On Saturday, Nov. 9, the UFC held UFC Fight Night 32: Belfort vs. Henderson from Goiania Arena in Goiania, Goias, Brazil.

In the night’s main event, former UFC champion Vitor Belfort returned to the light heavyweight division to take on former Strikeforce and Pride FC title holder, Dan Henderson. Belfort had scored back-to-back knockout wins over former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold and top-10 middleweight Michael Bisping heading into the contest. Henderson, meanwhile, had dropped back-to-back split decisions to former champions Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.

The co-main event featured the original final of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil as Cezar Ferreira battled Daniel Sarafian. Ferrerira claimed the reality show crown after Sarafian was forced out of the final due to a broken hand.

Also on the main card, former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante clashed with Igor Pokrajac, red-hot welterweight Brandon Thatch squared off with Paulo Thiago, TUF: Brazil alum Santiago Ponzinibbio met Ryan LaFlare , and featherweight Rony Jason took on Jeremy Stephens.

The 11-fight event kicked off at 5:15 p.m. ET with five fights streaming live on the promotion’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Six additional bouts followed on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET.

Belfort hands Henderson first knockout defeat

Two legends clashed in the main event of the evening.

After one minute without any punches thrown, things quickly changed. Henderson came forward with jabs, but they were countered by a heavy blow by Belfort that staggered “Hendo”. Henderson tried to get the cobwebs out, but ate a brutal head kick put away the 43-year-old just 1:17 into the opening round.

This is the first time Henderson has been knocked out, and now puts Belfort in line to receive the next title shot at middleweight.

Ferreira edges out Sarafian

In a long-awaited match-up, Cezar Ferreira and Daniel Sarafian finally met inside the Octagon.

A clinch game began the fight, but the referee seperated them which allowed the taller Ferreira to come forward. “Mutante” threw a variety of kicks before pressing his opponent against the cage, but Sarafian answered with shots of his own.

Ferreira opened round two with a takedown to keep Sarafian on his back for almost half the round, but Sarafian returned to his feet to rock Ferreira with a heavy combination. Ferreira took the safe route by dropping down for another takedown, and looked for an arm-triangle only to be broken up by the referee.

Sarafian landed another stiff combo early in the third round, but once again, Ferreira took the fellow Brazilian down. Ferreira stayed on top until another stand-up, but it didn’t take long for “Mutante” land another. The round ended with Ferreira cranking the neck of Sarafian while standing.

In a split decision verdict, Ferreira pulled out the victory.

Cavalcante earns first UFC win over Pokrajac

Light-heavyweights squared off next as former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante met Croatian Igor Pokrajac.

Both men traded heavy blows to begin round one. Cavalcante then landed multiple knees to the body of Pokrajac that hurt the veteran, who fell to the mat with “Feijao” landing shots from the top. Pokrajac tapped, signaling the referee to step in and halt further damage.

This was the first win inside the Octagon for “Feijao”.

Thatch improves win streak to 10 over Thiago

Welterweights were up next as Colorado’s Brandon Thatch took on Brazilian Paulo Thiago.

Thatch continued to ride his momentum with another first round stoppage by landing a perfectly-timed knee to the body of Thiago that dropped his opponent. With Thatch looking to land punches, Thiago tapped due to strikes at the 2:10 mark.

Thatch has now won his last 10 fights dating back to 2008.

LaFlare decisions Ponzinibbio

Ryan LaFlare and Santiago Ponzinibbio met face to face on the main card in Brazil.

LaFlare began the first round by controlling his opponent. With a successful takedown, he was able to smother Ponzinibbio to begin working his ground and pound, then transitioned to an armbar attempt. Ponzinibbio scrambled out, but still found himself on his back with LaFlare on top.

In round two, LaFlare continued to chip at the Brazilian on the feet. But Ponzinibbio picked up the pace by landed solid strikes, only to be countered by LaFlare with a takedown after standing and exchanging.

LaFlare stuck to his game plan by adding another takedown to his total in the third round. While in side control, the American landed short elbows until Ponzinibbio returned to his feet. LaFlare landed a big knee that dropped Ponzinibbio, and after he couldn’t finish, Ponzinibbio landed a wild hook that hurt LaFlare. In the end, the fight would go to the judges’ scorecards.

All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for LaFlare.

Stephens stuns Jason with head kick

The night couldn’t have gone any better for Jeremy Stephens.

In the opening bout of the main card, “Lil Heathen” took on Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner Rony Jason in a fight with fireworks written all over it. The fight didn’t disappoint as 40 seconds in, Stephens landed a perfectly-timed head kick to knock Jason out followed by a punch to an already stunned Brazilian.

Stephens is now 2-0 at 145 pounds.

Preliminary Card Summary

Heavy-handed Sam Sicilia traveled to the home country of Godofredo Pepey in a must-win situation. Sicilia avoided a three-fight skid by stopping Pepey in the opening round with ground and pound punches to close out the online prelims that featured five stoppages.

Russian Omari Akhmedov improved his undefeated record to 12-0 on Saturday. Akhmedov silenced the Brazilian crowd by knocking out Thiago Perpetuo in the first round of a fast-paced fight.

Veteran Thiago Tavares returned to Brazil following a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov to face Justin Salas. In the first round, Tavares locked up a rear-naked choke in the first round to bounce back in front of the home crowd.

Brazil’s own Adriano Martins made his Octagon debut on Saturday, submitting Daron Cruickshank with a slick armbar at 2:29 of the second round that quickly forced Cruickshank to tap.

Two flyweights seeking their first UFC win kicked off the fight card as Dustin Ortiz made his debut against Brazilian Jose Maria Tome. Tome ended the opening two rounds with guillotine attempts, but in the third, Ortiz took over. After taking his opponent to the ground, Ortiz finished Tome via TKO due to punches.

FULL RESULTS
Vitor Belfort def. Dan Henderson by knockout (strikes). Round 1, 1:17
Cezar Ferreira def. Daniel Sarafian by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-28)
Rafael Cavalcante def. Igor Pokrajac by submission (strikes). Round 1, 1:18
Brandon Thatch def. Paulo Thiago by submission (strikes). Round 1, 2:10
Ryan LaFlare def. Santiago Ponzinibbio by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeremy Stephens def. Rony Jason by knockout (head kick). Round 1, 0:40
Sam Sicilia def. Godofredo Pepey by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:42
Omari Akhmedov def. Thiago Perpetuo by knockout (punches). Round 1, 3:31
Thiago Tavares def. Justin Salas by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:38
Adriano Martins def. Daron Cruickshank by submission (armbar). Round 2, 2:49
Dustin Ortiz def. Jose Maria Tome by TKO (punches). Round 3, 3:19

Photo: Vitor Belfort (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.