On Saturday, May 14, the UFC returned to what many consider its spiritual homeland of Brazil, as Curitiba’s Arena Da Baixada played host to UFC 198.

In the night’s main event UFC Heavyweight champion and multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion Fabricio “Vai Calvalo” Werdum looked for his first successful title defense against the hard-hitting Stipe Miocic.

Werdum (20-5-1) had not fought since unifying the heavyweight title with a third round submission victory over Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 in June 2015.  The champion was expected to defend his title in a rematch with Velasquez this past February, however Velasquez pulled out of the fight with a back injury.  Stipe Miocic was booked as a short notice replacement, until it was announced that Werdum, too, had been injured in training, which forced the cancellation of the fight.

Miocic entered the UFC 198 title fight on the strength of two impressive TKO wins over Andrei Arlovski and Mark Hunt. Prior to his fight with Werdum, the Ohio wrestling standout and Golden Gloves boxer had gone 8-2 in the UFC, including five finishes.  

The UFC 198 main card aired on pay-per-view, with the televised prelims airing on FOX Sports 1 and early prelims streaming on UFC Fight Pass.


Warlley Alves vs. Bryan Barberena

Coming off of an upset win over “Super” Sage Northcutt, Bryan “Bam Bam” Barbarena entered his UFC 198 fight against Warlley Alves looking to play spoiler to the Brazilian native’s hometown crowd.  In what was largely a back-and-forth affair, Alves scored numerous kicks to Barbarena’s body, while “Bam Bam” employed low leg kicks to keep his opponent off balance. Those kicks, combined with counter punches and effective elbows in the clinch, were enough to convince the judges that Barbarena deserved the unanimous decision win.

 Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Corey Anderson

Despite giving up more than a decade of experience to his veteran opponent, Corey Anderson refused to be intimidated by the daunting career of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. While “Shogun” landed punishing leg kicks, Anderson stayed active with his jab and mixed in some flashy — if not entirely effective — combos. Anderson held his own in the stand-up, but Rua’s patience paid off at the end of the first round when he dropped Anderson and nearly finished the fight in the closing seconds.  Anderson survived — barely. Round two was much of the same, and again “Shogun” nearly ended the fight in the final seconds of the round with a straight right hand that sent Anderson to the mat. By round three, Anderson was more tentative in his strikes and instead decided to use his wrestling advantage.  Anderson landed several takedowns and controlled the pace of the fight, no doubt earning the third round on the judges scorecards. In the end, Shogun’s performance in rounds one and two was enough to take the decision win.

Cris “Cyborg” Justino vs. Leslie Smith

Cris “Cyborg” Justino took years to finally find her way to the UFC, but it took less than 90 seconds for her to prove why she belongs in the world’s biggest mixed martial arts organization. Her speed, power, and technical striking quickly overwhelmed the always tough Leslie Smith who, to her credit, stood and traded with the fierce Brazilian. “Cyborg” dropped Smith with a left-right combo and swarmed, landing several more punches before the ref stepped in, awarding her the first round TKO finish.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Vitor Belfort

One of the few Brazilian vs. Brazilian fights on the 198 card was also one of the shortest fights of the night. From the outset of round one, Jacare stalked Vitor Belfort as the 20-year veteran circled on the outside, trying to give the grappling world champion a wide berth. Jacare eventually dropped levels, shooting for a takedown, and pressured “The Phenom” against the cage. Belfort defended the takedown, however he threw a flying knee on the next exchange, and Jacare took the fight to the ground. From top position, Jacare landed brutal ground and pound, opening a cut on Belfort’s nose. The flow of blood was enough for the ref to call in the ringside doctor to check the severity of the cut.  After restarting the action, Jacare continued to dictate the fight, mixing cage pressure with takedowns and top control. He stacked Belfort and began reigning down ground and pound as Belfort scrambled to defend. Jacare found his way to mount and began pummeling “The Phenom” who essentially covered up until the ref stepped in to end the fight. Jacare walked away with a first round TKO win.

Fabricio Werdum (c) vs. Stipe Miocic

It was obvious from the opening on this fight that neither fighter was intimidated by the others’ stand-up or grappling pedigree. They exchanged big shots in the pocket, Werdum disregarding Miocic’s boxing background with body kicks and Miocic ignoring Werdum’s jiu-jitsu prowess as he landed several leg kicks. Miocic slipped out of a sloppy single leg takedown attempt and Werdum followed up by trying to swarm him with punches. As Werdum pushed forward, Miocic backed up and landed a perfectly timed counter right, snapping Werdum’s chin and sending the Brazilian face-down on the canvas. Miocic followed up with a couple of punches before the referee jumped in to save Werdum from any additional damage. Miocic earned the first round KO to become the new UFC Heavyweight champ.


Main Card (PPV)

Stipe Miocic (c) def. Fabricio Werdum by KO (punch). Round 1, 2:47 — for UFC Heavyweight Championship
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Vitor Belfort by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:38
Cris “Cyborg” Justino def. Leslie Smith by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:21
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Corey Anderson by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bryan Barberena def. Warlley Alves by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Prelim Card (FOX Sports 1)

Demian Maia def. Matt Brown by Submission (RNC). Round 3, 4:31
Thiago Santos def. Nate Marquardt by KO. Round 1, 3:39
Francisco Trinaldo def. Yancy Medeiros by Unanimous Decision (29-26, 30-27, 30-26)
John Lineker def. Rob Font by Unanimous Decision. (30-27, 29-28, 30-26)

Prelim Card (Fight Pass)

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Patrick Cummins by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:52
Sergio Moraes vs. Luan Chagas declared a Draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
Renato Moicano def. Zubaira Tukhugov by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)