Vitor Belfort scored another spectacular knockout of Dan Henderson, this time in the first round, at UFC Fight Night 77 in Brazil.
The two veterans stalked each other carefully before Henderson failed to duck a left headkick by Belfort. Belfort followed up with strikes that forced referee Mario Yamasaki to call the bout.
It appeared Henderson disagreed with the call but explained afterwards that while he felt he had the wherewithal to continue, he understood the decision.
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Belfort, Alex Oliveira, Thomas Almeida and Thiago Tavares all earned performances-of-the-night and a $50,000 USD bonus. There was no Fight-of-the-Night.
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MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts.
FABIO MALDONADO VS COREY ANDERSON
WINNER: COREY ANDERSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION 30-27, 30-27, 30-27
WISEMAN PREDICTION: FABIO MALDONADO VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Anderson nullified Maldonado. Anderson used his striking to keep Maldonado at distance, then change levels to shoot in for takedowns throughout the three rounds. Cardio never once seeming like an issue. He used his gameplan to cripple Maldonado. Impressive. Easy decision win for Anderson.
GILBERT BURNS VS RASHID MAGOMEDOV
WINNER: RASHID MAGOMEDOV VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION 30-27,30-27,30-27
WISEMAN PREDICTION: GILBERT BURNS VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: The problems started when Burns couldn’t get Magomedov to the mat. Magomedov used his counter-striking to punish Burns every time he tried to set something up. The takedown defence really was a work of art. Burns just couldn’t get anything in his game plan to work. Magomedov needs more of a hunger for the finish, but ultimately, his performance was flawless.
ALEX OLIVEIRA VS PIOTR HALLMAN
WINNER: ALEX OLIVEIRA VIA TKO R3 0:51
WISEMAN PREDICTION: ALEX OLIVEIRA VIA TKO
Wiseman: Oliveira is able to pressure, use his cardio, and striking to really bewilder someone. He was even better tonight than in his previous fights, but the thing to be cautious of is the ground game. Hallman dominated and keep him on his back for almost a full round. The gas tank never stopped for Oliveira though, as he came out in the third for a devastating KO finish.
#8 THOMAS ALMEIDA VS ANTHONY BIRCHAK
WINNER: THOMAS ALMEIDA VIA KO R1 4:24
WISEMAN PREDICTION: THOMAS ALMEIDA VIA TKO
Wiseman: Almeida has a load of heat behind him, and for good reason. His movement, precision, power, takedown defense, etc. The kid has it all. Birchak went in there thinking that if he pressured Almeida he would be able to get a takedown. Problem with fighters who have that as a plan is, what happens if you can’t take the opponent down. Well, that’s what Birchak experienced tonight as Almeida continuously stuffed takedowns and punished him until the lights went out. Incredible performance by Almeida.
#4 GLOVER TEIXEIRA VS #9 PATRICK CUMMINS
WINNER: GLOVER TEIXEIRA VIA TKO R2 1:12
WISEMAN PREDICTION: PATRICK CUMMINS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Well, this fight honestly shocked me. I know a load of people were going for Teixeira, but really looking at his previous fights and how he doesn’t do well with pressure. The evidence seemed clear to me that Cummins would be pressuring him, shooting for takedowns, and just zapping the energy of Teixeira. None of that really happened. Cummins scored takedowns, but Teixeira was always quick to get up before Cummins could do anything. Teixeira was always pushing forward and throwing bombs with precision. Cummins seemed tired and rocked in the middle of the first round and didn’t recover into the second. Teixeira made it look easy.
VITOR BELFORT VS DAN HENDERSON
WINNER: VITOR BELFORT VIA TKO R1 2:07
WISEMAN PREDICTION: DAN HENDERSON VIA TKO
Wiseman: Well, there certainly wasn’t a load of strikes thrown, but what Belfort did throw, counted. Henderson threw several leg kicks while Belfort remained patient. When he finally did throw a strike it was a head kick, followed by a flurry of strikes until the ref stepped in. Henderson disagreed with the stoppage, but didn’t look like there was any hope for him when Belfort swarmed him.