UFC Brasília Report: Charles Oliveira submits Kevin Lee
By: Eric Marcotte
As the effects of COVID-19 are being felt around the world, the UFC held Saturdays Brasília fight night card at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium, with no fans in attendance. UFC president Dana White had been quite vocal throughout the past week regarding the organization’s current plan to go ahead with their upcoming cards despite the pandemic. As of the writing of this report, the UFC plans to hold its fight night card next week at the O2 Arena in London as planned, in front of a full audience, and it’s March 28th and April 11th cards at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, closed to the public. It should also be noted that on this UFC Brasília card, neither the UFC nor the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission tested the fighters for COVID-19, which naturally drew heavy criticism.
The empty arena card was headlined by a lightweight bout between Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira. After a brief stint at welterweight, Lee returned to 155lbs in November and finished previously undefeated prospect Gregor Gillespie in the first round. Oliveira came into this fight riding a six-fight win streak, with him finishing all of his opponents before the third round. Lee missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of his purse. In the co-main event, long-time contender Demian Maia looked to defend his place in the rankings against fellow jiu-jitsu ace, Gilbert Burns.
Commentary for the card was provided by Brendan Fitzgerald alongside UFC Hall of Famer, Michael Bisping. Performance bonuses were awarded to Charles Oliveira and Gilbert Burns. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Mayra Bueno Silva and Maryna Moroz.
*Bea Malecki def. Veronica Macedo by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*David Dvorak def. Bruno Silva by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Marina Moroz def. Mayra Bueno Silva by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Rani Yahya vs. Enrique Barzola ended in a Majority Draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-28)
*Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos def. Alexey Kunchenko by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Amanda Ribas def. Randa Markos by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
*Brandon Moreno def. Jussier Formiga by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Francisco Trinaldo def. John Makdessi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Nikita Krylov def. Johnny Walker by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28 all)
*Renato Moicano def. Damir Hadzovic by rear-naked choke at 0:44 of Round 1
*Gilbert Burns def. Demian Maia by TKO a 2:34 of Round 1
*Charles Oliveira def. Kevin Lee by guillotine choke at 0:28 of Round 3
VERONICA MACEDO (6-3-1, 135.5) VS BEA MALECKI (3-0, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Malecki had a considerable size advantage, yet Macedo was having success getting in close and throwing heavy right hands. Malecki connected with a solid kick to the body. As the round progressed, Malecki was doing a better job of cutting off the cage, and slowing Macedo down with body shots. I narrowly gave the first round to Macedo.
Macedo pulled guard early in the second and was slow to her feet. Malecki stuffed a takedown from Macedo, and briefly landed strikes from top mount before Macedo rolled out of it. Halfway through the round, Macedo looked exhausted. Macedo shot for another takedown that Malecki stuffed once again, and landed a number of strikes from side control. Malecki stood up and ate an uppercut from Macedo. Macedo connected with an Askren-esque spinning back fist and promptly found herself back on the ground eating strikes to end the round. 19-19 going into the final round.
Teep kick to the face from Malecki. Macedo continuously shot for takedowns that got stuffed and would be punished for it on the ground. Macedo is about as tired as I’ve ever seen a fighter. Malecki once again landed a number of strikes from side control before standing up. Macedo landed a pair of right hooks. The kicks to the body continued to be Malecki’s best weapon on the feet. They spent the last twenty seconds of the fight trading with everything they had left in the tank. I scored the fight 29-28 for Bea Malecki.
WINNER: Bea Malecki by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Macedo’s output in the first round was huge, and she just couldn’t keep up that pace for three rounds. Despite being clearly exhausted by the second round, she fought with a ton of heart for the remainder of the fight. Bea Malecki’s body work really paid off, and her clinch work was also effective in the third round. Malecki is now 2-0 in the UFC.
BRUNO SILVA (10-4-2, 125.5) VS DAVID DVORAK (17-3, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
The first round was close, with both fighters having their moments throughout the round. Dvorak went to the body with a kick that Silva clearly felt, alongside a solid combination of leg kicks. A spinning back fist from Silva landed flush. Silva connected with a front kick to the face that stumbled Dvorak, and quickly took him to the ground. The round ended with Silva on top. I thought Dvorak had the edge for the majority of the round, but Silva stole it with that front kick near the end.
Dvorak stuffed a takedown from Silva and landed a series of knees in the clinch. They exchanged kicks to the body. Silva tried to take Dvorak down with about two minutes to go in the round, but Dvorak defended it beautifully and found himself on top in half guard near the fence. Silva exploded to his feet, and Dvorak landed a right hand before the round ended. I had this one all tied up going into the final round.
Silva took Dvorak down and quickly took his back about a minute into the third round. Dvorak spun out of it, and they returned to the feet. Dvorak connected with a solid combination of short strikes as Silva rushed in. Dvorak continued to have success with his knees in the clinch. Silva landed a big right hand as they broke from a clinch exchange, and not long thereafter, Dvorak responded with another combination that landed flush. I scored the fight 29-28 for Dvorak.
WINNER: David Dvorak by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
I thought Dvorak looked good throughout the fight and would have comfortably won every round if not for that front kick from Silva late in the first. This was Dvorak’s UFC debut and he is now on a 14-fight winning streak.
MARYNA MOROZ (9-3, 126) VS MAYRA BUENO SILVA (6-0, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Moroz was chipping away at Bueno Silva with leg kicks and body shots in the first round. She was the busier fighter, but the strikes that Bueno Silva landed were appearing to do more damage. Moroz connected with a nice combination of jabs. Bueno Silva connected with a right hand and a knee and landed a huge spinning back elbow against the cage. Moroz took Bueno Silva down with two minutes remaining, and controlled her for the rest of the round, landing enough strikes to keep her position. Close round, but I scored it for Moroz.
Bueno Silva was aggressive early in the second round and was starting to continuously catch Moroz with high knees in the Thai clinch. As Bueno Silva was really starting to heat up, Moroz took her back down to the ground and began to work from half guard. Moroz was landing a number of elbows from this position, and they spent the remainder of the round like this. Bueno Silva really looked like she had no answers on the ground, and I had Moroz up 20-18 going into the final round.
Moroz was looking confident on her feet early in the third round, really boxing Bueno Silva up by mixing up her strikes to the head and body. Bueno Silva roared back with a hard pair of right hands, alongside some brutal leg kicks. Bueno Silva landed another right hand that seemed to wobble Moroz, stuffed a takedown and started putting the pressure on. Moroz was cut open bad by a combination from Bueno Silva, and her body strikes were clearly affecting Moroz, but she couldn’t get the finish before time expired. I scored the fight 29-28 for Moroz.
WINNER: Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This fight was output versus power, and I found it very entertaining, specifically the third round. Bueno Silva has potential, but it was apparent that she’ll need to work on her grappling, as whenever Moroz brought the fight to the ground, she looked a bit lost. Moroz took a ton of damage in the last round, but I thought she looked decent on the feet earlier in the round before she got hit by those hard rights from Bueno Silva. Moroz is now 5-3 in the UFC.
RANI YAHYA (26-10, 1 NC, 136) VS ENRIQUE BARZOLA (16-5-1, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Yahya connected with a wild superman punch early in the first. The grappling between these two was fun, and they reached somewhat of a stalemate on an early scramble. Yahya followed an impactful right hook with a takedown. While Barzola defended himself well, Yahya maintained control and was looking to advance position for the remainder of the round, and I scored the first 10-9 for Yahya.
Rani Yahya wasted no time in getting this fight back to the ground and began to work from on top with four minutes remaining in the round. Yahya was unable to really advance his position, and with a minute left Barzola escaped from the position and got a takedown of his own. Yahya worked his way up quickly, and they ended the round trading. I had Yahya up 20-18 going into the final round.
Barzola connected with some punches in the pocket that forced Yahya to shoot. Barzola defended this and attempted an armbar. Barzola started throwing down some hammerfists that cut Yahya open, and he soon moved to side control. This round was all Barzola, who dominated the grappling, did significant damage, and shut Yahya out in the striking department. I thought Barzola did enough to earn a 10-8 round here, and I scored the fight a draw.
RESULT: Majority Draw (28-28, 28-28, 29-28)
The 29-28 scorecard was in favor of Barzola. Yahya controlled the action early but gassed as the fight progressed, and Barzola capitalized big in the final round. If he didn’t chase the submission, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he found the finish with strikes. Barzola is now 7-3 in the UFC.
ELIZEU ZALESKI DOS SANTOS (21-6, 171) VS ALEXEY KUNCHENKO (20-1, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Lots of big swings and big misses early in this one. Dos Santos landed a few body kicks and took Kunchenko down with a double leg, which he popped right back up from. They were separated against the cage by referee Osiris Maia. Slow round that was pretty even on the strike count, but Dos Santos probably took the first.
Dos Santos rolled for a kneebar, but Kunchenko quickly escaped and landed a big right hand. Kunchenko landed another right hand as Dos Santos moved in for another takedown. Kunchenko was having a much better round here, fighting aggressively, making Dos Santos uncomfortable and landing the majority of the strikes. 19-19 heading into round three.
Kunchenko cut Dos Santos open above his right eyebrow. Dos Santos couldn’t find a home for much of his offense. Kunchenko was the fighter advancing and finding a home for more of his strikes. Dos Santos took Kunchenko down with about thirty seconds remaining and they ended the round in that position. I scored the fight 29-28 for Kunchenko.
WINNER: Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
I found this fight to be rather slow, and neither fighter ever really let loose. I disagreed with the decision, and I assume they gave the third round to Dos Santos simply for that takedown near the end of the round. I am a fan of Dos Santos, but he has not looked great in his last two performances. Nonetheless, I find it hard to fault any fighter for not being on their A-game at this time. Dos Santos is now 8-2 in the UFC.
During this fight, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that they have revoked the licensing for all combat sports events until March 25th in the state, and the subject will be revisited at that time. This does not currently affect the two cards that have been moved to the UFC Apex. The commission declined to comment on the state of the future UFC events.
RANDA MARKOS (10-8-1, 116) VS AMANDA RIBAS (8-1, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
Ribas found her way on top early in the first, working from full mount, but Markos exploded out of the position, eating some knees to the body for her trouble. Ribas connected with a pair of spinning back kicks to the body that seemed to hurt Markos, and she took her back to the ground. Ribas started to unload with elbows from half guard. This was a dominant round for Amanda Ribas. I scored the round 10-8 for Ribas.
The second round was not quite as one-sided as the first, but Ribas continued to be a step ahead in the striking department. Ribas landed a few more spinning back kicks to the body. 20-18 going into the final round for Ribas.
Markos succeeded on a takedown early in the third. She was bleeding heavily, seemingly from her nose. Markos attempted a heel hook, but Ribas capitalized on the position and moved into side control. Ribas started looking for an Americana and transitioned to an arm triangle. Markos escaped the submission, and Ribas started unloading with hammerfists looking for the finish, but couldn’t get it. I scored the fight 30-26 for Ribas.
WINNER: Amanda Ribas by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Ribas dominated this fight from start to finish. Specifically, when the fight went to the ground, she completely controlled the action, searching for submission attempts and throwing down heavy strikes in search of the finish. Interestingly, she was the first fighter on the card to receive a post-fight interview. She is now 3-0 in the UFC.
JUSSIER FORMIGA (23-6, 126) VS BRANDON MORENO (16-5-1, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Formiga attempted a guillotine a minute into the first round, which Moreno escaped from and began to work from Formiga’s guard. Formiga threw up a triangle and transitioned to an armbar, which Moreno quickly worked out of. Formiga scrambled out from the bottom into top position with ridiculous speed. Few people are quicker in the scramble then Jussier Formiga. They were quickly stood up with Formiga in half guard, which was ridiculous. Tough round to score, but I thought Moreno edged the round out.
Moreno was poked in the eye, bringing a momentary pause to the action in the second. A successful single leg from Formiga allowed him to take Moreno’s back, but Moreno scrambled back on top. Formiga worked his way up and pressed Moreno against the cage for the remainder of the round. Another very tough round to score, but I gave the edge to Moreno.
There was an exchange in the clinch in which Moreno landed a big 1-2. You could hear Michael Bisping’s reactionary yell ring out throughout the empty arena. Moreno defended another takedown from Formiga. Moreno tried to roll out of a standing back take from Formiga, and Formiga ended up in full mount on the ground. Formiga ended the round in a strong position. Nonetheless, Moreno was the more effective fighter throughout the round, and I scored the fight 30-27 in his favor.
WINNER: Brandon Moreno by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
This was a huge win for Brandon Moreno, in a division that is currently without a champion. Jussier Formiga is a tricky fighter, but I thought Moreno was just the smallest step ahead throughout the fight. To Formiga’s credit, the stand-up in the first round was genuinely atrocious in my opinion, but this was another tough loss for him, in a fight where a win may have lined him up for a title fight. Moreno asked for a title shot in his post-fight interview.
FRANCISCO TRINALDO (24-7, 156) VS JOHN MAKDESSI (17-6, 155) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Trinaldo found a home for a hard body kick early. A left hand from Trinaldo sent Makdessi back. Makdessi circled for the entire round, and never really let anything significant go. They exchanged kicks to the body.10-9 Trinaldo.
Both fighters continued to attack the body in the second. This round was mirroring the first. Makdessi out-landed Trinaldo throughout the round with a number of ineffective side kicks to the leg and body. Trinaldo was unable to cut off the cage throughout the round and was not able to land much, but what he did land, appeared more significant then Makdessi’s strikes. I scored the round for Trinaldo.
The third round was the same story as the first two, except slower. I scored the fight 30-27 for Francisco Trinaldo.
WINNER: Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
This was a long fifteen minutes. Makdessi had a game plan of circling away from Trinaldo and slowing him down with leg kicks, and he stuck to it. Trinaldo was unable to cut off the cage throughout the fight, which led to a long stalemate. Trinaldo has won 3 of his last 5 fights.
JOHNNY WALKER (17-4, 206) VS NIKITA KRYLOV (26-7, 206) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Immediate front kick to the body and a superman punch from Walker. Krylov forced Walker against the cage, and dragged him down to the ground. Walker made his way back to the feet, and they exchanged big elbows. Krylov hurt Walker with a pair of right hands, and had him backing up. Walker fired off a spinning back fist, but Krylov ate it, threw an uppercut, and then took Walker back down to the ground. 10-9 Krylov.
Krylov threw a solid right cross and then took Walker down. Krylov was strong on top for the first four minutes of the round, until Walker escaped and took Krislov’s back. He connected with some solid shots before the round ended, but I didn’t think it was enough to steal the round back from Krylov.
Krylov looked to bring the fight back to the ground quickly into the third, but Walker managed to reverse it and landed in full mount. Krylov scrambled back on top. He just pressured Walker into the ground for the next few minutes, and I thought he won this one pretty decisively.
WINNER: Nikita Krylov by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28 all)
It is not too often either of these men go to decision, but it just seemed to be that kind of card. With this decision, this card tied the record for most consecutive decisions to open in a card in UFC history at nine. Krylov wasn’t taking chances with Walker on the feet, but out-struck him during their brief exchanges on the feet. Since returning to the UFC, Krylov has gone 2-2. This was a tough loss for Walker, who has effectively lost the momentum he had on his side in mid-2019.
RENATO MOICANO (13-3-1, 155.5) VS DAMIR HADZOVIC (13-5, 155) – LIGHTWEIGHT
This was Renato Moicano’s lightweight debut, following a pair of stoppage losses at featherweight.
Moicano took Hadzovic down and took his back thirty seconds into the first round. He locked in the rear-naked choke and finished him. Moicano stared Hadzovic down after the finish, they jawed at each other and had to be separated by the security at hand.
WINNER: Renato Moicano by rear-naked choke at 0:44 of Round 1
Hadzovic immediately called for a rematch, yet for some strange reason, I can’t see that happening. There was a clip that was isolated where Moicano says “I wanted to fight more” and Hadzovic responds “then you shouldn’t have submitted me!”. Just a very odd moment.
This was a very easy win for Moicano. In his post-fight interview, he called out Paul Felder on the basis that he’s the seventh-ranked featherweight, and Felders the seventh-ranked lightweight. That’s a matchup that would certainly excite me and a much more sensible option than putting a guy like Moicano against an unranked fighter coming off a loss like Hadzovic. This was the first finish on the card.
DEMIAN MAIA (28-9, 170.5) VS GILBERT BURNS (17-3, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
This marked the 42-year-old Demian Maia’s 32nd fight in the UFC, and he is now tied with Jeremy Stephens for second-most UFC appearances (Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller are tied for first with 34 bouts each).
Maia got Burns to the ground quickly, and Burns defended himself by locking up Maia’s knee. He got up, but Maia pulled him right back down against the cage. Maia took Burns back, tried to transition to top mount, and Burns scrambled right out of it. Burns dropped Maia with a left hook and quickly threw down a barrage of strikes as the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Gilbert Burns by TKO at 2:34 of Round 1
Undeniably a huge win for Gilbert Burns, who became the second man to ever finish Demian Maia. Burns called out Colby Covington in his post-fight interview, which would certainly be an exciting stylistic matchup. Burns is 3-0 since making the move to 170lbs.
As for Maia, I believe he has one bout left on his contract, and if he still plans on retiring afterward, there is no shortage of fun fights at welterweight for his final bout. He is one of the most respected fighters in the history of the sport, and I could see his final fight meaning a lot to a great number of people. I would love to see him against a fellow legend of the sport like Robbie Lawler.
KEVIN LEE (18-5, 158.5) VS CHARLES OLIVEIRA (28-8, 1 NC, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Lee missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of his purse.
Left hand from Oliveira early, as well as a flying knee. They exchanged heavy jabs. Oliveira brought lee to the ground and attempted a heel hook. Lee ended up on top in a scramble, but Oliveira continuously defended himself by threatening heel hooks. Lee defended himself from a triangle attempt from Oliveira and took his back momentarily. Kevin Lee ended the round on top, in Olivera’s guard. Close round, but I gave it to Oliveira.
Spinning kick to the body from Oliveira. Lee connected with a hard right hand, and Oliveira moved forward with a combination of strikes. A big pair of right hands hurt Lee. Lee succeeded with a double leg, Oliveira threatened the armbar and escaped to his feet, but was promptly taken right back down with a body lock from Lee. The grappling in this fight was very entertaining. Lee racked up the control time and ended the round on top once more. I had Oliveira up 20-18 going into round three, but either round could of went either way.
Kevin Lee opened up the third round aggressively, shot for a takedown, and walked into a guillotine from Charles Oliveira. Lee clearly tapped out, but argued it after the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Charles Oliveira by guillotine choke at 0:28 of Round 3
This was a really entertaining fight. Oliveira’s striking has improved so much recently, and he should absolutely fight a top contender in his next fight. I don’t think the winner of Dustin Poirier/Dan Hooker would be unreasonable. With this finish, Oliveira tied Donald Cerrone for most finishes in UFC history and added to his record for most submissions in UFC history. Also, with seven straight finishes, Oliveira is currently on the second-longest streak of finishes in UFC history.
With the COVID-19 disease impacting the world to the extent it currently is, situations are changing rapidly and despite what Dana White may say, there is no sure thing when it comes to UFC events in the near future. We will surely see if there will be any ramifications to going forward with this Brasília card soon enough, and there is certainly a degree of doubt regarding the status of future cards. It will definitely be interesting to see how the situation develops. MMA aside, stay safe and stay informed everyone.