Former heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga made a triumphant return to the Octagon, as he submitted the previously unbeaten Ednaldo Oliveira with a first-round rear-naked choke at UFC 142 “Aldo vs. Mendes” on Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The end came 3:22 into round one.
After the two Brazilians circled and pawed, Gonzaga snatched a leg and slammed his foe to the mat. Oliveira (13-1-1, 0-1 UFC), perhaps sensing he was out of his league on the ground, returned to his feet briefly, only to be taken down again. From there, Gonzaga worked around to the 6-foot-7 UFC newcomer’s back, maneuvered into position for the choke and finished it once the opportunity presented itself.
Gonzaga (13-6, 8-5 UFC), who not long ago had pondered retirement from mixed martial arts, had not fought inside the UFC in 15 months.
“It felt great to be back in the Octagon,” Gonzaga said. “My time away from the UFC was good for me. I dealt with some personal business in my life and came back refocused. Before, I was training well, but my mind just wasn’t in it. Now, I’m back, [and] I feel great.”
Tavares Outduels Stout, Survives Late Volley
Thiago Tavares won for the third time in four outings, as he took a unanimous decision from Canadian kickboxer Sam Stout in a preliminary lightweight match. Scores were not announced.
Tavares (17-4-1, 7-4-1 UFC) controlled Stout in the clinch and with takedowns in the first round, mixing in the occasional but effective overhand right. Tavares held his own on his feet, as well, as he countered throughout the 15-minute duel and cut his opponent with a grazing head kick in the second round.
Seemingly on his way to a comfortable decision, Tavares ran into serious trouble late in the fight. Stout (17-7-1, 6-6 UFC) rattled him with a clean right hand with roughly 20 seconds to go and looked to finish, backing up the punch with a pair of right uppercuts. However, he ran out of time in his first appearance since the death of longtime trainer Shawn Tompkins. The defeat snapped Stout’s two-fight winning streak.
Alcantara Streak Reaches 13
Alcantara set the tone with a dominant first round, as he delivered accurate punches with authority and floored the Japanese veteran with a beautiful spinning-back elbow. As time ticked away in the frame, the Brazilian locked Omigawa (13-11-1, 1-5 UFC) in an armbar and wrenched the limb at an awkward angle. Omigawa appeared to submit outside of the referee’s field of vision but was allowed to continue after being saved by the horn.
Though his pace slowed, Alcantara was effective in the second and third rounds, as well. In round two, he knocked down Omigawa with a left hook, mounted him, transitioned to his back and threatened to finish with a rear-naked choke.
Omigawa survived to see a third period and did his best work there, just not enough of it to alter the outcome.
Pyle Blitzes Funch in 82 Seconds
The well-traveled Mike Pyle needed a little more than a minute to put away Ricardo Funch, as he blitzed the Brazilian for a one-sided technical knockout in their brief welterweight scrap. It was over 1:22 into round one.
Pyle (22-8-1, 5-3 UFC) wobbled the Brazilian with a sharp right hand, backed him into the cage and clinched. From there, he delivered a perfectly place knee to the head that dropped Funch (8-3, 0-3 UFC) where he stood. Pyle then swarmed his crumpled foe with punches, most of them lefts, for the finish. The Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts representative has won four of his last five fights.
Arantes Outpoints Shooto Vet Carvalho
Felipe Arantes delivered the most significant victory of his career, as he captured a unanimous decision from Shooto veteran Antonio Carvalho in a preliminary featherweight bout. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Arantes (14-4, 1-1 UFC).
Carvalho started strong with a first-round takedown and knees from the clinch, even achieving full mount at one point. However, momentum proved fleeting. Arantes started piling up the punches in the second round, stonewalled Carvalho’s takedown tries and attacked effectively to the head, body and legs. With that, the tide turned.
Backed by a raucous pro-Brazilian crowd, Arantes swept into top position in round three and let loose with his hands and elbows from within Carvalho’s guard, opening a pair of facial cuts on the already bloodied Canadian. Carvalho (13-5, 0-1 UFC) continued to absorb punishment on the bottom and did not return to his feet until the round -- and fight -- was long gone.