Do believe the hype.
Warlley Alves employed a diverse arsenal of strikes, takedowns, and ground-and-pound to dominate Marcio Alexandre Jr. in a battle of undefeated middleweights at The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil finale. Alves followed up a massive overhand right with a guillotine that put Alexandre to sleep in the third round. The 23-year-old’s amazing exhibition of skills and athleticism demonstrated why coach Chael Sonnen labels him an immediate contender in either the 185 or 170 pound division.
In the second TUF: Brazil bout on the Sao Paulo card, Antonio Carlos Jr. upset Vitor Miranda to win a unanimous decision. Neither undersized heavyweight figures to be a factor in the division, as light heavyweight or even middleweight looks to be a more natural home for the victor.
In the main event, Stipe Miocic improved to 12-1 with a 34-second finish of Brazilian Fabio Maldonado. The bigger man hurt Maldonado early, strangely backing off when the Brazilian crouched and grabbed his face. Shortly thereafter, Miocic appeared less merciful in nailing Maldonado with a straight right that prefaced obligatory hammerfists to coax a stoppage. The #7 ranked heavyweight, who holds notable victories over Roy Nelson and Gabe Gonzaga, appears an outing or two away from a title fight.
On the undercard, Gasan Umalatov outworked Paulo Thiago to earn a unanimous decision and improve to 15-3. Whereas the Russian likely moves on to a more meaningful fight at 170, the Brazilian’s fourth loss in five fights likely means his UFC story has reached its end. Featherweights Kevin Souza and Mark Eddiva presented fans with a wild round-of-the-year candidate in the first frame of their fight. In their more slow-paced encore, Souza finished Eddiva in a quick-trigger stoppage by Herb Dean that witnessed the third man’s intervention with both fighters still on their feet.
The night highlighting the future left room for a cagey veteran to remind fans that he remains a force. Demian Maia scored an early first-round knockdown of Alexander Yakolev that led to a mount that he didn’t relinquish for the remainder of the round. Maia’s vicious ground-and-pound, which included clean punches and sharp elbows, resulted in a dominant first frame. The submission specialist scored a takedown less than 90 seconds into the second stanza. Yakolev survived the mount to enjoy one of his own, which Maia comfortably defended. Yakolev brought Maia down 45 seconds into the third only to stand up and land a series of thumping leg kicks. Despite impressive strikes by Yakolev, Maia again takes him down, where the match plays out for the remaining three minutes. Maia wins a unanimous decision of 30-27 scores.