Arona Outpoints Eastman at Bitetti Combat 4

By Marcelo Alonso Sep 13, 2009
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Ricardo Arona made a triumphant return to the mixed martial arts scene, as he defeated UFC veteran Marvin Eastman by unanimous decision in the main event at Bitetti Combat Nordeste 4 on Saturday at the Maracanazinho Gymnasium.

Away from the fight game for more than two years, Arona looked rusty, even though he declared himself well-trained in the days leading up to the event. Eastman forced the Pride Fighting Championships veteran to work throughout the three-round bout and used his cage experience to his advantage.

Arona utilized his strength to take down Eastman in the first round, but the American used the fence to escape and returned twice to a standing position. “The Brazilian Tiger” closed the stanza on Eastman’s back.

After a productive opening period, Arona had a hard time taking down Eastman in the second. The Las Vegas-based 38-year-old landed several strikes on Arona, which appeared to give him the edge in the round. What’s more, Arona twisted his knee in the closing seconds and had onlookers worried.

However, in round three, Arona showed the kind of heart that marked his fights in Pride, as he came out and exchanged punches with Eastman. Though he may have lacked technique, he lifted the audience by landing some kicks and punches. Arona then put an exclamation point on his first win in three years by taking down Eastman in the final minute.

“I think it was a pretty fair result,” Eastman said. “I won one round, and he won two, but it was a nice experience. I hope they bring me back for the next show, maybe to fight [Paulo] Filho.”

Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com

Filho was booed despite
winning the decision.
Filho Outpoints Schoenauer

If Arona was saved by his physical conditioning and heart, former World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight champion Paulo Filho was saved by the admiration and respect Alex Schoenauer had for him.

Clearly out of shape, Filho spent all three rounds trying to take down Schoenauer. Filho became noticeably winded by round two, but Schoenauer, aware of the Brazilian’s strong record and reputation, respected him to a fault and did not start to attack with powerful punches until the third round.

When the fight ended, Filho was booed by the audience; the noisy boos increased when he was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

“In my opinion Alex won, but he could have decided the fight if he attacked more,” said Sergio Penha, Schoenauer’s trainer. “The problem is he fought against an idol. He respected Paulo a lot.”

Rizzo Snaps Monson’s Streak

Much like Filho, Pedro Rizzo drew the ire of the crowd after he won a unanimous decision from Jeff Monson. The defeat snapped the American’s seven-fight winning streak.

After a decisive first round in which he nearly knocked out Monson, Rizzo limited his attacks in the second and spent the entire third period defending himself against Monson’s takedown attempts.

“I would like to apologize for not making a good fight,” Rizzo said. “I had an injury a few weeks ago, and I had to take a lot of medicines, so my conditioning came down. That’s why I got tired and started to save energy when I felt I was close to the knock out.”

Rizzo became the first man to defeat Monson twice, as he rebounded from back-to-back knockout losses to Gilbert Yvel and Josh Barnett.

“I’ve fought all my life hearing the cheer 'USA! USA!' It’s so good to hear you screaming my name and supporting me all the time,” Rizzo said. “It’s so good to fight for my family and get home a few minutes after the event.”

‘Ninja’ Flattens Stiebling

Unlike his countrymen who won by decision, former EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo Rua left nothing to be desired.

Cornered by his brother, Mauricio, Rua needed less than a minute to knock down Alex Stiebling with a head kick and finish him off with punches from the guard. The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for the 29-year-old Brazilian, a Pride Fighting Championships veteran who won for the first time since June 2008.

“I’m back to the light heavyweight division,” Rua said.

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Fabio Maldonado def. Vitor Miranda -- Unanimous Decision
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