Bitetti Combat 4 review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on February 1, 2010, 2:59 AM
Bitetti Combat 4
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
-Brazilian promotion Bitetti Combat – promoted by UFC veteran Amaury Bitetti (he of the legendary brawl with Don Frye, in my opinion the best fight of the first ten UFC shows) has actually been around since 2002, but after their third show in 2004 they seemingly stopped promoting. The show was revived in late 2009 though, when Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral got involved with Bitetti and announced Bitetti Combat 4, the idea being to bring in some of Brazil’s top MMA fighters in order to get more people in the city into martial arts. Originally it was set to feature Vitor Belfort and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, but those two ended up signing with the UFC, leaving the show with a still-strong roster featuring top Brazilian fighters Pedro Rizzo, Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua, Paulo Filho, and - in his comeback following over two years away from fighting – Ricardo Arona. I ended up downloading the show mainly to see Arona and Filho’s fights, but also because Brazil is such a hotbed for talent, you never know when you might stumble upon the next big thing. The downside? The whole show is in Portuguese. Eh, no big deal – I’ve reviewed Shooto before which was completely in Japanese!
-No clue who the announcers are, of course, as it’s all in Portuguese. And I don’t know if it’s just my download or if all of this aired on TV, but there’s a TON of filler before the fights start. Like, over an hours worth. I’m talking grappling demos, interviews, crowd shots, the works.
Not heard of either of these guys, but Pimentel was 8-0 coming in while Correa was 1-1, so I guess Pimentel would’ve been the big favourite. Worth noting that Renzo Gracie is the referee for this one.
Round One and Correa begins with some awkward-looking strikes, before Pimentel gets a takedown. Correa tries for an oma plata and it looks pretty deep, but Pimentel escapes and ends up in the full guard. He works to pass and gets to side mount for a second before almost putting himself in a triangle. He works free of that though and winds up back in the guard, where he drops some short punches. Nothing happens for a while and the crowd even sound a bit restless. Renzo needs to stand these guys, stat. Looks like Correa might be cut though. Renzo indeed does stand them and Correa stuffs a takedown this time, forcing Pimentel into the fence. Takedown from Pimentel has the crowd booing, but this time he opens up with some punches before the bell sounds to end the round.
2nd round and Pimentel drops him with a left hook, pounces and jumps directly into mount. Whoa. Big punches land for him as Correa covers up, I guess Pimentel was just warming up in the first or something. The armbar is wide open here too but Correa’s too close to the fence for Pimentel to go for it, and sure enough Correa manages to push off the cage with his feet and explode to standing. He swings for the fences, but gets taken down again into the guard. Pimentel stacks up to drop some punches down and then stands to work a guard pass, taking an upkick or two in the process. He ends up back inside the guard. Pimentel works to pass and gets to full mount again, but Correa manages to hold on and not take too much damage. Arm triangle attempt from Pimentel and it looks locked up, but Correa grabs his hands together to defend it and he’s got half-guard back too which helps. Pimentel gives it up and looks to go back to full mount. Hip escape from Correa puts him back in full guard though, where he continues to land short punches. Round ends there.
Round Three and they circle before Pimentel lands a body kick. Clinch and Correa jumps to guard. Elbows from Pimentel and the crowd are clearly not too enamoured with this one at all. Pimentel does land some solid punches though to be fair. Funny camera shot of Renzo watching from above, and you can tell he’s having this inner conflict with himself over whether he should stand them up or not. I guess the old school Gracie JJ/Vale Tudo side is telling him to leave them alone. Finally though the UFC/PRIDE side of his personality takes over and he restarts them. They exchange some strikes, and it’s not pretty as Correa looks awkward and stiff while Pimentel is just wild. Fight ends on the feet.
This has to be Pimentel’s fight and the judges agree, unanimous decision. Not the most exciting fight of all time though and I’ll be blunt, I don’t expect either guy to make any noise on the international scene any time soon. Though Pimentel did show some potential at least so you never know.
Christ, I hate to think how you pronounce that name. Not Black, dummies. The other guy. Tytschyo’s pretty experienced here at 15-6 while Black has a loss on his record to Edilberto Crocota...and a win over ‘Cristiano Cro Cop’. LOL. Cassiano enters to AC/DC. Well, now I know who I’ll be rooting for. Black out to John Cena’s theme tune. Oh, I take that back. It’s that Ante Up song that has the same sample as Cena’s. No wonder the group were going to sue!
Cassiano comes out of the gate strong, tagging Black with punches before getting a double leg to half-guard. He works to pass that and it looks like he’s going to get to side mount. North/south now but Black squirms back into side mount. Cassiano gets his arm around the neck like he’s going for a guillotine, and sure enough he is, turning Black over and pulling guard for good measure. Choke is tight and Black struggles for a moment before passing out. Ref pulls Cassiano off and Black is LIMP. Well, that was a pretty cool finish.
Dutra’s only loss is to UFC fighter and current top ten Welterweight Paulo Thiago (and it was from an injury apparently, too) and he has two wins over UFC fighter Fabricio Camoes. Nogueira – no relation to the twins or to Pequeno I believe – has been around for YEARS and I remember seeing him fight in a bunch of UK shows back in like 2004-2005 with mixed results. His nickname is ‘Chocolate’, so from now on he’ll be known as Choc-Nog, as I’ve seen some people call Lil’ Nog ‘Rog-Nog’ before. Referee here is UFC veteran and BJJ black belt Roan Carneiro.
We begin and Dutra lunges in with a left hook that backs Choc-Nog up. Choc-Nog comes back with a lunging punch of his own that Dutra side-steps, almost causing Choc-Nog to fall off balance. Nogueira in with punches and they clinch up, and he muscles Dutra to his back in a full guard. He stands to attempt a guard pass, then grabs the head to try for a guillotine, but Dutra pops his head free and takes the opportunity to reverse and get on top in the guard. Dutra lands with some really solid, clubbing punches from inside the guard and then he works into half-guard, still landing punches too. Dutra is just lighting him up on the ground here. Punches continue to rain down and then four or five HEAVY left hands knock Choc-Nog into the zombie realm and the ref stops it there.
Dutra clearly has potential and to see him surface in a bigger promotion in 2010 would not surprise me. Once he got on top of Nogueira he really opened up with punches and packed some serious power into his shots. Fun little fight.
Texeira is a guy I’m surprised hasn’t wound up in UFC or Strike Force or something big yet as he’s been around for a while, is a strong BJJ black belt and a very good striker too, and he’s got wins over Matt Horwich, Sokoudjou and Jorge Oliveira. I believe at one point he was training with Chuck Liddell, too. So no idea why he’s still floating around on the smaller circuits. Most notable things on Nascimento’s record are wins over UFC vets Yuki Sasaki and Roan Carneiro, couple of solid wins there. Referee here is Big John McCarthy and he gets a good pop from the crowd. Texeira out to Simon Says which I still maintain is one of the best entrance themes around.
First round begins and they exchange some punches until Texeira lands a short left hook that looks to have Leonardo rocked. Leonardo drops for a takedown and gets Glover down into side mount, where he looks to land hammer fists as Texeira scrambles. Leonardo grabs a guillotine but lets it go as Texeira pops up to his feet. Good punches from Texeira and he blocks a takedown. Leg kick from Leonardo and he shoots again, this time transitioning onto Glover’s back with both hooks in. Texeira stays really calm and pulls at the foot, attempting to shake his opponent off, and sure enough Leonardo loses one hook and Glover turns him over and drops him down into guard. Texeira works the head and body with short punches, but the crowd begin to get restless and Big John calls the stand-up. Leonardo shoots in again, but leaves his head out and Texeira catches him in a guillotine, pulls guard and just like that Leonardo passes out. Big John quickly steps in to call the fight.
Texeira looked good here like he has done when I’ve seen him before – well-rounded skill set and he stays calm under pressure too. If he doesn’t surface in the UFC or Strike Force in 2010 then DREAM ought to pick him up for their LHW Grand Prix as outside of the UFC who largely have a lockdown on that division, I don’t see too many 205lbers who could beat him really.
Never heard of either of these guys but I think Maldonado is a Nogueira student. Checking their records, this was a rematch from 2004 that saw Maldonado pick up a decision. These guys do not look in the best shape; I’m not expecting a good fight here if I’m perfectly honest.
Wild trading early before Miranda lands an illegal knee as Maldonado drops for a takedown. Referee Renzo Gracie calls time although I have no idea whether he takes a point or anything. We restart and Miranda presses with some more strikes including a decent body kick. Appallingly easy takedown for Maldonado and he lands in half-guard. Miranda works his way back to guard and then to his feet where they resume trading with sloppy strikes, in and out of a clinch. Maldonado is the aggressor. Pace settles down and Maldonado’s throwing punches while Miranda’s using kicks. Maldonado clinches and Miranda’s left eye is a mess, really pouring with blood. Renzo breaks them up and the doctors come in to check the cut. Christ, looks like his left ear is cut open too. Restart and Miranda stuffs a takedown, but eats a couple of punches. Couple of decent combos land for Miranda and it looks like he has Maldonado on the ropes with the leg kicks. Maldonado clinches though and he uses a whizzer to get Miranda down, but Miranda pops back up and almost takes the back as they go down again. Maldonado escapes to his feet and takes another leg kick on the bell.
Second round and Miranda clocks him with a one-two and follows with a vicious leg kick. Maldonado uses punches to get into the clinch, but takes some knees inside before answering with punches. Double leg attempt from Maldonado is stuffed. They break off and the exchange continues. Miranda is landing leg kicks at will. This looks like a TUF fight. From the tenth season. Miranda with a wild swing and that allows Maldonado to duck under and land a few decent shots. Maldonado is beginning to take over now, landing the better shots as Miranda seems to have inexplicably given up on the leg kicks. Hilarious moment as Maldonado catches a kick and tries to sweep the other leg out...but slips to the ground in doing so. Miranda goes down off a counterpunch to a leg kick, but it looked more like a slip to me and he’s right back up trading again. Round ends there. Miranda’s eye looks like hell.
Third and final round and Maldonado’s out swinging for the fences. So is Miranda; just not with the power or frequency of Maldonado at this stage. I can totally picture either one of these guys fighting say, Justin Wren in a sloppy brawl just like this. Miranda desperately goes for a takedown, but it’s all muscle, no technique and Maldonado is still on his feet. Some jabs from Maldonado and then Miranda manages to complete a takedown, landing in full guard. Crowd boo as Miranda lands ineffective ground-and-pound. Renzo calls the stand-up. Good right hook from Miranda and he tries to use some knees from a clinch, but Maldonado breaks off. Takedown attempt from Miranda is stuffed. They trade some more strikes and throw in some taunts too now like a movie scene. Clinch from Miranda but he can’t get the takedown. More trading and both men land. Maldonado hurt and covering up along the fence as the fight ends. No idea how I’d score this. Crowd are popping huge. Perhaps the TUF announcer is there somewhere selling it as an “epic slugfest”.
Judges give it to Fabio Maldonado. Well, there you go. Fight was a sub-TUF brawl with the odd high spot.
Vieira is the guy from Brazilian Top Team who I remember being credited with inventing the anaconda choke during his brief run in PRIDE, not sure if that’s accurate or not though. I remember liking him in his fights there so it’s nice to see him again. Azevedo’s a really experienced guy, fights against Din Thomas, Rodrigo Damm and Hayato Sakurai on his record, but perhaps the most impressive thing about him is that he’s the only guy to have beaten WEC phenom Jose Aldo.
They circle to begin the first and throw some feeler strikes before Vieira gets a clinch and a takedown, passing to half-guard right away. He flurries with punches on the ground although they’re not landing cleanly. Hip escape from Azevedo to full guard and these two are moving at roughly twice the speed of the guys in the last fight. Triangle attempt from Azevedo but Vieira’s too good for that and he flips the legs over and takes north/south. Vieira gets one arm trapped and it looks like he’s going for the Hughes crucifix, but he gives up on that and lands a knee to the body instead. Vieira is looking to mount here but Azevedo is defending that nicely. Not much action to be honest but there’s no way Big John McCarthy stands them up from side mount, thankfully. Knee on belly for Vieira and he’s really looking for the mount. This time he gets it and the crowd pop big. It’s one of those BJ Penn-style mounts too with the legs hooked underneath to keep it tight. Round ends before he can do any true damage or attempt a sub though. Round was all Milton Vieira.
2nd round and Azevedo shoots for a single leg. Vieira looks to defend, but Azevedo drives him back into the cage and keeps going for it. Vieira finally gets tripped down, landing on his back in guard. He goes into rubber guard right away though, looking to control Azevedo from his back. Joe Rogan would be creaming just about now as Vieira has him locked up in what we’d call crackhead control. He transitions off for an armbar and it looks sunk as Vieira turns to his stomach, but Azevedo does a tremendous job of hopping over the top and switching out to escape. Nice! He ends up back in the guard though. Exchange in the guard and then Azevedo looks to pass to side mount, and manages to, avoiding some sort of armlock in the process. Vieira is really good off his back though and he gets back to guard right away. Oma plata attempt now and he uses it to sweep into top position, winding up in side mount. This guy is slick. Nice roll puts Azevedo back on top though, but Vieira catches him with an upkick and I guess it’s illegal as Big John calls time. They restart standing but the bell sounds before anything meaningful happens. That was a great round.
Round Three and Azevedo opens with a pair of body kicks, countered by a left hand from Vieira. Takedown from Vieira and he lands in Azevedo’s guard. Azevedo looks to tie him up this time, and Vieira looks to pass but almost gets caught in a triangle. Scramble from Azevedo and he almost winds up getting caught in an anaconda choke, but he flips over and another scramble ends with Vieira taking his back. Azevedo escapes that and gets to his feet in a clinch, where he reverses a hip throw from Vieira and lands on top in full mount! Short punches from Azevedo but he’s not really looking for a submission I don’t think. Nice reversal from Vieira puts him back on top and he works to pass the guard. Crowd are booing and I have no clue why as this has been the best fight on this card thus far by a mile. Vieira passes the guard, avoiding a triangle, but the bell sounds there.
Decision surely must be Vieira’s; despite some reversals and takedowns Azevedo was outworked from start to finish in this one. Judges indeed go for the Brazilian Top Team fighter. Crowd boo this and again, I don’t have a clue why. Really good technical fight that basically blows away everything preceding it on this card.
This was Ninja’s attempt at a comeback following two disappointing losses at the hands of Riki Fukuda and Benji Radach, although if I’m honest he hasn’t looked truly great since he first burst onto the scene in PRIDE in like 2001-2002. Stiebling meanwhile has become a real journeyman type at this point, which is disappointing in a way as I was really into him when I first started watching PRIDE when he was the ‘Brazilian Killer’ or the ‘Fighting Brad Pitt’.
They circle and Ninja clips him with a right hand. BIG LEFT HIGH KICK suddenly folds Stiebling and Ninja finishes him off on the ground with some punches. Whoa.
Big win for Ninja in about 40 seconds. Stiebling got SMOKED. Whether this is the beginning of a sort-of resurgence for him, who knows? He’s won another fight since though and he’s still relatively young, so it’s definitely possible. This card was crying out for a highlight-reel ending and Ninja sure as hell delivered.
This was a rematch from their fight at the Art Of War show in 2007, where Rizzo had used his trademark leg kicks to finish Monson during a little resurgence for him after a disappointing PRIDE run. Since then though he’d been knocked clean out by both Josh Barnett and Gilbert Yvel. Monson meanwhile had reeled off four wins in a row in 2009, including wins over Ricco Rodriguez and Roy Nelson. I guess the smart money would’ve been on Monson to avenge his loss, given how bad Rizzo looked against Yvel just a few months prior. Bit of a fuck-up pre-fight sees Monson attempt to walk out until someone explains the ring announcer just announced Rizzo, and Monson and his team have to do a u-turn and head backstage for a moment.
First round begins and they throw out some jabs before Rizzo mixes in an overhand right too. He looks far more comfortable standing than Monson, that’s for sure. Jabbing exchange continues and then Rizzo lands one of his trademark leg kicks, popping the crowd. Takedown attempt from Monson but Rizzo sprawls nicely. Couple of winging rights miss for Monson. Leg kick from Rizzo. Another one looks to have the Snowman hurt. Inside leg kick follows. Rizzo gets the better of an exchange and avoids another takedown. Beautiful combo hurts Monson badly and he actually pulls guard. Rizzo decides to stand though and misses a head kick before landing another two to the leg. A third one lands and Monson’s leg looks jacked. One-two from Rizzo snaps his head back. Bell sounds there. If Rizzo keeps this up Monson isn’t getting out of the next round.
Monson immediately clinches to begin the 2nd but Rizzo shrugs him off. Both men throw out some jabs before Rizzo avoids another takedown. Why Rizzo isn’t being more aggressive here I don’t know. His sprawl is, however, a thing of beauty. Couple of jabs land for Monson but Rizzo counters with a short right that drops him. Rizzo pounces and looks to finish with punches, then decides to allow Monson up to his feet rather than mess with the guard. He’s still not moving in for the kill though. Joe Rogan always used to say Rizzo with Phil Baroni’s mind would be a true killer and I think that adage is true. Monson goes for the single leg and this time manages to drive Pedro into the fence, but he still can’t get Rizzo down. Combo from Rizzo and he shrugs off another clinch. Round ends there. Rizzo is so far ahead now but it’s still frustrating as I think he could finish Monson if he came out aggressively.
Touch of gloves to open the 3rd and I’m getting flashbacks to Monson’s fight with Tim Sylvia in 2006 as they circle around with practically nothing happening outside of Rizzo defending the takedown. At one point Monson gets him down to one knee, but it’s no good as Rizzo works back to his feet. Monson is looking like he’s running out of gas. Rizzo is just DOING NOTHING though. Disgusting. Crowd are booing now as Monson pushes forward throwing punches, but can’t land and Rizzo’s counters miss too. Round peters out like that. Putrid stuff.
Decision goes the way of Pedro Rizzo, but man was that a bad showing in the end. I mean the first round was tremendous for him, the second was fine too, but I have no idea what he was doing in the third. The sad thing is, with the injuries flying around and Zuffa’s sudden nostalgia kick, with an impressive finish Rizzo might’ve bought himself a ticket back to the UFC here. As it was, we got the same old Pedro Rizzo – dangerous as hell but not aggressive enough to make it work for him.
After Filho’s horrendous run in the WEC that was marred by problems with substance abuse, he seemed to have gotten himself back on track with a DREAM win over Melvin Manhoef in July. After that though, he’d been scheduled to fight at DREAM 12 in October, but subsequently went AWOL, with rumors of the drug problems taking effect again. This was his second attempt at a comeback in 2009 then. Most people will remember Schoenauer from his TUF run, but since then he’d fought mainly in the IFL with mixed results.
Filho out to a track from the Conan The Barbarian movie. He obviously loves that film as this is the second time he’s used music from it for his entrance, but this one is a different piece of the score to the one he used before. Sad that I know such things. Filho doesn’t look in good shape here either. Closer to WEC Filho than PRIDE Filho. That’s worrying.
First round gets started and Schoenauer keeps on the outside, circling. Takedown attempt by Filho and he works to get Alex on his back. Schoenauer tries to sit up against the cage, but Filho pulls his base out from under him. Couple of knees land for Filho as Alex posts up to his feet using the fence. Slip from Schoenauer on the way out allows Filho to get back on him and look for another takedown. Single leg is successful and he manages to keep Alex down as he tries a scramble. Schoenauer again works to his feet, but Filho stays firmly on him and presses him into the cage. Alex breaks off but he isn’t really throwing anything of note. Paulo shoots again and winds up in the clinch. Schoenauer stuffs the takedown and breaks off. Front kick from Alex pushes Filho back slightly. Leg kick follows. Another one almost knocks Filho’s leg from under him. Paulo shoots again and desperately tries to get Alex down, but once more Schoenauer stuffs it and that’s the round. Well, that was pretty bad. Round goes to Filho for at least pushing the action I guess, but if Schoenauer really opened up he could probably put him away standing.
Into the 2nd and Alex opens with a leg kick. Filho closes in and forces him into the cage again, but still can’t take him down and Schoenauer breaks off. Schoenauer still looks tentative and doesn’t open up with his strikes though, and a couple of wild hooks land for Filho and back him up. Paulo closes the distance again and looks to get him down, but once more Alex shrugs it off. Same thing happens again as this is just wash, rinse, repeat. Finally Filho manages to get him onto his back, but again he’s seated against the cage and uses it to get back up. Filho drags him back down and then uses the odd tactic of dropping his knee onto the foot. Schoenauer explodes to his feet and escapes. Filho blocks a high kick. Schoenauer just isn’t doing enough standing though outside of the odd shot. Filho forces him into the fence again but Alex breaks off. This is woeful. Again, Filho wins a round he probably shouldn’t have won based on purely pushing the pace.
Third round and you guessed it, Filho shoots for a leg. Schoenauer again defends, managing to escape despite Filho getting him down to one knee. Can you imagine PRIDE Filho having these sorts of problems? Crowd are openly booing now as nothing is happening. This fight stinks. Embarrassing stuff. More of the same follows as Paulo just can’t take this guy down. This is making Rizzo-Monson look like a bonafide classic. Alex does land some shots, but doesn’t truly open up and now we have a delay as Renzo calls time to sort some problem with Filho’s glove out. Nothing happens before Filho forces a clinch and looks for the takedown again. Can he get it? Nope. Short flurry from Schoenauer follows but it’s not enough and the fight ends.
Judges score it for Paulo Filho and he gets booed out of the building. This was just a really poor showing from him – I mean, no offense to Alex Schoenauer, but the Paulo Filho who ran roughshod over PRIDE’s 185lbs division would’ve slammed him to the ground in seconds. Here Filho barely came close to getting more than one or two takedowns and did nothing with them to boot. Literally the only reason he won was that he actually pushed forward, while Schoenauer looked too worried about the possible takedown to open up standing. If Filho had been faced with a good striker here he’d have been screwed. I was a big fan of Paulo’s and still am in some ways, but I don’t think we’ll ever see him back to his PRIDE best again now due to the drug problems he has. This fight was insanely bad.
Interesting fight in the main event with Arona returning from over two years on the shelf following his knockout at the hands of Sokoudjou in the last ever PRIDE show. According to most sources he’d mainly been surfing (!) and grappling since then. He still looks in the same great shape he was in PRIDE though, which is impressive. Eastman meanwhile had washed out of the UFC after a KO loss to Drew McFedries in 2008, and had since lost to Denis Kang before gaining a win in Canada’s MFC promotion. Smart money here – assuming no cage/ring rust – was obviously on Arona.
We begin, and Eastman pushes forward, but takes a hard leg kick. Damn, I’d forgotten how good Arona’s leg kicks were. Eastman keeps pushing, but a second leg kick takes him off his feet and Arona charges in and gets a takedown to guard. Eastman scrambles, but Arona keeps him down and ends up pinning him to the cage and looking for full mount. Into half-guard but Eastman’s looking to post up the fence and escape. Mount from Arona but Eastman’s seated against the cage and so it makes the position difficult. Sure enough Eastman muscles back up to his feet. Arona still has hold of him and forces him back, and they exchange some knees to the legs before Arona gets a nice single leg down to half-guard. Eastman’s seated against the cage again and Arona’s not able to do much with this position. He is controlling him really well, however. Eastman scrambles and in a beautiful move, Arona takes his back with both hooks in, but he looks too high up and almost slips off. Arona regains a good position and then looks to work for the choke, both men seated by the fence, but the bell sounds to end the round. Bad break for Arona timing-wise but that was an excellent round for him.
Second round and Arona circles on the outside while Eastman stalks forward. Nothing happens for a while as I begin to get Rizzo-Monson flashbacks. Good leg kick from Arona. And another one. Arona lunges in with a sloppy punch but can’t close the distance for a takedown. Pair of right hands from Eastman back Arona up and he misses a takedown and gets tossed to the ground. Overhand right misses for Eastman but he grabs a front headlock to prevent Arona getting hold of him. Arona looks a bit tired to me. That’s what two and a half years on the shelf will do for you. Few strikes land for Eastman but Arona grabs him and shoves him into the fence. Knee to the gut from the Brazilian Tiger. Big John McCarthy calls the break when the action slows down and they circle out. Right hand from Eastman again has Arona on the retreat. Odd moment as Eastman lunges in with...something, Big John obscured the camera angle. Regardless, Arona goes down, though it looked more like he was off balance than a knockdown, and they scramble with Eastman managing to shrug off a takedown. Arona eats another punch trying to keep the distance with a low kick, and ends up on all fours with Eastman standing over him to end the round. Looks like he twisted his knee or something as he looks to be in a lot of pain when he gets up, and he was moving strangely at the end there too. Replay seems to confirm that. Much better round for Eastman.
Third round and really, this could still go either way. Eastman pushing forward with punches early and Arona’s knee is clearly hurting him. Crowd heat up big as Arona decides to throw a right hook and Eastman counters with one of his own. Arona begins to lunge in with stiff punches and he’s backing up dangerously straight to avoid Eastman’s. Good takedown follows though and he has Eastman on his back in guard. Big punches to the body from Arona. Eastman looks to post up the fence, and takes a knee to the body for his troubles. Arona pulls his legs out from under him to keep him down. He’s pretty much in half-guard now. Looks like he’s going for a kimura on the far-side arm, but with Eastman against the cage it’s going to be difficult to pull off. Indeed, he gives up on that and lands a knee to the gut, dangerously close to the groin actually. Eastman tries to get to his feet, but Arona keeps hold of him as he stands and SLAMS him back down. Now he’s in the center of the cage too which is a bit better. Beautiful pass puts him in full mount. Eastman is holding on for dear life now. Good escape and he has a butterfly guard back in. Arona passes that into side mount. Punches from Arona as he turns like a clock to the opposite side and then strangely puts himself into half-guard. Fight ends there.
First and third rounds went clearly to Arona, second to Eastman so it must be Arona’s decision. And we have a unanimous decision for Ricardo Arona. I actually thought this was a good return to action for him considering how long he’d been on the shelf. Eastman, while not a top ten fighter or anything, is a solid opponent for someone who hasn’t fought in two years and despite hurting himself in the second round Arona dealt with him nicely and I think he could’ve finished in the first had he had a little more time once he took the back. Latest rumor has him signing with the UFC and judging on how he adapted to the cage here, I think with his strong takedowns and awesome ground control – assuming he stays the same physically and doesn’t pull a Filho – he could be a genuine contender there. Wasn’t the greatest fight of all time but it was solid enough.
-A few replays from the big fights end the show, and then we cut away to what looks like a highlight reel from the Jungle Fight promotion. Huh.
You have to admire Bitetti Combat for being able to bring in a handful of Brazil’s top MMA fighters as well as a handful of solid prospects, and on paper this card looked like a pretty good one, but in execution it’s largely a letdown. Early fights are nothing special really, although Glover Texeira looked good. The Heavyweight fight was mad sloppy, and while Azevedo-Vieira was good, Ninja’s knockout was great and Arona-Eastman was perfectly acceptable, Filho-Schoenauer stunk the building out and it followed Rizzo-Monson which largely stunk too. If you’re a big fan of Ricardo Arona like me then it’s probably worth seeking it out and downloading it. If not, it’s not worth the bother really. Thumbs down.
Best Fight: Vieira-Azevedo
Worst Fight: Filho-Schoenauer
Overall Rating: *3/4
UFC: 104-107, Fight Night 20, TUF X Finale
Strike Force: Miami
King of the Cage: Various shows