On Saturday, Jan. 19, the UFC held UFC on FX 7 from the Ginasio Estadual Geraldo Jose de Almeida in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The event was headlined by a five-round middleweight clash between former light heavyweight title holder Vitor Belfort and Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping.

In addition to the main event, the main card also featured TUF: Brazil combatant Daniel Sarafian making his official Octagon debut against C.B. Dollaway, former heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga battling Ben Rothwell, and undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov locking horns with Brazilian Thiago Tavares.

The event featured a total of 11 bouts. A two-hour, four-fight showcase aired on FX, while six bouts aired on Fuel TV and a single fight streamed via the promotion’s Facebook page.

Belfort stops Bisping with head kick

In the night’s main event, former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort made sure the crowd went home happy by finishing off Michael Bisping with a second-round head kick.

The first round of the middleweight clash was tentative as the two looked to establish their range. Bisping landed frequently with his jab and leg kicks, while Belfort looked to counter. In the waning moments of the round, Belfort delivered a left head kick that stunned his British foe. Belfort looked to finish, but Bisping recovered and the round came to a close.

In the second, Belfort patiently waited for an opening to throw the same technique once more. It came less than 90 seconds into the round, landing flush to the temple of Bisping as he dropped his hands. Bisping crashed to the mat and Belfort flurried with hammerfists, forcing the referee to halt the bout.

Belfort pleaded for a rematch against Jon Jones in his post-fight interview, telling UFC President Dana White to “get rid of that clown Chael Sonnen.”

Depsite losing his chance at the middleweight title, Bisping was gracious in defeat. “Vitor was the better man tonight. You win some, you lose some,” he declared.

Dollaway ekes past Sarafian

Despite the hostile crowd, American C.B. Dollaway was able to outwork Sao Paulo native Daniel Sarafian and claim a split decision victory in a back-and-forth affair.

The TUF Brazil alum Sarafian opened the fight aggressively, scoring with combinations on the feet. Dollaway’s reach advantage was nullified by the Brazilian’s aggressiveness, as he repeatedly connected with his overhand right and lead, left hook.

In the second frame, Sarafian again appeared to be getting the better of the exchanges until the final minute. Dollaway delivered a right hand that hurt Sarafian and he looked for the finish. Dollaway’s onslaught was halted only by the bell to end the round.

Dollaway again clipped Sarafian in the third round, turning it into a takedown. The American moved to the mount and eventually took Sarafian’s back. Sarafian showed his resolve, escaping and sweeping into Dollaway’s half guard. The Brazilian flipped the script, mounting Dollaway and taking his back, only to have Dollaway muscle out and end the fight in the top position.

When the scorecards were read, both Sarafian and the Sao Paulo crowd were left disappointed as Dollaway took the fight.

Gonzaga chokes Rothwell

Brazilian heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga picked up his second straight UFC win with a second-round submission win over Ben Rothwell.

In the opening round, Gonzaga worked hard for a takedown, but Rothwell defended well and kept the fight standing. As the frame progressed, Gonzaga found a home for his right hand against the southpaw. Rothwell appeared to wobble from the shots, but made it through the round.

The second stanza saw Gonzaga again land with his right hand and Rothwell looked for a takedown of his own. Gonzaga stuffed it and immediately latched onto the neck of the American. The BJJ black belt pulled guard on the arm-in guillotine and coerced the tap from Rothwell.

Nurmagomedov demolishes Tavares

Russian light Khabib Nurmagomedov kept his perfect record intact with a vicious knockout win over Brazilian Thiago Tavares.

The pair exchanged wildly in the opening minute of the fight, but it was a left uppercut from Nurmagomedov that would spell the beginning of the end for the veteran Tavares. The shot dropped the Brazilian and Nurmagomedov unloaded with an onslaught of elbows on the ground that put Tavares out for good.

Nurmagomedov moved his record to 19-0 with the win.

Preliminary Card Summary

The final bout of the night’s preliminary card featured Brazilians Milton Vieira and Godofredo “Pepey” Castro. The two featherweights battled back-and-forth throughout, trading strikes, submission attempts and dominant positions. In the end, the TUF Brazil veteran “Pepey” did enough to convince two of the judges to hand him the controversial win on the scorecards.

Brazilian middleweight Ronny Markes moved to 3-0 inside the Octagon with a grinding performance against Andrew Craig. Markes showcased his wrestling superiority throughout the first two rounds, keeping Craig on the canvas and unable to score any offense. Craig came alive in the final round, dropping Markes with a right hand. It wasn’t enough though as Markes claimed the unanimous decision win.

It was anything but pretty, but featherweight Nik Lentz earned his second straight win in his new weight class with a lopsided decision win over Brazilian Diego Nunes. Lentz used his wrestling and ground and pound to stifle Nunes’ offense from the opening bell. The American scored with takedown after takedown, prompting boos from the Brazilian crowd. Nunes had no answer and fell short on the scorecards as a result.

Striking specialist Edson Barboza spoiled the debut of fellow lightweight and countryman Lucas Martins with a first-round TKO. The pair traded from the opening bell with Barboza quickly finding his range. Martins barreled forward midway through the round, allowing Barboza to land a left hand flush to his jaw. Martins crashed to the mat and Barboza rained punches until Martins tapped to the onslaught.

A bantamweight clash between Yuri Alcantara and Pedro Nobre was declared a no-contest after referee Dan Miragliotta felt Alcantara was landing shots to the back of Nobre’s head. Alcantara was dominating the fight from the back mount and the Brazilian crowd was extremely upset with the questionable decision.

After absorbing a lot of punishment on the feet in the opening stanza, Ildemar Alcantara came back to claim victory in his UFC debut against fellow Brazilian light heavyweight Wagner Prado. Prado scored with heavy shots in the first round, but Alcantara turned things around with a second-round kneebar.

Brazilian lightweight picked up his second Octagon win with a strong performance against C.J. Keith. “Massaranduba” suplexed Keith multiple times before securing an arm-triangle choke in the second round and forcing the American to tap.

Vitor Belfort def. Michael Bisping by TKO (head kick and punches). Round 2, 1:27
C.B. Dollaway def. Daniel Sarafian by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Ben Rothwell by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 1:01
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Thiago Tavares by knockout (uppercut and elbows). Round 1, 1:55
Godofredo “Pepey” Castro def. Milton Vieira by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Ronny Markes def. Andrew Craig by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Nik Lentz def. Diego Nunes by unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Edson Barboza def. Lucas Martins by submission (strikes). Round 1, 2:38
Yuri Alcantara vs. Pedro Nobre declared a no-contest (shots to the back of the head). Round 1, 2:11
Ildemar Alcantara def. Wagner Prado by submission (kneebar). Round 2, 2:39
Francisco Trinaldo def. C.J. Keith by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 2, 1:50

Top Photo: Vitor Belfort (James Law/Heavy MMA)

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