UFC on FX 8 kicked off the main card in the middleweight division tonight in Brazil. In tonight’s opener, Rafael Natal edged his fellow Brazilian in a Joao Zeferino in a hard fought affair that marked his fourth UFC victory.
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Natal Bests Zeferino
Joao Zeferino was a long-shot to pull off the win in Brazil, but that did not stop him from trying his best to win the fight in the first. Unfortunately for him, Natal was ready and wore out the late-replacement with constant pressure in all areas. Natal has now won two straight in the UFC.
Rd. 1 – Back after some technical issues. Fighters start the round pretty equal in the standup. Zeferino gets the fight to the ground and the two fighters end up locked in a war of attrition in the 50-50 guard. Neither fighter really has an advantage and the referee stands them up before the round ends. MMAFrenzy has it 10-9 Zeferino.
Rd. 2 – Natal controlling range early and Zeferino looks for a takedown and just misses it and the fighters are in the clinch for a minute. Natal is starting to seize control of the fight with legkicks and jabs. Zeferino tries a takedown but is forced to bail on it and the referee allows him to stand. Nice combo by Zeferino. Missed spinning backfist by Natal but Zeferino tries to pull guard and misses. Natal dives into his guard and lands solid strikes as the round ends. MMAFrenzy has it 10-9 Natal (19-19)
Rd. 3 – Fighters with a hug and wave to the crowd to start the round. Zeferino is landing some decent strikes, but he is clearly exhausted. Natal has him in trouble briefly and lands some lefts against the cage before Zeferino works out. Big right from Zeferino just misses being a KO punch. Natal tries a sidekick and Zeferino tries to take him down off it but he gets reversed. Natal is clearly the fresher fighter. Natal is working strikes in the half guard but as he tries to set up a choke Zeferino recovers guard. Natal has side control and lands some elbows before getting to mount. Zeferino is rotating from giving up his back to giving up mount. He is just trying to survive here. MMAFrenzy has it 10-8 Natal (29-27) and he should win the fight.
Rafael Natal def. Joao Zeferino via unanimous decision (30-27,29-28,29-28)