The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to the Sunshine State was a roaring success, as the biggest fight card of the year, UFC on FOX 11, superseded all expectations. According to an April 20, 2014, Orlando Sentinel report, over 17,000 UFC fans filled the Amway Center in Downtown Orlando, Fla. for the second biggest gate in the arena’s history ($1.65 million: Biggest “UFC on FOX” gate ever) – $30,000 behind an Eagles concert last November – and Examiner.com was on hand to cover the action octagonside.
In the main event of the evening, Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum improved his record to 18-5-1 with a stunning (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) unanimous decision victory over betting favorite, Travis “Hapa” Browne (16-2-1). Utilizing a stiff jab to set up brutal Thai-boxing combinations, the Brazilian surprised the MMA world by connecting with 121 significant strikes, the fourth most ever landed in UFC heavyweight history for a single fight, this according to Fight Metric statistics.
“This was the best fight of my career,” said Werdum, who tied champion Cain Velazquez for the longest active win-streak (4) in the UFC’s heavyweight division. “I trained so hard for this one. I worked hard on every part of my game. Boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, everything. I knew how good Travis was and I wanted to show everyone that I’m ready for the title shot.”
As promised by UFC president Dana White during the UFC Orlando 2014 pre-fight press conference, the winner of the No.1 contender’s bout will face the baddest man on the planet when the company makes it’s Mexico debut later this year. Coming off arguable the greatest performance of his Hall of Fame career, Werdum was thrilled about finally earning a shot at the UFC strap.
“I’m looking forward to fighting Cain Velasquez,” he added. “That championship means everything in this sport and I’m excited to have the opportunity to show that I can win the title.”
In the co-main event of the UFC Orlando 2014 night, (14-5-0) Miesha “Cupcake” Tate earned her first UFC victory, defeating (8-5-0) Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche by controversial (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) unanimous decision. Seemingly fighting for her spot in the women’s bantamweight roster, the former Strikeforce champ got off to a very slow start and it almost cost her, as the second round was a toss up.
“It was very tough fight. We both have such a strong fighting spirit and I knew neither one of us would quit,” said Tate, who many argue lost the first and second rounds of the fight. “It took me a little bit to get going and then finally, in the third round, I really got my energy up and was able to do what I do best. It feels great to finally get this first UFC win.”
Before revealing to the rest of the official UFC Orlando 2014 card results, it’s certainly worth noting the recipients of the evening’s salary bonuses. With each fighter receiving $50,000, White announced that UFC Fight Of The Night was awarded to Thiago “Pitbull” Alves vs. Seth “Polish Pistola” Baczynski, and the two “Performance” bonuses went to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (Submission) and Alex “The Spartan” White (Knockout).
Finally, here are other UFC Orlando 2014 fight card results, along with some quotes by some of the night’s biggest winners:
Donald Cerrone def. Edson Barboza via 1st Round submission (3:15 - RNC)
“I definitely wish I could’ve gotten that win without taking so much damage from him at first,” Cerrone said. “The shots he hit me with finally woke me up and I kind of snapped out of it. But I was finally able to hit him with some good shots and that last one sent him down. I scrambled to get his back and lock in the rear-naked choke and he wasn’t getting out of that.”
Yoel Romero def. Brad Tavares via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
“God helped me with this win tonight,” Romero said. “Everything I do is possible because of him. ATT was great in helping me get ready for this fight. We all looked very impressive tonight and were all able to win. We are all brothers at that gym. I’m excited about my next opportunity in the UFC.”
UFC Orlando 2014 - FOX Sports 1 Prelims Results:
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Rafael dos Anjos unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
“I began the fight conserving energy to make sure I was ready to go the distance because I knew how tough Dos Anjos was,” Nurmagomedov said. “He was a very tough guy. I’m very glad that I got the opportunity to fight him because I always want to fight the best. I’m ready to keep going forward in the division on my way to the title.”
Thiago Alves def. Seth Baczynski via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
“It’s been a long time and this feels great,” said the Brazilian after the fight. “Coming back from such a long layoff, I knew that I had to do everything to the best of my ability tonight. I’ve been pushing myself for such a long time to get ready for my next fight, for this night.
“Fighting here in Florida in front of my fans and familiar faces was the perfect way to come back. This is the best I’ve felt in 25 months.”
Jorge Masvidal def. Pat Healy via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
“I trained my wrestling very hard for this fight,” admitted the former street fighter. “My wrestling coaches were University of Oregon wrestlers and they got me ready for this. I knew Pat was a top-level grappler so I had to come ready. And I definitely used my speed to my advantage and felt that I was quicker than him all night.
“We’ve all been working hard down at ATT and you’re seeing the success here tonight. Fighting close to home has been great. I love fighting here in Florida”
Alex White def. Estevan Payan via 1st Round TKO (1:28)
“I was pretty nervous with this being my first fight in the UFC,” said White after the bout. “But once you get in there, you think ‘man, this is just like training’ and everything just starts kicking in. I was able to connect with some pretty good shots and that was it.
“I thought the stoppage was pretty fair. He was pretty defenseless, so I think the ref made the right call.”
Caio Maglahaes def. Luke Zachrich via 1st Round TKO (44 seconds)
“It was a quick and fast fight. I’m very happy with the knockout,” said Maglahaes followig his victory. “I’ve improved and gotten much better every fight. I’ve been training a lot with Glover Teixeira and he just keeps making me better. I’ve won a few times in the UFC now, so I’m ready to fight whoever they want me to.”
Jordan Mein def. Hernani Perpetuon via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
“My goal this time was to play it smart,” said the victor. “I’ve been in some slugfests and wars lately and I wanted to take a different approach. I went for a few takedowns to make him think that’s where I was headed and then I’d hit him. He’s a tough guy and came out swinging, so I had to be careful. Coming out with a win, I think I showed I could fight smarter and not always have to fight tougher.”
UFC Orlando 2014 - Fight Pass Prelims Results:
Dustin Ortiz def. Ray Borg via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
“As soon as the round started, the gameplan went out the window and my natural instincts took over,” said Ortiz. “He took my back faster than anyone I’ve ever seen and he’s very strong. He was able to take me down a few times, but he never did any damage. I controlled the fight and definitely feel that I did enough to win.”
Mirsad Bektic def. Chas Skelly via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
“I’m usually very aggressive when I fight, but my coaches wanted me to work on staying composed this time,” Bektic stated. “I picked my spots carefully against him. I got careless a few times and that’s where he was able to get me. But my takedown defense was great and wrestling was his strength, so I feel pretty good about that.
“The illegal knee definitely hurt, but I was able to weather it and move on as soon as we got back to action. Overall, I’m happy with my performance over a pretty tough opponent.”
Derrick Lewis def. Jack May via 1st Round TKO (33 seconds)
“This win means the world to me,” Lewis said after the win. “To come all this way from where I was a few years ago in my life is amazing. I’ve surrounded myself with the right people and the right gym and everything is falling into place. I wasn’t nervous until I heard Bruce Buffer call my name. That was the sign that I had finally made it.
“I knew Jack was a tough opponent but I get stronger as the fight goes on. So, I just stayed relaxed and defended the takedowns. Even on the ground, I was constantly working. We scrambled a few times and I ended up on top and was able to connect with some heavy shots.”