UFC Belem was not short on action, delivering a number of bonus worthy performances Saturday night.
The UFC’s first trip to Brazil in 2018 wound up delivering, and featured the host country’s fighters coming close to a clean sweep on Fight Night. Headlined by a middleweight clash between Eryk Anders and Lyoto Machida (‘The Dragon’ won a close split decision), the card had plenty of action, plenty of finishes, and put at least one name into title contention.
That name became number one with a ‘Bullet’ — Valentina Shevchanko. The former bantamweight title challenger dominated Brazilian newcomer Priscila Cachoeira. In what felt and looked more like a slaughterhouse horror show than a fight, Shevchenko put Cachoeira on her back and pummeled her through round one. With ref Mario Yamasaki looking on, she battered the helpless woman right to the bell, then added a second course in round two. Apparently content in having Cachoeira turned into mincemeat in front of a live audience, Yamasaki never did wave off the fight (UFC President Dana White once again took him to task following the bout). Instead, Shevchenko found an opening for a rear-naked choke, and took it.
That earned her a Performance of the Night bonus. In her flyweight debut, in a fight that cemented her as the number one contender at 125kbs. The other Performance bonus went to Brazil’s Irui Alcantara, who finished off former bantamweight title challenger (and Bellator champion) Joe Soto in just over a minute’s time.
Fight of the Night honors, meanwhile, went to the all out war between Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith that opened the evening’s main card. That fight saw Santos with his hand raised for the fourth straight fight. Impressively, all four wins have come via KO/TKO.