Wild aggression was Sergio Moraes’ best friend.
The multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion swung for the fences for the better part of 15 minutes, as he eked out a split decision over Tim Means in the featured UFC Fight Night 125 prelim on Saturday at Guilherme Paraense Arena in Belem, Brazil. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Phillipe Iorio and Tony Weeks for Moraes, Marcos Rosales for Means.
As has been his custom, Moraes (13-3-1, 7-2-1 UFC) committed to winging punches with both hands in all three rounds. Some of them landed and many did not, but he nevertheless got a rise out of the crowd and got the attention of the judges. Means (27-10-1, 9-7 UFC) started to counter effectively in the second round and came on strong in the third, where he paired a stiff jab with sharp left hands, moved the Brazilian backward and cut loose with combinations, two, three and sometimes four punches at a time. Ultimately, his late surge fell short.
Moraes has won three of his last four bouts.
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Dominant Alves Suffocates Hadzovic
Repeated takedowns and oppressive positional control carried former Bitetti Combat champion Alan Patrick Silva Alves to a one-sided unanimous decision over Damir Hadzovic in a preliminary lightweight confrontation. All three cageside judges scored it for Alves (15-1, 5-1 UFC): 30-25, 30-27 and 30-27.
Hadzovic (11-4, 1-2 UFC) was a non-factor. Alves delivered takedowns in all three rounds, applied his ground-and-pound and hunted for submissions. The 34-year-old X-Gym rep did his best work in Round 2, where he advanced to the back and alternated between punches and choke attempts. Hadzovic weathered his attempts but had no answer for the Brazilian’s relentless takedown assault.
Alves, 34, has won three fights in a row.
Flawless Mota Throttles Kahaunaele-Stevenson
Tata Fight Team prospect Polyana Viana Mota submitted Maia Kahaunaele-Stevenson with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their undercard encounter at 115 pounds. Kahaunaele-Stevenson (6-5, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 3:50 into Round 1, her five-fight winning streak at an end.
Mota (10-1, 1-0 UFC) cut “The Ultimate Fighter 26” alum with a counter right hook during one of their initial exchanges, scored with a head-and-arm throw and went to work on the ground, transitioning from a kimura to an armbar before her efforts proved unsuccessful. Kahaunaele-Stevenson emerged bloodied but alive. Later, Mota crashed into top position, softened her counterpart with ground-and-pound and climbed to full mount. Kahaunaele-Stevenson then surrendered her back, the choke and tapout following soon after.
The 26-year-old Mota has rattled off six consecutive victories.
Route 66: Alcantara Blitzes Soto
Former Jungle Fight champion Iuri Alcantara disposed of Joe Soto with a front kick to the body and follow-up punches in the first round of their preliminary bantamweight pairing. Soto (18-7, 3-5 UFC) bowed out 66 seconds into Round 1, as the David Terrell understudy suffered his second consecutive defeat.
Alcantara (35-9, 10-6 UFC) stuffed an attempted takedown from the onetime Bellator MMA and Tachi Palace Fights champion, created separation and unleashed a crippling front kick to the body. Soto backpedaled in retreat but could not recover quickly enough to defend himself. Alcantara swarmed with standing elbows and punches, drove the Californian to the mat and brought it to a close.
The win snapped Alcantara’s two-fight losing streak.
Unbeaten Figueiredo Waylays Morales
Marajo Brothers representative Deiveson Figueiredo kept his perfect professional record intact and did so in resounding fashion, as he took care of Joseph Morales with punches in the second round of their undercard clash at 125 pounds. Morales (9-1, 1-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:34 into Round 2.
Figueiredo (14-0, 3-0 UFC) struck for a trip takedown inside the first 30 seconds of the fight and remained in top position for more than three minutes, peppering the Team Alpha Male prospect with standing-to-ground punches, forearm strikes and short elbows. Morales’ situation did not improve in the middle stanza. There, Figueiredo had the Californian on the run with punches, executed another takedown and exacted the fight-ending damage when he returned to his feet. A right uppercut-left hook combination deposited Morales on the canvas, where he was met with a volley of punches that necessitated the stoppage.