Nik Lentz (right) moved to 3-0 at 145 pounds. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
The beat goes on for Nik Lentz.
Relentless clinches, takedowns and heavy ground-and-pound carried Lentz to a unanimous decision over Nova Uniao’s Hacran Dias at UFC on FX 8 “Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. All three cageside judges scored it for Lentz (24-5-2, 8-2-1 UFC) -- 28-27, 29-28 and 29-28 -- as he improved to 3-0 as a featherweight.
Lentz, who stepped in on short notice for the injured Manny Gamburyan, did his best work in round two, where he floored the Brazilian with a knee, transitioned to his back an unleashed a stream of punches and elbows. The American Top Team representative grinded away at Dias (22-1-1, 1-1 UFC) for much of the frame, moving to full mount in the closing seconds.
Down two rounds to none, Dias fought with desperate purpose in the third, where he drilled Lentz with lefts and rights, secured a takedown of his own and threatened the El Paso, Texas, native with an arm-triangle choke from half guard. Lentz escaped, eventually returned to his feet and survived the Brazilian’s last-gasp efforts.
Trinaldo Arm-Triangle Choke Finishes Rio
“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 quarterfinalist Francisco Trinaldo submitted Mike Rio with a first-round arm-triangle choke from half guard in the first round of their undercard matchup at 155 pounds. Trinaldo (13-2, 3-1 UFC) coaxed the tapout 3:08 into round one.
Rio (9-2, 1-1 UFC) scored first, delivering a takedown inside the first minute. From there, the Brazilian took over. He struck for a takedown of his own, set up in half guard and went to work on the choke. The squeeze was slow but precise. Having done nothing to defend the hold, Rio asked out of the match.
“Massaranduba” is 7-1 over his last eight fights.
Tibau Guillotine Submits Cholish
American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau submitted John Cholish with a first-round guillotine choke in a preliminary lightweight tilt. Cholish (8-3, 1-2 UFC) conceded defeat 2:34 into round one.
Tibau (27-9, 12-7 UFC) controlled the Cornell University alum with takedowns and stout left hands throughout the first five minutes. In the second round, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt staggered Cholish with a left cross, swarmed him with punches and aggressively jumped into position for the fight-ending guillotine. The tapout was Cholish’s only option.
One of the most powerful lightweights on the UFC roster, Tibau has rattled off five wins in his last seven bouts.
Thiago Escapes Previously Unbeaten Prazeres
Constrictor Team’s Paulo Thiago won for just the second time in six outings, as he secured a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Michel Richard dos Prazeres in an undercard bout at 170 pounds. All three judges arrived at the same verdict: 29-28 for Thiago (15-5, 5-5 UFC).
A replacement for the injured Lance Benoist, Prazeres (16-1, 0-1 UFC) was impressive in the early stages, particularly with his leg attacks. He kicked with conviction to Thiago’s head, arms, body and legs, keeping his fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt off balance on the feet. Nevertheless, Thiago turned the tide in the second round, where he dropped Prazeres with a knee, forced him to scramble on the canvas and racked up points with late ground-and-pound.
Round three was difficult to call, as neither man established himself as the superior fighter. However, Thiago delivered a critical takedown with roughly 20 seconds remaining on the clock, perhaps icing the judges’ verdict.
Newcomer Santos No Match for Alcantara
Former Jungle Fight champion Iuri Alcantara flattened short-notice newcomer Iliarde Santos with a first-round left cross and a violent volley of standing-to-ground punches in a preliminary bantamweight encounter. Alcantara (27-4, 3-1 UFC) finished it 2:31 into round one.
A natural flyweight who replaced the injured Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini, Santos (27-7-1, 0-1 UFC) was never a factor in the fight. Alcantara trapped him on the perimeter and fired away with kicks, knees and punches. Santos folded under his much larger countryman’s last barrage, his six-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Maldonado Boxes Past Hollett
Exquisite close-quarters boxing and superior conditioning spurred Fabio Maldonado to a unanimous decision over former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Roger Hollett in an undercard battle at 205 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Maldonado (19-6, 2-3 UFC) -- 29-27, 29-28 and 29-27 -- as he put the brakes on a three-fight losing streak.
Hollett (13-5, 0-2 UFC) started strong -- he attacked with quick leg kicks and a pair of takedowns in the first round -- but faded late, and by fight’s end, he was a non-factor. Maldonado battered the Canadian in short bursts from the clinch, peppering Hollett’s mid-section with effective punches. The Brazilian boxer even mixed in an inside trip takedown late in the third round, as he notched his first victory since October 2010.
Lineker Body Blows Stop Gashimov
Onetime Jungle Fight champion John Lineker won for the 15th time in his past 16 appearances, as he wiped out Azamat Gashimov with a pair of strikes to the body -- one a kick, the other a punch -- 67 seconds into the second round of their undercard scrap at 125 pounds.
Lineker (21-6, 2-1 UFC), an emerging threat in the flyweight division, blasted the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative with punches, knees and kicks on the feet and punishing ground-and-pound on the canvas. He also benefitted from a first-round point deduction, as the increasingly desperate Gashimov (7-3, 0-2 UFC) was penalized for grabbing the cage. It mattered not.
Early in the third round, the 23-year-old Lineker chopped down the Russian and finished him with follow-up punches.
Grappling Whiz ‘Formiga’ Outduels Cariaso
Takedowns and s smooth-as-silk top game carried former Shooto South American champion Jussier da Silva to a unanimous verdict over Chris Cariaso in a preliminary flyweight encounter. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for da Silva (15-2, 1-1 UFC), who has won six of his last seven fights.
“Formiga” ran circles around Cariaso on the ground in the first two rounds, passing the Californian’s underrated guard with surprising ease, all while withstanding two questionable restarts from referee Kevin Mulhall. Da Silva slowed down the stretch, leaving a late opening for his resilient foe. Cariaso threatened the Brazilian submission ace with a choke in the third round, dragged him to the mat and settled in top position, from which opened a cut near da Silva’s eye with an elbow.
A finish was not in the cards for Cariaso (14-5, 4-3 UFC), however, and he could not muster enough of an offensive to procure the 10-8 round he needed from the judges.
Resilient Martins KOs Larsen
Lucas Martins knocked out Arizona Combat Sports export Jeremy Larsen with a counter right hand and follow-up hammerfists in an undercard matchup at 155 pounds. Seemingly behind two rounds to none, Martins (13-1, 1-1 UFC) delivered the dramatic knockout 13 seconds into round three.
Larsen (8-4, 0-2 UFC) controlled much of the first 10 minutes with takedowns, clinches and heavy standup artillery. He floored the Brazilian with a straight right in the first round and had him on rubbery legs with a stout combination in the second, but his inability to put away Martins proved costly.