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UFC On FX 8: Rafael Natal Vs. Joao Zeferino

Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino

We begin the main card with the first of three middleweight bouts. Rafael Natal (15-4-1) was originally set to face Chris Camozzi, but Camozzi was moved to the co-main event. Instead, he’ll welcome Joao Zeferino (13-4) to the Octagon. Leon Roberts serves as the man in charge.

Round 1: Loud ovation for Zeferino, who was born in Santa Catarina. Zeferino lands the first big shot, backing Natal up – and does it again. Zeferino comes in and attacks, but Natal lands a nice counter to halt the movement. Zeferino is the aggressor, but he’ll need to watch out for those counter shots from Natal, who has knockout power. Zeferino looking for an inside heel hook, but Natal counters, as they are both tied up in the 50-50 guard right now. Another hook attempt by Zeferino. Enough of the 50-50, as neither fighter were able to lock in a submission.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Zeferino

Round 2: Zeferino with another big shot to start the round, but is unable to secure the takedown. He goes for it again, and gets Natal down, but only for a brief moment. Zeferino down to one knee, as he appears to have hit a bit of a wall. Natal takes the opening, telling Zeferino to stand up. Still two minutes left in the round, and you have to think Natal knows Zeferino is winded and/or gassed. Big left by Zeferino, though, seems to shock Natal. Natal swoops in and winds up in the guard with just under a minute to go in the round. Few nice elbows by Natal to finish the round strong.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Natal

Round 3: Both fighters embrace the crowd, looking for encouragement at the start of the final round. Natal appears to have more power behind his strikes, but Zeferino is still keeping him from putting together any combos with his kicks. Natal gets caught with a side kick, and Zeferino takes the back. However, it’s Natal who scores the takedown, moving to half guard and looking to do work. We go under two minutes, and the newcomer is going to need to do something here to win this fight, as this round has been all Natal – as was the second. Into side control and looking to either punish or tie up Zeferino now is Natal, who takes the back, does work than back to mount.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Natal

Rafael Natal def. Joao Zeferino via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)