Blachowicz (24-8) is a light heavyweight title contender, No. 7 in the ESPN rankings, coming off July’s knockout of former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. And now comes another ex-185-pounder. Souza (26-7) is moving up to 205 in the wake of April’s loss to Jack Hermansson, his second defeat in three fights.
But Jacare can become an instant contender with a win, and Blachowicz needs to have his hand raised to avoid falling out of the top 10.
This main event will be the finale of a long night of Brazil vs. the World. Jacare is one of 15 Brazilians on the card, with at least one in each of the 12 fights. And there are some legendary names among them, most notably Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who fights in the co-main event. Shogun, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has won eight postfight bonuses in his time with the promotion. He’s already in the UFC Hall of Fame, for his wild 2011 fight with Dan Henderson.
Rua’s opponent, Paul Craig, is a Scotsman who is on the verge of the UFC record book. He has won two fights in the promotion by triangle choke; one more would give him the record. A Craig submission of any kind would be his fifth, tying the light heavyweight record.
Here’s the lineup, results and recaps:
Fight in progress:
From ESPN Stats & Info: It was the fourth career submission win for Brown, second in the UFC. He extends his win streak to two. Brown has 10 finishes in 12 career wins.
From ESPN Stats & Info: Silva de Andrade moves to 4-3 in the UFC with his sixth career win by decision. Barao loses his fifth consecutive fight. Since losing the bantamweight title to TJ Dillashaw in 2014, Barao is 2-7. Barao’s losing streak is tied for second longest among former UFC champions, behind BJ Penn’s seven.
Ariane Lipski wastes no time as she opens up with a flurry of shots to Isabela de Padua at UFC Fight Night. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
From ESPN Stats & Info: Lipski snaps a two-fight losing streak, earning her first UFC win and fourth win by decision. De Padua’s five-fight win streak is snapped in her UFC debut. She took the fight on just 24 hours notice.
“They booed me, but no one knows what’s going on behind the scenes,” Lipski said. “I made weight, I did my part. I trained for four months, my opponent changed four times during my camp. I accepted this fight with one-day notice. I could have not accepted, but I agreed because I prepared so much for that day. I did my best. I know I won every round, but I also know that I can’t please everyone.
“That was not even a submission (that she had on me). I train jiu-jitsu and participate in jiu-jitsu tournaments. That was an inverted triangle, and I was just trying to get out. She was not locking me in; there is no submission in that position.
“I’m so thrilled that I got the win at home – it’s a dream I’ve had since I started in the UFC. Last year was not my best moment as an athlete, but today I knew I would come out with the win anyway.”
Tracy Cortez lands multiple punches to the body of Vanessa Melo in the last 25 seconds of their bout at UFC Fight Night. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
“It was a hectic week, but I have the right coaches to keep my mind at ease and nothing affected me,” Cortez said. “I just stayed focused on the fight. About the fans, I knew the crowd was not going to like me at first, but Brazil is amazing. The fact that they can just cheer someone on like they did is mind-blowing. I pray that when I fight in my hometown they cheer for me like that.”
From ESPN Stats & Info: Cortez wins her seventh consecutive fight after losing her MMA debut in 2017. The win is Cortez’s fifth by decision. Melo loses her second consecutive fight and drops to 0-2 in the UFC.
Still to come:
Light heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz (24-8, -170) vs. Ronado “Jacare” Souza (26-7, +140) Light heavyweight: Mauricio Rua (26-11, -275) vs. Paul Craig (12-4, +225) Lightweight: Charles Oliveira (27-8, -410) vs. Jared Gordon (15-3, +320) Middleweight: Antonio Arroyo (9-2, -110) vs. Andre Muniz (18-4, -120) Middleweight: Markus Perez (11-2, -125) vs. Wellington Turman (15-3, -105) Welterweight: Sergio Moraes (14-6-1) vs. James Krause (26-7) Featherweight: Ricardo Ramos (13-2, -350) vs. Eduardo Garagorri (13-0, +275)