On Saturday, May 14, the UFC hosted UFC 198: Werdum vs. Miocic from the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.
In the night’s main event, heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum made the first defense of his title against hard-charging contender Stipe Miocic. The 38-year-old Werdum had not lost since rejoining the promotion following the Strikeforce closure. The Brazilian earned an interim belt by stopping Mark Hunt at UFC 180 and then unified the belt by submitting Cain Velasquez at UFC 188. Miocic, meanwhile, entered the title affair having won five of his last six. The wrestling stalwart stopped the aforementioned Hunt, as well as former champion Andrei Arlovski, in his last two outings.
The night’s main card was littered with former champions, including Vitor Belfort and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. It also included the promotional debut of Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who met Leslie Smith in a 140-pound catchweight.
The 12-fight event kicked off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET with three fights streaming on UFC Fight Pass. Four additional preliminary card bouts followed at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, with the five-fight main card airing live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.
There’s a new champion in the heavyweight division. Stipe Miocic crushed Brazilian Fabricio Werdum with a counter right hand midway through the first round to capture the crown. Werdum came out kicking, while Miocic looked to gauge his range. Werdum came forward with a flurry and Miocic unleashed a right hand that stopped Werdum in his tracks. Werdum crashed face-first to the canvas as Miocic celebrated the win.
In a match-up of Brazilians, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza battered former champion Vitor Belfort to earn a first-round stoppage. Jacare was quick to get the fight to the ground and unleash ground-and-pound. A large cut opened across the bridge of Belfort’s nose, prompting the doctor to be called in to examine it. The fight continued and Belfort was able to scramble back to his feet. However, it was short-lived. Jacare again gained top position and passed to the mount. He rained punches and elbows, forcing the referee to halt the contest.
Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino made short work of Leslie Smith in her UFC debut. The pair wasted little time exchanging. A right hand from Cyborg sent Smith crashing to the mat. The Brazilian smelled blood and flurried with punches. Smith tried to defend, but it was for naught, as the referee intervened to hand Cyborg the 81-second TKO.
Former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua used his heavy-handed striking attack to overcome the wrestling game of TUF winner Corey Anderson. Anderson looked to establish his jab, but it was Rua’s leg kicks and heavy punches that dictated the pace of the opening round. Late in the round, a left hand from Rua dropped Anderson and he looked to finish. The bell saved Anderson, who recovered between rounds. Anderson performed much better in round two, but again, Rua dropped him in the waning seconds of the round. The final frame was dominated by the wrestling and takedowns of Anderson. It was too little, too late, as two of the three judges rewarded Shogun with a win.
The main card kicked off with a battle between Bryan Barberena and Warlley Alves. The previously unbeaten Alves went for a guillotine choke early, but Barberena was able to defend and escape. Alves continued to push the action when the fight returned to the feet. Barberena turned the tides in round two, scoring with elbows from the clinch. The pace of Alves dwindled in the third round and Barberena scored with combos. When it was all said and done, Barberena handed Alves his first loss via decision.
The prelims closed with a dominant performance by Brazilian Demian Maia. Maia’s grappling expertise completely neutralized opponent Matt Brown from the start of the fight. He quickly took Brown to the mat and worked for submission attempts. Brown was able to defend through the first two rounds, but he did not mount any offense. Brown threw some heavy strikes to open round three, but Maia dragged him to the canvas and took his back yet again. As the fight wound down, Maia was able to secure a rear-naked choke and coerce the tap.
Brazilian Thiago “Marreta” Santos stopped former Strikeforce titleholder Nate Marquardt with an onslaught of strikes in the opening stanza of their middleweight affair. Santos attacked with left kick after left kick before clipping Marquardt with a left hook. Marquardt crashed to the mat, but managed to recover and work back to standing. It didn’t last long, however. Santos again unleashed a left head kick and a series of punches that put Marquardt out for good.
Lightweights Francisco Trinaldo and Yancy Medeiros put on a show, with the Brazilian Trinaldo claiming a decision win. Trinaldo came out firing and repeatedly landed his overhand left. Medeiros was on rubber legs, but somehow survived the early storm. Trinaldo continued his assault in round two, but late in the frame, Medeiros delivered a straight right that dropped him. The wild affair continued in round three, as Trinaldo unloaded on the Hawaiian. Medeiros appeared to be out on his feet multiple times, but the referee allowed the fight to continue. When the war was over, Trinaldo was anointed the victor.
Bantamweight John Lineker put a beatdown on opponent Rob Font over the course of their three-round contest on Fox Sports 1. Lineker marched forward from the opening bell, keeping Font from taking advantage of his reach. Lineker frequently backed Font against the fence and unleashed body shots. The Brazilian mixed in a few takedowns and looked for finish Font late in round three. Font survived, but it wasn’t enough as Lineker claimed the lopsided decision.
Closing out the Fight Pass portion of the prelims, veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira thrilled the Brazilian crowd by stopping Patrick Cummins with strikes. Nogueira was able to stuff Cummins’ early takedown attempts and navigate a barrage of kicks. Once Nogueira found his range, he began to connect with left hands which hurt Cummins. The shots put Cummins on rubber legs and Nogueira went for the kill, forcing the first-round stoppage.
Despite fighting on just two weeks’ notice, Brazilian Luan Chagas was able to battle veteran Sergio Moraes to a split draw. Chagas was very aggressive early, dropping Moraes with a vicious head kick. Moraes recovered and showcased his grappling prowess as the fight progressed. Both fighters slowed in the final frame, with Moraes able to even things up from the rough first round.
Featherweights Renato Moicano and Zubaira Tukhugov kicked off the action with a back-and-forth affair. The Brazilian Moicano used his length to overcome the awkward striking attack of Tukhugov throughout the fight. Tukhugov scored with multiple takedowns, but Moicano showcased great scrambling ability to return to his feet. After three rounds, two of the judges at cageside handed the Brazilian the split decision win.