The Brazilian home crowd was elated to see hometown hero Vitor Belfort score a vintage knockout over perennial middleweight contender Michael Bisping.
While the show, hosted at the Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, lacked star power beyond the main event, there were still several intriguing developments from the card.
Check out whose stock went up, as well as whose stock went down, in the UFC after Saturday night.
Vitor Belfort: Many pundits expected “The Phenom” to gas out after the first round and get controlled by Michael Bisping’s wrestling and counter striking after the fact.
Instead, Belfort showed great patience that has not been a hallmark of his long career, punishing the Brit with a vicious head kick before swarming him with punches on the mat.
The Brazilian is now 5-1 at middleweight, with his only loss in the division coming at the hands of champ Anderson Silva (who was in the crowd as a spectator). The only negative for Belfort on the evening was his bizarre request for a rematch with Jon Jones after his victory.
Nik Lentz: The Minnesota native is now a perfect 2-0 since dropping down to featherweight, easily controlling former contender Diego Nunes on the mat.
His power and size have made a big difference in a lighter weight class and his legitimate grappling skills don’t hurt his cause either. Lentz clearly deserves a top 10 opponent after such a decisive win Saturday evening.
C.B. Dollaway: The former Arizona State Sun Devil had a tremendous comeback win over Daniel Sarafian, showing off outstanding heart, a great chin and improved striking.
His wrestling and cardio made the difference in the end and even if the former “Ultimate Fighter” runner-up will probably never reach the top of the middleweight division, he can put on some entertaining fights
Ildemar Alcantara: Accepting a fight with Brazilian prospect Wagner Prado on just a few weeks notice was a gutsy call by Ildemar Alcantara, but it worked out in his favor.
He dictated the pace of the fight before locking up a kneebar in the middle of the second round. Prado is not the talent the UFC thought he was, but Alcantara still deserves some credit for a dominant performance in his UFC debut.
Michael Bisping: This was the third time the highly-regarded British fighter was in a title eliminator fight inside the Octagon and the third time was not the charm.
Bisping was clearly outmatched on the feet and it is a small miracle he lasted until the second round. “The Count’s” poor execution of a game plan in high-pressure situations ensures he will never be anything more than a gatekeeper at middleweight.
Diego Nunes: Nunes was embarrassed in front of his country men against Nik Lentz, having no answers for the American’s strong wrestling game.
Entering the UFC in Jan. 2011, Nunes was 16-1 and looked like he may be fast tracked to a title shot. Just 3-3 since then, it seems clear he will never be a serious part of the title conversation at 145-pounds.
Daniel Sarafian: Injuries prevented the hulking Brazilian from ever making it to the finals of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” last year but it looked like he was well on his way to beating another TUF alumnus in C.B. Dollaway.
However, Sarafian badly gassed after the first round and simply couldn’t keep up with the wrestler’s seemingly endless cardio. An argument can be made that Sarafian should have won the split decision of the judges, but the fight should have never been that close to begin with.
Yuri Alcantara: While inconsistent judging is one of the most common criticisms in MMA, poor officiating impacted two bantamweight fighters at the UFC on FX 7 card.
Alcantara looked well on his way to victory over Pedro Nobre and he took his back and unleashed some brutal ground and pound, only for referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the action due to strikes to the back of the head.
The replay very clearly indicated the punches landed to the side of the head, but the bad call, coupled by a ridiculous acting job by Nobre, led the fight to be a no contest. A very unfortunate turn of events for the elder Alcantara brother, but at least he still received his win bonus for his efforts.