Former Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Rodolfo Vieira was one of the biggest favorites at UFC 258.
In the early moments of his bout with Anthony Hernandez, it looked like all would go as planned, as he took his foe down and hunted for submissions. Once Hernandez escaped, it was an entirely different matter. Vieira quickly fatigued, and Hernandez capitalized with a barrage of power punches.
Vieira made it to Round 2, but Hernandez remained on the offensive, rocking his foe with a head kick and a pair of standing elbows. With Vieira fading fast, Hernandez added a shocking punctuation to his victory by tapping the five-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion with an arm-in guillotine choke at the 1:53 mark of the period.
“That was one of the fights that we picked to be a great fight and it was,” UFC president Dana White said at the post-fight press conference. “Even the commentators were talking about, nobody wants to come in and fight this guy. Hernandez did. It was what we thought it was gonna be.”
It wasn’t necessarily what Vieira thought it would be. The Brazilian released a statement via Instagram after his first career defeat in eight professional outings. Vieira called it “the worst day of his life” and was unable to explain why he fatigued so quickly in the bout.
The full statement from Vieira is as follows (translation via MMAFighting.com):
“Guys, yesterday was worst day of my life, it was the worst performance of my life. It was my son’s first time watching me, even though he’s a baby and he doesn’t understand anything, [it] is a good thing he didn’t see the beating his dad got LOL. It was also the first time I fought after my grandmother passed away. She was one of my biggest fans and watched all of my fights. I wanted to come out victorious and dedicate it to them!
“Unfortunately, not everything happens as we want. I still don’t understand why I got so tired so early in the first round. I had some mistakes that I know what [they] were and I’m sure will be fixed, but to get tired the way I got, I still can’t understand. I had a great camp, had the best weight cut so far, everything went well... but hats off to Anthony for the great win, I do hope he gets the $50,000 for the ‘Performance of the Night.’
“I know I still have to get evolve a lot in everything, I never hid that, and train hard every day in search of that evolution. Anyway, it’s in the past. I just want to thank you all for the messages of support that you keep sending, you really are unbelievable. I’m thankful to God, I feel blessed for having the family and friends I have, and fans that don’t know me but still make me feel so strong and important and loved by all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I love you.”