As we prepare to return to Rio for UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill on January 21, let's take a look back to the first time the UFC landed in Brazil:
October 16, 1998
Ginasio da Portuguesa
Sao Paulo, Brazil
After three fights in the UFC that saw him debut with a 16 second win over Kevin Jackson to win the middleweight title, knock out Igor Zinoviev in 22 seconds to retain the belt, and submit Jeremy Horn in a 16-plus minute scrap to show that he had the gas tank to push himself to the limit, what was next for Frank Shamrock as the UFC visited Brazil for the first time in its history?
A little revenge, and it was sweet for Shamrock, who defended his title for the third time by using his strikes to force a submission from the last man to beat him (by decision back in January of 1997), John Lober.
It looked like Shamrock was going to make it another short night as he sunk in a guillotine choke on his foe and then used it to slam Lober to the ground. Lober went into defensive mode on his back, and as he rose, he got caught in another guillotine. Again, Lober survived and even tried to sink in a submission of his own – an arm triangle – but Shamrock escaped.
Six minutes in, the two stood, and Shamrock began teeing off with leg kicks. A right hand upstairs dropped Lober, but Shamrock refused to follow. Lober got back up, only to be sent back down by a barrage of strikes. Now Shamrock moved in for the kill, and Lober - cut, battered, and fatigued – had decided that he had enough and the bout was called at the 7:40 mark.
The Brazilian turf war between Rio de Janeiro’s Vitor Belfort and Curitiba’s Wanderlei Silva instead turned into a one-sided beatdown, as “The Phenom” showed off his blazing hand speed and concussive power in his middleweight debut.
The 21-year-old Belfort was stalked by the 22-year-old Muay Thai machine, but after eating a leg kick, Belfort began to walk forward, and when he found his opening, he struck, ripping off a furious barrage of straight punches that send Silva across the Octagon. By the time they reached the fence, Silva was hurt and defenseless and referee John McCarthy had no choice but to call off the fight at the 44 second mark.
The UFC’s first lightweight championship fight was a highly anticipated one, as skilled battlers Pat Miletich and Mikey Burnett met up for the vacant belt. Unfortunately, the fight didn’t perform up to expectations, as Miletich’s defensive gameplan and effective guard work nullified Burnett’s more aggressive attack, allowing the Iowan to escape with a split decision and the title in the 21-minute match.
“The main thing I wanted to do was hit him with some leg kicks, close the gap, grapple with him, and try to get him into a submission,” said Miletich. The guy’s got great balance and he’s very powerful. It’s unbelievable how strong he is. Very few guys I’ve ever rolled around with are that strong. That fight was too close for one of us to deserve the belt. He’s a champ, that’s all there is to it.”
UFC 30th Anniversary: Changing the Game
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UFC 30th Anniversary: Changing the Game
Octagon rookie Pedro Rizzo threw his name into the heavyweight title mix, ripping off a series of leg kicks taught to him by his trainer Marco Ruas before wearing out Tank Abbott and finishing him with strikes 8:07 into their bout.
In other bouts, Tsuyoshi Kosaka decisioned Pete Williams unanimously over 15 minutes, and Ebenezer Fontes Braga submitted Jeremy Horn via guillotine choke in 3:28.
- Cesar Marcussi TKO1 Paulo Santos
- Tulio Palhares TKO1 (9:00) Adriano Santos
- Ebenezer Fontes Braga Wsub1 (guillotine choke – 3:27) Jeremy Horn
- Tsuyoshi Kosaka WD Pete Williams
- Pat Miletich WD Mikey Burnett (UFC lightweight title)
- Pedro Rizzo KO1 (8:07) Tank Abbott
- Vitor Belfort TKO1 (:44) Wanderlei Silva
- Frank Shamrock Wsub1 (strikes – 7:40) John Lober (UFC middleweight title)
Fight of the Night (unofficial) – Shamrock Wsub1 Lober
Knockout of the Night (unofficial) – Belfort TKO1 Silva
Submission of the Night (unofficial) – Braga Wsub1 Horn
Debuts – Cesar Marcussi, Paulo Santos, Tulio Palhares, Adriano Santos, Ebenezer Fontes Braga, Pedro Rizzo, Wanderlei Silva, John Lober
One Hit Wonders – Cesar Marcussi, Paulo Santos, Adriano Santos, Tulio Palhares, Ebenezer Fontes Braga, John Lober