On Sunday, Feb. 22, the UFC hosted UFC Fight Night 61: Bigfoot vs. Mir from the Gigantinho Gymnasium in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
In the night’s main event, former heavyweight title challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva clashed with former UFC champion Frank Mir. Silva looked for his first win since February of 2013, having suffered knockout losses to Andrei Arlovski and current champion Cain Velasquez, as well fighting Mark Hunt to a draw. For Mir, the situation was worse, as the 35-year-old had not had his hand raised since 2011. His four-fight skid included knockout losses to Junior dos Santos and Josh Barnett, as well decision losses to Daniel Cormier and Alistair Overeem.
The co-main event featured a lightweight match-up between Brazilian striking stalwart Edson Barboza and TUF runner-up Michael Johnson. Barboza entered the bout having won two straight and five of his last six. Johnson, meanwhile, had won three straight.
The 11-fight event kicked off Sunday with one bout streaming on UFC Fight Pass at 5:30 p.m. ET. Four additional preliminary card bouts followed on Fox Sports 1 at 6 p.m. ET, with the six-fight main card airing live at 8 p.m. ET, also on Fox Sports 1.
Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir got back in the win column with a first-round finish of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Mir flurried early to back Silva along the fence. The pair returned to center cage and Mir landed a left hook that buckled the Brazilian. Mir followed up with punches and elbows and the ground, forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to halt the contest.
Michael Johnson put together the best performance of his career, outworking Brazilian Edson Barboza for three rounds. The forward pressure of Johnson was the story of the fight. He prevented Barboza from utilizing his patented leg kicks, but absorbed numerous shots to the body. Johnson bloodied the face of Barboza with punches. The two lightweights never slowed as the fight progressed, as Johnson marched forward and Barboza answered with counters. Johnson earned takedowns in the final two frames, sealing the win on the judges’ scorecards.
Middleweight Sam Alvey started slow, but finished emphatically, knocking out Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira in the first round. Mutante was the aggressor to start, firing off wild capoeira kicks and power punches. Alvey was very patient, throwing only a few punches through the first three minutes of the fight. As Mutante connected with an upward elbow, Alvey countered with an overhand right to left hook combination that sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas.
Brazil’s Adriano Martins surprisingly used his wrestling, not his striking to best Russian Rustam Khabilov on the scorecards. The pair traded single shots in the opening round, with Martins scoring at a higher rate and earning a brief takedown. In round two, Khabilov threw more punches, as Martins sat back. A late shot from Martins landed at the bell. In the final round, Martins earned well-timed takedowns, doing just enough to convince two of the three judges to reward him the victory.
Bantamweight Frankie Saenz scored a major upset, outworking Brazilian Iuri Alcantara and claiming a unanimous decision. Alcantara’s striking advantage was short-lived, as Saenz quickly put him on the mat. Alcantara worked free and earned a takedown of his own to close the opening round. Alcantara started round two strong, but Saenz ducked under a punch and earned another takedown and punished Alcantara. Saenz continued to frustrate his favored foe in the final round, earning takedowns at will. The judges rewarded his efforts, extending his winning streak to six.
In the opening bout of the main card, Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio ended the undefeated streak of American Sean Strickland in a hard-fought battle. Ponzinibbio came out firing, getting inside the reach of Strickland and landing heavy shots. He connected with a head kick that wobbled Strickland, but the fight continued. Strickland fought back with crisp technique and earned a brief takedown in the middle stanza. Both fighters wore crimson masks in the final frame, but it was the powerful punches of Ponzinibbio that were the difference on the scorecards.
Bantamweight Marion Reneau earned her second UFC win of 2015, submitting Brazilian Jessica Andrade in under two minutes. Reneau used her length to keep the power punching Andrade at range to start, but Andrade was able to drop Reneau with a big counterstrike. Once the fight hit the ground, Reneau’s ground prowess was evident, as she quickly locked on a triangle choke from her back and coerced a tap from Andrade.
Canada’s Matt Dwyer earned his first Octagon win, scoring a highlight-reel knockout of William “Patolino” Macario. The two heavy-handed fighters looked to establish their range, but it was Dwyer that found the finishing blow. As Macario dropped his lead hand, Dwyer fired off a superman punch that sent the Brazilian crashing face first to the mat.
Featherweight Mike de la Torre spoiled the 145-pound debut of Tiago Trator, earning a violent, first-round TKO. De la Torre scored with punches early, prompting Trator to clinch along the cage. When the pair separated, de la Torre delivered a huge left hook that sent Trator crashing to the canvas. He followed with right hands and the referee was forced to intervene.
Brazilian Douglas Silva de Andrade used a speed advantage to overcome the reach of fellow bantamweight Cody Gibson. The first round was close as the pair traded single shots. Silva de Andrade rocked Gibson in round two with a massive right hand. Gibson pushed hard in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough, as Silva de Andrade claimed the unanimous decision win.
Lightweight Ivan “Batman” Jorge survived some heavy shots from Josh Shockley and showcased a superior grappling game to earn a unanimous decision victory. Shockley started strong, but Jorge earned a pair of takedowns and threatened with an arm-triangle. Shockley survived, but as the pace slowed for both fighters, it was Jorge that did enough for the win.