The Last Word on UFC Fight Night 62

MMA: UFC on FX 8-Rio vs TrinaldoUFC Fight Night 62 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil produced a night of jaw-dropping, seat jumping and unfortunately some head scratching moments this past Saturday night. With its ups and downs, it was a solid night of scraps for fight fans to tune into (FS1 and FS2) at no cost. The action kicked off in the flyweight division between a pair of promotional newcomers in Fredy Serrano and Bentley Syler. After two uneventful rounds where Serrano got the better of Syler, he woke the crowd up with a highlight-reel knockout in the third frame. What was initially a dull fight between the TUF: Latin America veterans resulted in one of the best uppercut finishes in UFC history. The future looks uncertain for the Bolivia’s Syler, but as for the Columbian Olympic wrestler Serrano, the UFC’s flyweight division just got a little more interesting. After being fed to a wolf in Gilbert Burns in his promotional debut, former RFA lightweight champion Christos Giagos made his second trip to Brazil to take on another Brazilian in Jorge de Oliveira. Both 155-pounders were looking to return to the win column, as de Oliveira also tasted defeat in his promotional debut, which came against Dhiego Lima at 170-pounds. Giagos made quick work of the Brazilian, defeating him via rear naked choke submission in the first round of action. It was an impressive outing for the RFA veteran, who many expect to have a bright future inside the Octagon. One lightweight contest wrapped up, another pair of 155-pounders took center stage in California’s Cain Carrizosa and the Brazilian Leonardo Mafra. It was a very entertaining fight between two men who displayed a lot of heart and refused to quit when put in tough situations. Carrizosa scored a knockdown early in the first round and it appeared he may be about to get a finish. However, he made the mistake of attacking with a submission instead of a ground and pound attack for a TKO, and that allowed Mafra to recover. Once fully conscious, he successfully defended Carrizosa’s attacks, got out of the position, and went on to win the round, and ultimately the fight via unanimous decision. The action stayed in the lightweight division for the next bout, which I cover fully in this article Next up was a featherweight contest that saw Brazil’s Edimilson “Kevin” Souza take on Japanese veteran Katsunori Kikuno and won the bout via knockout in the very first round of action. It was an impressive win for the Brazilian, and another highlight for his reel. Headlining the FOX Sports 2 preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 62 was another lightweight contest, and this one featured Brazilian veteran Francisco Trinaldo, as he took on the Mexican Akbarh Arreola and defeated him via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. It was a dominant performance by Trinaldo, who improves his winning streak to two. Getting the action going for the evening’s main card on FOX Sports 1 was a featherweight bout between Brazil’s own Godofredo Pepey and Team Alpha Male product Andre “Touchy” Fili. The Brazilian jumped for a flying triangle in the first stanza, and kept working the choke on the mat, eventually forcing Fili to tap. However, it was a technical error made by Fili that allowed the choke to tighten; he tried to defend it by pulling out of it, which is a mistake, as it only tightens up the choke, which is what happened and resulted in him submitting. Another impressive finish for Pepey to add to his highlight reel, and he now enjoys a three fight winning streak that includes three beautiful finishes. Fight fans look forward to this Brazilian’s next Octagon outing, and perhaps for the first time in his UFC career he will compete outside of his native Brazil. Action returned to the 155-pound division in the next main card contest, as promotional newcomer Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira stepped in on short notice for an injured Josh “The Punk” Thomson to take on Burns and was the biggest underdog on the card heading into the contest. As a surprise to many, including myself, he did not look like an underdog. The fight started out as expected, with Burns taking Oliveira down, however “Cowboy” found his way back to his feet and went on to outstrike Burns for the rest of the round while fending his takedown attempts. It was more of the same in the second frame, with Oliveira outstriking Burns and convincingly winning the round. Heading into the third and final round, Burns knew he had to finish the fight, and decided he has to give it everything he’s got. Burns secured a takedown at the start of the third and final round, and it was a matter of time before he had secured a belly-down armbar submission to get the tap from Oliveira. It was a very impressive come-from-behind finish for Burns, who improves to 3-0 in the UFC, but an even more impressive short notice debut for the massive underdog Oliveira, who appeared to be the overall better fighter of the two. While Burns did not look as dominant as expected until the third round, he displayed great heart and championship spirit by dedicating himself to finishing the fight in the third round when he knew that’s what needed to be done in order to win the fight and stay undefeated. He managed to get his hand raised, but there are now more questions surrounding him than ever. Hopefully they will all be answered in his next Octagon outing, which fight fans look forward to. I am equally as interested in Oliveira’s next appearance, as he really won me over and turned me into a fan with his performance on Saturday night. He could very well be another guy to keep a close eye on in the UFC’s lightweight division. Taking a short break from lightweight action, next up came a women’s bantamweight scrap between the veteran Shayna Baszler and Brazil’s own Amanda Nunes. The Brazilian made quick work of Baszler, defeating her via TKO early in the first stanza and likely putting a stamp on her career. Back to lightweight action, TUF: Brazil Season 1 winner Leonardo Santos took on and defeated Tony Martin via second round rear naked choke submission. Martin was coming off a submission victory over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Fabricio Camoes in his previous outing, and with Camoes being a friend of Santos, the Brazilian promised he would get revenge for his friend by submitting Martins, and he certainly delivered on promise. After a very long layoff, Josh Koscheck made his second Octagon appearance in as many weeks in UFC Fight Night 62’s co-main event, where he took on Brazil’s own Erick Silva. Serving as a late injury replacement for Ben Saunders, Koscheck put up a better fight than many expected, having his moments in the scrap. It didn’t last very long, but it was one of the more entertaining fights of the evening. Koscheck and Silva kept fight fans on the edge of their seats up ‘till the final moment, where the Brazilian hurt the TUF Season One veteran with a punch that forced him to go for a takedown, which Silva countered with a tight guillotine choke that gave Koscheck no choice but to tap. Now having seven first round finishes in his UFC career, Silva ties the record for ‘Most First Round Finishes by a Welterweight’ with… you guessed it, none other than Josh Koscheck! Koscheck’s professional fighting future is a question mark at the moment, as he is now 37 years of age and on a very rare five fight deficit. The decade-long veteran said he is going to take some time to think about his next move, and he sounded like he was leaning towards returning to the cage. UFC President Dana White said he would like to see “Kos” retire but did not seem opposed to giving him another fight and a new contract, considering the Silva bout was the last fight on Koscheck’s last UFC contract. If the 37-year-old does intend to give it another go, one thing is for sure; I will be tuning in. The popular consensus is that Koscheck is “done” and needs to hang up the gloves. I think that is being said mostly because of his age and losing streak, but let’s face the facts: He lost a very controversial decision to Johny Hendricks, and then suffered a pair of knockouts to a champion in Robbie Lawler and a top contender in Tyron Woodley, with both stoppages being controversial. He appeared to suffer from cage-rust against Ellenberger and lost that fight, but looked better against Silva, though the Brazilian proved to be the better fighter at this point in their careers. The key words there are at this point in their careers, meaning Koscheck has been competing with the upper-echelon of the division as he’s been getting older, similar to what Dan Henderson has been doing. If “Kos” decides to stick around, I think he will be more successful than Henderson, especially if they stop pairing him up against absolute monsters. Even today, I would favor Koscheck over several top 15 UFC welterweights, and certainly over most of the division. He may not be able to beat the best of the best anymore, but he could potentially be the best of the mid-tier of the 170-pound division. I agree that the wisest choice for “Kos” would be to hang up the gloves, but I don’t think he is a “done” or “shot” fighter. His losses are not as bad as they appear on paper, and age is for the most part, a number – just ask Marion Reneau. And let’s face it, Josh Koscheck does not look like your average 37-year-old. The man is in better shape than some 27-year-old’s in the division. It was “make or break” time for New York’s Ryan LaFlare in this past Saturday night’s main event of the evening, where he took on Brazilian veteran Demian Maia, who found himself playing the role of “gatekeeper” in this five round headliner. Maia proved to be on another level, dominating LaFlare using his superior grappling to pick up a one-sided unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. It is back to the drawing board for the Long Islander, and for Maia, its two wins in a row and one step closer to his title-shot goal. Following an injury layoff due to staph infection, the Brazilian veteran feels blessed to not only still be alive, but also be competing in the sport. Following the time away from action, he is have his hand raised and hopes for a quick return to action.

Written by Gabe Killian

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