The conversation around live sporting events changed dramatically in the past 48 hours, so much so that you’d be forgiven if you forgot who was actually fighting at UFC Brasilia on Saturday. The growing coronavirus pandemic (virus SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting disease, COVID-19) has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of countless events from nearly all major and minor sports leagues. Like a chain of dominoes, they all began to fall, starting with the NBA. Come Thursday, most of the major players in the sports world had called it a day.
The lone holdout: the UFC, who pushed forward with UFC Brasilia on Saturday behind closed doors. The Fight Night event was the only game in town, but how fans would adjust to a mixed martial arts contest with no crowd noise would be interesting. Like a laugh track on a sitcom, crowd response often draws in viewers at home. It’s absence was going to be an interesting experiment.
— UFC (@ufc) March 14, 2020
Kicking off the card were a pair of women’s bantamweights, Bea Malecki and Veronica Macedo. UFC fans will remember Malecki from her stint on TUF 28 at 145lbs, following which she dropped back to bantamweight. Picking up a win over Duda Santana last year, she was looking to make it 2-0 inside the octagon against Macedo.
Macedo was 1-3 heading into the night, but coming off a win over Polyana Viana.
Malecki, quite frankly, dwarfed her opponent, looking very much like a 145lb fighter. But it was Macedo with her hands going early. Malecki, despite her length, fell short on a front kick. One interesting side effect of the empty arena, “close” strikes didn’t come with a crowd pop — perhaps something that would have an effect on those judging the fight.
Macedo, meanwhile, landed a number of strikes, and fired off kicks to the body that were blocked. Malecki was already showing some redness on the face. However, it was a kick to the body by Malecki that dropped Macedo on her backside briefly. Nearing the final minute, Macedo’s right hand continued to be a threat. Malecki would land a right of her own, however; Macedo mixed things up and connected with a left. At least in the first round, the size differential didn’t appear to have been an issue for Macedo.
Veronica Macedo was firing early to open round two, however, after catching a kick, she fell to the ground with Malecki on top. Macedo welcomed Malecki into her guard, but Bea wasn’t interested, and moved back to her feet. Two minutes in, however, they’d go to the ground again, with Malecki briefly in mount dropping ground n’ pound. Macedo escaped out the back, trying for a leg, before the ref stood her up. Back on the feet, she was still throwing bombs — but sloppy ones. A bad shot in followed, which allowed Malecki to reverse and move to side control. She peppered Macedo with shots, moved up to her feet, and stomped the leg of Macedo, who was still on her back. After being stood up, Macedo launched another big looping left, but her punches were slower, and Malecki was in the driver’s seat.
Macedo was on her back, trying to con Malecki into her guard three times in the opening minute of round three. Three times, Malecki declined. This was a pattern that would continue later in the round. Malecki was the fresher fighter, and her kicks were now on point. Macedo’s shots were out of desperation, though she had enough left in the tank to brawl with Malecki in the final moments, landing some big blows. Arguably Macedo won that minute, but she lost the war.
Official Result: Bea Malecki def. Veronica Macedo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)