If you were fortunate enough to watch the bouts that made up the UFC 142 main card in Brazil, it’s more than likely you agree that the pay per view did not disappoint. Let’s go through the highlights that made this event a great one to be the first of 2012.

Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim

A bout between Brazil’s own Edson Barboza and British fighter Terry Etim teed off the main card. At the beginning of the first round Etim came out aggressive and went for a takedown, which Barboza successfully shook off. After an effectively executed takedown by Etim, Barboza managed to get the bout back to the feet, as he continued to do throughout the fight. Although Etim was able to land some notable strikes in the first two rounds, Barboza’s leg kicks, takedown defence and ability to quickly bring the fight back to the feet, had the first two rounds scored in his favour.

It was the third round in which Barboza made UFC history. Seemingly out of nowhere, Barboza spun around landing a wheel kick to the face of Terry Etim, who was immediately knocked out, even before hitting the mat!

Although this event was the first of 2012, it’s more than likely we may have already witnessed the knockout of the year.

Erick Silva vs Carlo Prater

Following Barboza’s spectacular knockout, was a bout between rising prospect Erick Silva and Carlo Prater. After Silva landed a knee to the body of Prater, who as a result, went down, Silva attacked with a series of hammer fists. The fight was ended just 29 seconds into the first round.

However, to the disappointment of many, including Joe Rogan, referee Mario Yamasaki stated that Silva had landed illegal punches to the head, consequently resulting in the disqualification of Erick Silva. With that, Prater was given the win.

Joe Rogan was openly expressive of his discontent with Yamasaki’s call after the bout. The fact he disagreed with the disqualification was made obvious as he questioned Yamasaki during a spontaneous interview while viewing a replay of the fight. Yamasaki responded by saying he made the call in the moment, emphasizing how referees don’t have the leisure of reviewing replays prior to making calls.

Joe Rogan was not alone in expressing his discontent towards the disqualification, shortly after Silva’s disqualification, Dana White tweeted “BS call for Silva”.

Perhaps the UFC should instil a system in which officials are given the opportunity to review fight replays prior to making such calls, to avoid unnecessary controversy.

Whether you agree with Yamasaki’s call or not, Erick Silva undoubtedly remains a rising prospect in the welterweight division.

Rousimar Palhares vs Mike Massenzio

Next up was Rousimar Palhares against Mike Massenzio. Palhares further solidified his reputation as a dangerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, after pulling guard directly into a heel hook, forcing Massenzio to tap at 1:03 of the first round. With that win, Palhares is now on a three fight UFC win streak.

Vitor Belfort vs Anthony “Rumble” Johnson

After Palhares’ impressive submission victory, it was time for the co-main event of the evening. UFC veteran Vitor Belfort was set to take on Anthony Johnson. Johnson, who was making his middleweight debut, once again failed to make weight. Prior to the fight Johnson stated that medical issues and the consequent need to ingest fluids could account for his excess weight coming into this fight. As revealed in a Vlog of UFC president Dana White, Belfort was to be given 20% of Johnson’s purse for his failing to make weight.

Although Johnson came out aggressive with strikes, he began to focus on takedown attempts early in the first round. Johnson failed to do damage on the ground, and was forced to stand up by referee Dan Miragliotta on at least two occasions. Late into the first round, Belfort was landing strikes as the visibly slowed Johnson dived in, enabling Belfort to take Johnson’s back, and attack him with punches. Belfort then locked a rear naked choke, forcing Johnson to tap at 4:49 of the first round.

Anthony Johnson, who appeared visibly fatigued in the late minutes of the first round, has adopted a reputation for being rather unprofessional, after having missed weight on two other occasions. As a result, MMAJunkie.com was among the first to report that Anthony Johnson has in fact been cut from the organization. Although unfortunate, I believe this cut was deserved. Johnson was well aware of the fact he was joining the middleweight division due to prior weight cutting issues. Since weight issues were the primary reason for this change in division, I think Johnson should have been more professional and prioritized making weight a lot more than he seemingly did.

Johnson’s cut aside, having not fought at home for many years, Brazil’s own Vitor Belfort undoubtedly put on a memorable show for his home crowd, along with everyone else watching.

Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes

Finally it came time for the highly anticipated main event between Brazilian featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and undefeated challenger Chad Mendes. Many had speculated that American Chad Mendes, a skilled wrestler, would utilize his wrestling abilities and attempt to control the fight on the ground. However, contrary to that belief, Aldo put his takedown defence to use, blocking a number of Mendes’ takedown attempts. When Mendes was able to get him down, Aldo was quick to get back on his feet. Close to the end of the first round, Aldo landed a knee that brought Mendes down, and followed with a solid right hand punch, causing referee Yamasaki to stop the fight at 4:59 of round one.

Many have stated that Aldo’s performance has changed dramatically since joining the UFC roster. Among notable changes, was the lack of devastating Muay Thai strikes consistently displayed throughout his WEC career. With this victory, not only did Aldo demonstrate superior take down defence (potentially strengthened through his training with skilled wrestler Gray Maynard), but also displayed his lasting ability to utilize Muay Thai techniques, particularly shown with the knee that brought Mendes down.

Aldo remains the sole featherweight champion in UFC history. The significance of retaining his title in front of his home crowd was well expressed as Aldo sprinted out of the octagon into the crowd to partake in an emotional celebration following his victory.

Jose Aldo (photo from mmasucka.com)

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You can follow Munique on Twitter: @UFC_Obsessed

Quick Results (source):

Preliminary card (FX)

Welterweight bout: Brazil Ricardo Funch vs. United States Mike Pyle
– Pyle defeated Funch via TKO (knee and punches) at 1:22 of round 1. This bout was aired on the PPV broadcast following the Aldo vs. Mendes fight.

Featherweight bout: Brazil Yuri Alcantara vs. Japan Michihiro Omigawa
– Alcantara defeated Omigawa via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).

Heavyweight bout: Brazil Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Brazil Ednaldo Oliveira
– Gonzaga defeated Oliveira via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:22 of round 1. This bout was aired on the PPV broadcast following the Funch vs. Pyle fight.

Lightweight bout: Brazil Thiago Tavares vs. Canada Sam Stout
– Tavares defeated Stout via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). This bout was aired on the PPV broadcast following the Gonzaga vs. Oliveira fight.

Main card

Lightweight bout: Brazil Edson Barboza vs. England Terry Etim
– Barboza defeated Etim via KO (wheel kick) at 2:02 of round 3.

Welterweight bout: Brazil Erick Silva vs. Brazil Carlo Prater
– Prater defeated Silva via disqualification (illegal blows to back of head) at 0:29 of round 1.

Middleweight bout: Brazil Rousimar Palhares vs. United States Mike Massenzio
– Palhares defeated Massenzio via submission (heel hook) at 1:03 of round 1.

Catchweight (197 lb) bout: Brazil Vitor Belfort vs. United States Anthony Johnson
– Belfort defeated Johnson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:49 of round 1.

Featherweight Championship: Brazil José Aldo (c) vs. United States Chad Mendes
– Aldo defeated Mendes via KO (knee and punches) at 4:59 of round 1 to retain the UFC Featherweight Championship.

The fighters listed below were awarded $65,000 bonuses for the following superlatives

Fight of the Night: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Knockout of the Night: Edson Barboza
Submission of the Night: Rousimar Palhares

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You can follow Munique on Twitter: @UFC_Obsessed