Royler Gracie's MMA career ended with a loss to Masakatsu Ueda Wednesday night in Manaus. | Photo: Marcelo Alonso
It was an emotional Thursday night in the Amazon for the Gracie family.
With brother Royce Gracie in his corner and his daughters crying at ringside, 45-year-old Royler Gracie made the walk to the cage for the very last time in his career, where he lost to former Shooto world champion Masakatsu Ueda in the main event of Amazon Forest Combat at Amadeu Teixeira Gymnasium in Manaus.
The fight did not have the end that the crowd wanted, as Gracie had very little to offer to the Japanese fighter. Apart from a brief takedown in the first round and the minute of top position that followed, Gracie was clearly outworked by Ueda for the duration of the fight.
Ueda, who jumped up from the bantamweight to lightweight division for this bout, punished Gracie with punches and body kicks, while the Brazilian waited for takedown opportunities. Ueda’s striking and wrestling allowed him to cruise for what seemed like an easy win, having taken all three rounds on Sherdog.com’s unofficial scorecard.
However, iffy judging did rear its head slightly in the main event, as the 33-year-old Ueda took a shockingly closer-than-expected split decision, moving his mark to 14-1-2. No judges’ scores were announced.
“I wanted to apologize for my performance, but it’s hard to do this at my age,” said Gracie following his first bout in nearly five years. “I want to thank the state of Amazonas. Brazil is the birthplace of this sport and we will see many fighters representing Brazil abroad. It was a gift from God to be able to do this and I have nothing to say but ‘thank you.’”
One of the most accomplished Gracies on the grappling mat, Royler exits MMA with a 5-5-1 mark, spanning 15 years of competition.
The judging was more brutal elsewhere, as former WEC champion Paulo Filho escaped with an undeserved draw against 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii in their light heavyweight contest.
While he did seem in better shape than in his previous two fights, Filho was outmuscled by the 24-year-old Ishii for the duration of the bout and didn’t manage to get a single takedown. Ishii’s game plan was clear from the start, as he looked to push Filho against the fence and smother him with punches, elbows and knees from the clinch.
The strategy worked well, as Filho had little offense, was badly cut, and Ishii appeared to win every round. However, what seemed like a straightforward 30-27 decision was announced an unbelievable draw, with boos showering the cage.
“Ishii was better than me tonight. I thought he won,” said Filho, who held up Ishii’s arm in victory after the verdict was announced. “Honestly, I don't think I win this fight. I'm open to a rematch.”
Torres Demolishes Fickett in 47; Fellow UFC Vets Falcao, Parisyan Fall
Don’t make Ronys Torres angry.
The proud Amazon lightweight expected to meet well-traveled veteran Drew Fickett at 161 pounds, but the Arizonian’s weight-cutting troubles let to the fight being contested at 170, a slight that Torres was quick to punish.
Torres landed a crushing right hook and swarmed all over Fickett, demolishing him with hammerfists that forced “Night Rider” to tap out just 47 seconds into their fight.
The 25-year-old Torres, now 22-4, was cut from the UFC following losses to Melvin Guillard and Jacob Volkmann last year. Torres has won now eight straight bouts in less than 11 months, with six finishes.
The night was less rosy for UFC vet Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves, who had his nine-fight winning streak snapped by BJJ world champion Antonio Braga Neto.
After getting a takedown at the beginning of the first round, Braga Neto was swept by Falcao and proceeded to get severely punished for the duration of the round. At the end of the round, however, Falcao, who was released from UFC contract in May due to issues related to a 2002 assault charge, looked clearly gassed. Braga Neto even managed to buckle Falcao with a well-timed shot before the horn in spite of his lack of striking skills.
The second round started just the same way as the first, with Braga Neto getting a takedown and the swept. He wouldn’t suffer like the previous round, though, as the grappler got a second takedown and displayed great elbows from top position. When the opportunity appeared, the Roberto “Gordo” Correa black belt locked up a fight-ending kimura at 4:26 of the frame.
UFC veteran Karo Parisyan also had it tough in the Amazon, as “The Heat” dropped a lackluster split decision to “Ultimate Fighter” alum Jordan Smith after three rounds.
Parisyan repeatedly sought to close the distance on Smith, but was stranded on the outside where Smith picked him apart with kicks and punches. When Parisyan did get close, Smith was able to shut down the judoka’s takedowns and claim top position for himself, even taking the back twice.
The loss marks the third straight for the 29-year-old Parisyan, while Smith, 26, moves to 16-2-1 with the victory.
Acacio Rips Sergio Junior, Prospect Lopes Stays Unbeaten
Journeymen Daniel Acacio and Luis Sergio da Fonseca Melo entered their welterweight showdown both aiming at bigger fights outside of Brazil. However, Acacio is the more likely man to earn another stamp on his passport after knocking ‘Sergio Junior’ out in style inside the first round.
The 33-year-old Curitiba native was up on points quickly, as Sergio Junior was deducted two points barely two minutes into the fight by referee Mario Yamasaki for upkicking Acacio while he was grounded.
However, Acacio didn’t need the referee’s charity, as a massive right hook and follow-up punches put Junior out cold at 2:50 of the first round, giving Acacio his 25th career win in 37 bouts.
Hot flyweight prospect Dileno Lopes was expected to get his first major test against either Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champ Ian McCall or WEC veteran Danny Martinez. However, after neither fighter could reach a deal to face Lopes, the Nova Uniao prospect took on overmatched late replacement Adson Jander. As Jander scrambled from the first Lopes takedown, he was caught in a fight-ending guillotine and forced to tap in just 75 seconds.
With the victory, Lopes is now 7-0 in his MMA career, with seven submission finishes.
Featherweight Marcos Alexandre Campos de Almeida overcame a point deduction for grabbing the gloves of opponent Daniel Aguiar to earn a unanimous nod from the judges.
“Capitao” started slow, but sunk a rear-naked choke late in the first round from which Aguiar was saved by the bell. The jiu-jitsu standout repeatedly went for leglocks over the 15 minutes, but Almeida defended and punished him to earn the verdict.
Popular Amazon fixture George Clay handed American featherweight Anthony Birchak his first loss, submitting the Arizona fighter in the first round. Clay, a 20-year vale tudo veteran, took Birchak down, took his back and sunk the rear-naked choke for the win in just 89 seconds
In the evening’s opener, local Amazon featherweight Rivaldo Junior used his low kicks to earn a split decision over Andre Leocadio.