For Rony Mariano, it was the night of a lifetime, the Brazilian featherweight living out a dream by winning TUF Brazil with a victory at Saturday night's UFC 147. The unanimous decision over Godofredo Pepey gave him a contract in the world's leading fight promotion. That's the good news.
The bad news is that he won't exactly be starting off his octagon career on Dana White's good side, as the UFC president was quite critical of his performance, even in victory.
"I didn’t like it at all," he said in a post-event interview on FUEL TV. "I think that these guys from the Ultimate Fighter Brazil came out like killers in the fight to get into the house, and then all season long. I think because it's such a big event, this place was crazy, it was rocking, they were signing autographs all day. I think they got a little caught up in the hype. Guess what? You’re not in the UFC yet. Come out and you have to perform."
Mariano, who goes by the nickname "Jason," won the fight by a trio of 29-28 scores but the fight was marked by some periods of inactivity, though it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
White did note that he was in a bad mood given the events of the previous night, perhaps referencing the bizarre Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard fight at UFC on FX 4.
The Mariano-Pepey fight was nothing like that one, but White felt that the combatants didn't show the drive and desire that often comes from two fighters competing for a UFC contract.
"Usually the finale is the best fight of the season," he said. "These guys come out and they go for it. I think because the arena was packed and these guys felt like rockstars all week, they were coming out singing and dancing and s--- like they already had world titles. It was kind of weird."
White's criticism didn't extend to TUF middleweight champ Cezar Ferreira, who survived a battle with Sergio Moraes in a decision win.
"That fight was better," he said. "I was happy with that fight, but not 100 percent thrilled with the night."