamweight champion. Ewell managed to keep Barao on the end of his punches and avoid the Brazilian’s takedowns for the majority of the second and third rounds … Randa Markos and Marina Rodriguez fought to a majority draw to open up the main card. Each fighter implemented a well-rounded game throughout three rounds where neither competitor seemed to gain a significant advantage in any facet of the fight. The result was a draw … Charles Oliveira made history, setting a record for the most submission wins in the UFC (11) with his second-round rear-naked choke on Christos Giagos … Francisco Trinaldo earned a second-round TKO victory over Evan Dunham after landing a perfectly timed knee to the body on the Oregon native, who was coming in to land a combination. The knee put Dunham down, and the referee quickly stepped in to wave off the bout. After the fight, Dunham retired, bringing an end to his decade-long UFC career.