COMMENTARY | UFC Fight Night 36 wasn’t much different from the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s previous event, with only two finishes on the entire card.
Lyoto Machida used the opportunity to strengthen his bid for the next shot at the UFC’s middleweight strap after Vitor Belfort and the defending champion, Chris Weidman, settle their differences on May 24 at UFC 173.
A few others fighters also used the opportunity to cement their standing in their respective divisions, while others weren’t able to get much going.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from the UFC Fight Night 36 card held on Feb. 15 at the Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil:
1. Lyoto Machida
Machida is well known for his low output during fights, but he turned a corner at UFC Fight Night 36. Despite the fact a majority of his five-rounder with Mousasi was spent standing up, Machida entertained fans with his diverse arsenal of strikes, putting a lot more pressure on Mousasi than many expected.
Lyoto kept up the pace for the entire duration of the bout, making it clear the drop down to 185 pounds doesn’t affect his cardio negatively.
It was a dominant performance by Machida against a game opponent, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when all three judges gave him the nod afterwards. The UFC’s brass was just as impressed with Machida’s performance, dubbing it the “Fight of the Night.”
2. Erick Silva’s heel kicks
It’s hard to give Silva any credit for his performance at UFC Fight Night 36 given the fact his opponent, Takenori Sato, was pretty much brought in to lose to the Brazilian. However, “Indio” deserves all the credit in the world for the reverse heel kicks he used to soften Sato up before the explosive TKO finish early in the first round.
If you missed the action, here’s a replay of the unorthodox strikes.
It was a nifty little technique I don’t recall ever seeing inside the Octagon, and it certainly got all the hardcore MMA fans and weekend warriors talking.
3. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Souza passed another tough test at UFC Fight Night 36, using his solid positioning and control to edge out a decision against Francis Carmont. The performance wasn’t enough to leapfrog Jacare past Machida in the race for a middleweight title shot, in my opinion, but it was enough to prove the Brazilian’s days of struggling against athletic wrestlers are over.
Notable mentions: Charles Oliveira, Nicholas Musoke, Ildemar Alcantara, and Gegard Mousasi.
1. Viscardi Andrade
Andrade hurt Musoke early in their UFC Fight Night 36 encounter, but, instead of aggressively pursuing the finish, he elected to celebrate prematurely.
Not surprisingly, that turned out to be a huge mistake as Musoke took over the action from that point, dominating Andrade for the remaining two and a half rounds.
2. Mario Yamasaki
A poor call by Yamasaki almost tainted the results of a rather competitive fight between Maximo Blanco and Felipe Arantes — which was even on my scorecard heading into the final round. An inside leg kick thrown by Blanco strayed from its target and found Arantes’ family jewels, and Yamasaki made a bad situation even worse, taking a point away from Blanco for his first infraction of the night.
Fortunately, Arantes ended up getting the better of the exchanges, edging out the third round, so Yamasaki’s bad call didn’t affect the outcome of the bout.