5 craziest UFC championship moments in Brazil
Brazil has played a momentous role in the history and growth of the UFC. The South American nation is well-represented in the world's premier MMA promotion, having produced over 20 world champions so far, and having hosted so many massive championship bouts.
Brazil's storied history of combat sports has made the nation the second-most successful country in UFC history, behind only the United States of America, in terms of the number of world champions produced. As such, Brazilian fans have witnessed some truly spectacular moments on home soil.
On that note, here are the five craziest UFC championship moments in Brazil.
#5. Glover Teixeira hangs up the gloves after hearty performance – UFC 283
At the recently concluded UFC 283 pay-per-view in Rio de Janeiro, a Brazilian icon stepped into the cage for the final time. Universally beloved and seemingly ageless, Glover Teixeira drew the curtains on a historic career after an incredible display of grit against Jamahal Hill for the UFC light heavyweight strap.
As always, Teixeira was the betting underdog heading into the title bout. Hill's reputation as a devastating knockout artist is warranted and as such, many believed that if 'Sweet Dreams' landed clean on his 43-year-old counterpart, the fight would be over.
Not only did Teixeira take Hill's best shots, he survived all five rounds and had sporadic moments of success. The bout was even awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Jamahal Hill came away with a unanimous decision win, with all three judges scoring the fight 50-44 in favor of the American. In the immediate aftermath of the bout, Glover Teixeira admitted that he is likely too tough for his own good and announced his retirement from the sport.
Teixeira's career and late resurgence has been a sight to behold. Despite being significantly older than his peers at 205 pounds, the iconic Brazilian stood toe-to-toe with the best light heavyweights in the world and arguably could've beaten most fighters in the current top 15.
The fact that his last-ever appearance inside the octagon was in a championship fight against a highly touted fighter like Hill in Brazil is fitting. If ever there was a shoe-in for the UFC Hall of Fame, look no further than the war horse that is Glover Teixeira.
#4. Max Holloway dethrones Jose Aldo in Rio – UFC 212
After his devastating loss to Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo returned to winning ways with a dominant unanimous decision win against Frankie Edgar to claim the interim featherweight title. He was later promoted to the undisputed champion after McGregor was stripped.
Meanwhile, up-and-coming Hawaiian Max Holloway defeated Anthony Pettis to win the interim strap, setting up a title unification bout against Aldo. The duo locked horns in the main event of UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, where fans were left shell-shocked by a massive upset.
The first ten minutes were pretty evenly contested, with Jose Aldo slightly edging out Max Holloway. The judges scored the first two rounds in favor of the Brazilian and it felt as though he would cruise to another win, being a heavy betting favorite.
However, Holloway stepped up his volume and output in the third frame, leaving Aldo in the dust. 'Blessed' drowned the Brazilian with a relentless barrage of combinations until he eventually crumbled, prompting the referee to step in.
It was a somber and sobering moment for both Aldo and his compatriots as it marked the end of an era in the featherweight division.
#3. Anderson Silva showboats for Brazilian fans in masterclass title defense – UFC 134
Back in 2011, Anderson Silva was considered the gold standard of mixed martial arts. After joining the UFC in 2006, Silva won the middleweight strap in just his second octagon appearance, kicking off a historic championship run.
After defending his 185-pound title eight times, Silva was matched up with Japanese stalwart Yushin Okami. The duo squared off in the main event of UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, where 'The Spider' put on one of his best performances ever to defend his belt for the ninth time.
Notably, in his penutimate fight before his octagon debut, Anderson Silva was handed a disqualification loss against Yushin Okami on the Brazilian regional MMA circuit for landing an illegal up-kick when Okami was grounded. Their paths crossed five years after their initial meeting when they locked horns in the UFC 134 headliner.
As was the case with most of the first rounds of Silva's fights, he took his time getting a feel for the range and distance in the opening five minutes. After barely landing any strikes early on, the champion finished the round strong with a head-kick and hard knee to the body.
In the second frame, Silva began playing to the crowd as he dropped his hands and started showboating. As Okami lunged in, 'The Spider' caught his Japanese counterpart with a powerful hook, which floored him. After a few follow-up strikes, the referee was forced to intervene, sending the crowd in attendance into a frenzy.
#2. Ronda Rousey makes a statement – UFC 190
At the height of her powers, there was nothing quite like Ronda Rousey. A trailblazer for women's MMA, Rousey spearheaded the movement to include women in the UFC and her scintillating rise to the top saw the popularity of the sport reach astronomical heights.
After a dominant run on Strikeforce, Rousey was handed the UFC women's bantamweight title, which she went on to defend six times, all via finishes, five of which ended in the first round.
Following her 16-second knockout win over Alexis Davis and her 14-second submission win against Cat Zingano, 'Rowdy' entered enemy territory as she took on Brazilian bantamweight Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janiero.
Bethe Correia certainly made things interesting in the lead-up to the fight. The Brazilian repeatedly belittled Ronda Rousey throughout fight week, but the champion remained unfazed. A day after their fiery face-off at the ceremonial weigh-ins, they squared off inside the octagon.
Rousey came out like a house on fire, looking for another lightning quick finish. She immediately engaged in a clinch with Correia in the opening seconds, landing several knees and uppercuts. Rather than going for one of her judo throws or takedowns, it felt as though 'Rowdy' was keen on making a statement with her fists against the challenger.
Just 34 seconds into the fight, Rousey floored Correia with a thunderous hook to retain her title, silencing the Brazilian fans.
#1. Jose Aldo puts Chad Mendes to sleep, jumps into crowd – UFC 142
When the WEC’s roster was absorbed into the UFC at the start of 2011, many predicted stardom for the featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. While he did win his first two outings inside the octagon, he didn’t quite catch on with the crowds like the promotion had hoped.
Aldo didn't quite resonate with the American fanbase early on, but his third fight in the promotion saw him become an absolute superstar in Brazil after one wild moment of celebration. The 145-pound king faced his toughest matchup at the time in the form of unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes, and many questioned how he’d fare against arguably the best grappler in the division at the time.
As it turned out, he had no problems whatsoever.
A slow-paced first round seemed to be petering out when Chad Mendes grabbed the champion and attempted to drag him to the ground. Out of nowhere, and with just a few seconds left in the round, Jose Aldo spun around and uncorked a perfectly-timed knee to send the challenger crashing to the canvas.
While it was a sensational knockout, what followed really cemented Aldo’s rise to stardom. Rather than celebrate inside the cage, he vaulted the fence and darted into the crowd to celebrate with the overjoyed Brazilian fans. It was an iconic moment, completely unplanned and unforgettable.
Aldo would go on to successfully defend his title two more times in Brazil. However, none were as memorable as this one.