Champions of the Night; Bruno Azevedo & Poliana Botelho Take Home Gold | XFCi 9 Recap
Bruno Azevedo defeats Allan Nascimento in exciting five round combat to earn XFC Flyweight World Championship belt; Poliana Botelho knocks out Antonia Silvaneide in the first round to earn Women’s Flyweight Tournament Championship.
Emotion and excitement was not lacking in the first XFC event of 2015, held in the gymnasium arena of the Sao Paulo Futebol Clube this Saturday night, March 14. At XFCi 9, Bruno “Macaco” Azevedo was solidified as the MMA sports company’s first ever Flyweight World Champion (up to 56,7kg). Azevedo defeated Allan “Puro Osso” Nascimento via judges unanimous decision after five rounds of back and forth action.
The night was a historic one for team Nova Uniao, which also earned the women’s tournament championship in the same category, won by Poliana Botelho, who knocked out Antonia Silvaneide in the first round. The card had ten duels with triumphs including a mix of tapouts, tko’s, and decisions, which defined the finalists of the Season II tournaments and advanced a set of Superfight debutants into the XFC rankings of their divisions.
“We love this boy (Bruno). He arrived here with everything against him; as in the worst possible environment of his opponents entire gym in attendance. He starred in a historic duel inside the heXagon. Congrats also to Allan, who has proven to be one of the world’s best competitors in his division. Unfortunately we only have one belt to give and tonight it went to Bruno, but the two are to be congratulated for the spectacle they provided to the world,” said the President of XFC, Myron Molotky.
Bruno Azevedo defeats Allan Nascimento and quiets the hype of Puro Osso’s gym
The atmosphere for the dispute of the Flyweight World Title between Allan Nascimento and Bruno Azevedo could have been compared to a championship football game. With a crowded arena, who leaned favorably towards local rising star Nascimento, Azevedo remained calm and collected, throughout the noise. In the first round, the Brasilia No Gi Jiu-Jitsu world champion, took the fight to the ground and almost fit a rear naked choke that would have ended the fight in the early moments. Nascimento managed to reverse the position and finished the round on top, but the damage had been done.
In the third round Nascimento seemed at his best, tagging his opponent with elbows and punches that cut Azevedo under the eye, then finishing the round with some ground and pound. Bruno, at this point, had visible injuries on the forehead and eyebrow, but was not intimidated and increased his pressure towards Nascimento. Taking the fight to the ground, Azevedo sank in a guillotine that became a saved by the bell moment for Nascimento, ending the fourth round. The last five minutes of the fight were extremely balanced, forcing the judges to make a very difficult decision. In the end, all three gave the victory to Bruno Azavedo, silencing the majority of the arena fans who were in attendance for their teammate Nascimento, and crowning Azevedo as the Inaugural Flyweight Champion.
“This belt is a dream come true. I dropped everything in Brasilia to go after it, I’ve been living for two months in Rio, only training. I’ve been away from my family, but the reward came tonight. I want to thank all of the support that Nova Uniao gave me these last months and to all my friends and companions of Brasilia. This victory I share with them,” celebrated the new Champion Azevedo, who reached his 13th victory in 15 career bouts.
Devastating knockout earns Poliana Botelho the Season II Flyweight Tournament Championship
In the co-main event of the night, defining the champion of the season II women’s flyweight tournament, Poliana Botelho and Antonia Silvaneide staged a different duel. The two showcased great professionalism, as being representatives of sister academies. As to not choose one fighter over the other, Silvaneide’s head coach Jair Lourenço elected not to attend the event; he had been the cornermen of Botelho in her previous fight. Within the heXagon, Botelho performed like an elite muay thai specialist. Within 1min 36sec of the first round, she landed a straight right, square on her opponents chin, sending Silvaneide to the canvas where Botelho finished the fight via TKO.
Earning her fourth win in five fights, and taking home the coveted Tournament Championship Gold Medal, Botelho instantly verbalized a challenge against Season I tournament champion, Argentine Silvana “La Wicked” Juarez. “I will take as many fights as necessary to get to the belt. I’m ready to face Silvana, a very fair champions duel. My dream is to be the best in the world in my weight class and I know I need to face the best. This medal means a lot to me and I dedicate it to everyone in Muriaé (MG), my city,” concluded Poliana.
Russian fighters surprise the Brazilians; first season champions shine
Opening the event’s main card, Santa Catarina’s world ranked Juliana Werner faced top ranked Russian Julia Berezikova in a Flyweight Superfight (up to 56,7kg). After the fight began, Berezikova proved to be the stronger of the two, landing kicks, punches, and driving the Brazilian to the canvas with a take down. Werner was forced to tap out, as Berezikova pressed in a straight leg knee-bar submission to earn her eighth career victory and advance in the XFC Superfight rankings of her division.
Soon after came Season I Welterweight Champion, Will Galvão, who faced Russian Olympian Gennadii Kovalev. The athletes alternated blows, with Galvao showing good defense against Kovalev’s takedown attempts throughout the first round. In the second round, the Russian began to take control, as he connected precise strikes. In the final round, Galvao appeared to have the upper hand, taking Kovalev to the floor, but it was not enough and the Eastern European athlete emerged victorious by the judges unanimous decision.
XFCi 9 marked the return to the heXagon for two other first season champions: Middleweight (84kg up) Alberto Uda and Lightweight (up to 70,3kg) Natan Schulte. Facing Belarus’s Boris Miroshnichenko, Uda looked like he would not withstand the hard punches thrown by his opponent in the first round. Uda fought back stronger and knocked his opponent down in the second round, then closed the fight in the following sequence with elbows and punches to win by ground and pound TKO. Lightweight Natan Schulte gave no chance to Russia’s Igor Egorov. With a smooth performance, Schulte quickly finished Egorov with a flawless rear naked choke just 3:58 into the first round.
Tournament Fighters Entertain the Crowd; Earn Finals Appearance
The event also revealed the finalists of the GPs male Bantamweight (up to 61,2kg), Welterweight (up to 77,1kg) and the women’s Strawweight (up to 52,2kg) tournaments. Among the Welterweights, Belem’s Michel Pereira and São Paulo’s Cairo Rocha were entitled to Fight of the Night recognition as they brought the fans to their feet. In a match full of twists and unique acrobatic technique, Michel emerged victorious with a unanimous decision.
Guyana fighter, living in Rio de Janeiro, Carlston Lindsay Harris and Brazilian Paulo Cesar dos Santos also went to war inside the heXagon. From the start, the Guyanese did not care for the lack of support of the fans. But it did not slow him. After a takedown, he fit a Darce Choke submission, a specialty of his RFT team. In that moment, Harris ended the fight at 4min 03sec of the first round and accredited himself into the finale of the tournament. Harris will now face Pereira in a Guyana vs Brazil Welterweight Finale.
It was a similar story in the first fight of the night. American James Gray ended Mexican Edgar Cabello’s hopes of tournament gold with a rear naked choke in only 54 seconds into the fight. In the opposing Bantamweight fight, Daniel Virgínio faced Julio Rodrigues where he showed an excellent striking game, landing precise punches to the face of his opponent. At 4:46 of the first round, the referee was forced to stop the fight when another series of blows had knocked out Rodrigues while still standing. Virginio will now face Gray, in a Brazil vs USA Bantamweight Finale.
The Women’s Strawweight Tournament Semifinals also showcased an international duel. One of Finland’s best, Vuokko Katainen returned on short notice and won each of the three rounds over undefeated Hungarian Dora Perjes. On the other side of the bracket, two undefeated fighters went head to head as Fortaleza’s Viviane Pereira faced Paraná’s Liana Pirosin. Pereira was stronger and more strategic, while Liana fought hard to hold her ground. In the end, the superior muay thai of Pereira had earned her a unanimous decision from the judges, entering her into the finals against Vuokko Katainen.
FIGHT CARD RESULTS: