Sometimes the bull gets the matador.
Derek Brunson knocked out former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Lyoto Machida with crushing ground-and-pound in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 119 headliner on Saturday at Geraldo Jose de Almeida Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Machida (22-8, 14-8 UFC) lasted just 2:30 in his first appearance in more than two years.
Brunson (18-5, 9-3 UFC) bided his time and waited for an opening. He sent a sweeping counter left hook crashing into Machida’s chin, floored the staggered Brazilian with follow-up punches and then knocked him unconscious with a volley of unanswered blows on the mat before referee Osiris Maia could arrive on the scene to prevent further damage.
The 33-year-old Brunson has posted back-to-back wins since his controversial decision loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 208 on Feb. 11.
Covington Gives Maia Steppingstone Treatment
Colby Covington continued his ascent on the welterweight ladder and stepped over Demian Maia on his way up, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over the 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist in the co-main event. All three judges scored it for Covington (13-1, 8-1 UFC): 29-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Maia (25-8, 19-8 UFC) outstruck the NCAA All-American wrestler through much of the first round, opening a cut below his right eyebrow with a series of clubbing left hands. However, the success was short-lived. Covington hit his stride in the middle stanza, sprawled out of attempted takedowns from the weary Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and picked him apart from the outside. He moved forward in Round 3, pressured and bloodied the stationary Maia with punches, denied his bid for takedowns and made him pay with heavy ground-and-pound in the waning moments.
Covington has rattled off five straight victories.
Munhoz Guillotine Taps Font
American Top Team’s Pedro Munhoz submitted Rob Font with a guillotine choke in the first round of their bantamweight showcase. Font (14-3, 4-2 UFC), who had never before been finished, conceded defeat 4:03 into Round 1, the defeat closing the book on his modest two-fight winning streak.
The two bantamweights exchanged on the feet from the start, Munhoz targeting the lower leg with kicks while Font responded with a stabbing jab and crisp punching combinations. Late in the first round, Munhoz rang the Team Sityodtong rep’s bell with a left hook. A dazed and desperate Font shot for an ill-advised takedown and was met with a sprawl, his situation growing worse by the second. Munhoz then locked in a one-arm guillotine choke, rolled to mount and posted his left hand on the canvas to maximize his squeeze. The tapout came quickly.
Munhoz (15-2, 5-2 UFC) has pieced together a four-fight winning streak -- three of the victories resulted from guillotine chokes -- since he lost a split decision to Jimmie Rivera in November 2015.
Trinaldo Decisions Struggling Miller
Onetime Jungle Fight champion Francisco Trinaldo overcame a slow start to pick up a clear-cut unanimous decision against Jim Miller in a three-round lightweight feature. Trinaldo (22-5, 12-4 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks across the board, as the 39-year-old Brazilian won for the eighth time in nine starts.
Miller (28-11, 17-10 UFC) executed a takedown in the first round and spent more than two minutes operating in top position. Trinaldo shifted momentum in the second, where he lit into the American with straight lefts, overhand lefts, leg kicks and right hooks to the body. Miller seemed weary throughout Round 3, as “Massaranduba” pulled away with an effective sprawl, punishing standup and a late takedown.
In defeat, the 34-year-old Miller broke a four-way tie with Michael Bisping, Frank Mir and Tito Ortiz for most appearances (28) inside the Octagon in UFC history. However, he finds himself on a three-fight losing streak for the first time in his career.
Santos Blitzes, Stops Hermansson
American Top Team and Tata Fight Team standout Thiago Santos disposed of former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Jack Hermansson with punches in the first round of their featured middleweight clash. Hermansson (16-4, 3-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:59 into Round 1, marking the first time in his 20-fight career that he had been stopped by strikes.
The match always had a feeling of inevitability about it. Santos (16-5, 8-4 UFC) chewed up the Norway-based Swede with destructive body kicks and slashing punches upstairs. Late in the first round, he took to the air, connected with a flying body kick and drove the backpedaling Hermansson to the mat with a pair of left uppercuts. Rapid-fire ground-and-pound followed, prompting referee Jerin Valel to act with just one second left on the clock.
Santos has won three in a row.
Returning Lineker Outpoints Vera
Back in the Octagon for the first time since breaking his jaw in a Dec. 30 encounter with T.J. Dillashaw, former Jungle Fight champion John Lineker captured a unanimous decision from Marlon Vera in a three-round bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Lineker (30-8, 11-3 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Vera (10-4-1, 4-3 UFC) was game for the duration but could not match his counterpart’s ferocity. Lineker worked behind his patented body-head combinations and mixed in a few spinning back kicks to the body to keep the Team Oyama rep off-balance. “Hands of Stone” even spent some time in top position in the second round, where he unleashed elbow-laced ground-and-pound. Vera did his best work in Round 3, firing off stinging jabs and kicks to the head, legs and body. His efforts fell short.
Lineker, 27, has won seven of his past eight bouts and owns a 5-1 mark since he moved up to 135 pounds.
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