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UFC Sao Paulo results: Derek Brunson knocks out Lyoto Machida in first round

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UFC 183 Weigh-In Photos

Surely, this was not how Lyoto Machida envisioned his long-awaited return to the Octagon going down.

Machida, the former UFC light heavyweight champion, was fighting for the first time in two years and three months when he went home to Brazil and met Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday night.

But Brunson was more than up to the task, as a wicked counter left hand led to a fast finish at Ginasio do Ibirapuera. The bout was waved off at the 2:30 mark as Brunson won via knockout for his 14th career first-round finish.

“It feels good man, I got up for this fight,” said Brunson (18-5), who has won two straight fights. “Lyoto is never going to lose his skills, he might lose his timing, speed, but he’s never going to lose his skills.”

Machida, who is coming off a USADA suspension due to admitted use of a banned substance, tried to play his usual cat-and-mouse game, and landed a solid left early. But Brunson didn’t take long to get his timing down before he landed the counter that wobbled him, another left which dropped him to the mat, and then several more which put Machida out.

“I wanted to take my time, I saw that opening,” Brunson said. “Hey, I’m a bad man right now.”

Machida (22-8) has lost three straight fights and has been finished in all three.

Colby Covington talked his way into the biggest fight of his career, and in the evening’s co-feature bout, he walked the walk. The brash American Top Team welterweight went down to Brazil and scored an impressive victory over veteran Demian Maia.

Maia (25-8), competing in his 27th UFC fight, came out and engaged Covington in a close, back-and-forth first round. But Covington had seized control by round’s end, then never let go.

Covington (13-1) stuffed Maia’s takedown attempts, which kept his opponent from employing his vaunted jiu-jitsu game. He landed often with overhands. By round three, he absolutely teed off on the exhausted Maia, raining down punches on the down Maia at the end as a pool of blood formed on the mat.

The judges’ decision unanimous, as Covington took scores of 29-27, 30-27, and 30-26 for the win.

After the fight, Covington, who had made negative comments about Brazil all week, turned up the heat during his interview and also called out champion Tyron Woodley.

“Brazil, you suck, you’re a bunch of filthy animals,” Covington said after his fifth straight win. “Tyron Woodley, I’m coming for you.”

Covington required extra security on his way back to the dressing room as the fans in the arena pelted him with garbage.

Pedro Munhoz had one of the most impressive performances in his UFC stint with a first-round submission over Rob Font.

Munhoz (15-2, 1 no-contest) has long been known for his jiu-jitsu skills, but he’s also shown improved standup, which he demonstrated in setting up his winning guillotine choke. Font tapped at the 4:03 mark, giving Munhoz his fourth consecutive victory and 10th submission win.

“It's an incredible feeling,” Munhoz said. “It is the fourth consecutive year fighting here in my hometown, and I finished using Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Rob Font is a tough guy, the only defeat he had in the UFC was to John Lineker by decision. I was the first in history to finish him. About the future, I have no names in my mind. Whoever the UFC puts in front of me, I will face.”

Jim Miller’s company-record 28th UFC fight was his first appearance in Brazil, but unfortunately for him, he won’t head back home to New Jersey with a victory. Miller started strong in the first round of his lightweight matchup with Curitiba, Brazil’s Francisco Trinaldo. But Trinaldo took control of the fight in the second round and didn’t relinquish it in the third.

Trinaldo (22-5) took 29-28 across-the-board scores for the unanimous decision for his seventh victory in his past eight fights.

“It was a good fight. Jim Miller is a great fighter,” Trinaldo said. “I did not do what I would like to have done, which was knock him out, but I knew I was going to win. It was important to win again.”

MIller (28-11, 1 NC) has lost three fights in a row, all via decision.

Middleweight Thiago Santos had an impressive first round against Jack Hermansson (16-4), with momentum that figured to carry over to round two. Instead, when the clapper sounded to indicate 10 seconds left in the opening round, Santos took off like a bat out of hell and unleashed a ferocious final flurry, earning the TKO win with one second left in the round.

Santos improved to 16-5 with his third straight victory, all of which have come off stoppages via strikes. He didn’t wait until the evening’s main event to issue a challenge.

“I knew he was a guy with good footwork, so the idea was not to get into his game and wait for the right moment to connect a shot,” Santos said. “The sky is the limit; I hope to have an opportunity to do a main event very soon. I have no pretension about rankings, I think I need to do what I've been doing: win my fights impressively and the rest will happen naturally. Me and Derek Brunson are fighting the same night, right? Him winning or losing, I would take this fight.”

John Lineker got back into the win column with the sort of vintage performance that helped propel him up the ranks in the first place. The all-action Lineker moved forward, pushed the pace, and landed early and often in a unanimous decision victory over Marlon Vera (10-4-1) in a bantamweight bout.

The judges’ scores were 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s for Lineker (30-8), who shook off his UFC 207 loss to T.J. Dillashaw and won for the seventh time in his past eight fights.

Lineker wasn’t overly self-impressed with his work.

“I've been out for 10 months and, whether you want it or not, the pace is not the same,” Lineker said. “It was not one of my best performances, but a win is a win, no matter what. Now I want to go home, recover, and train hard for the next fight. I would very much like to face a well-ranked guy, a Top 5.”

Welterweight Vicente Luque had the most impressive win of UFC stint with a first-round finish of previously undefeated Niko Price. Luque, a substitute who took the bout on less than two weeks’ notice, pummeled Price (10-1, 1 NC) with an impressive array of punches to the head and body, then finished him on the ground with a D’Arce choke. The time of the finish was 4:08 of round two for Luque (12-6-1), who won for the fifth time in his past six fights.

In other results: Brazilian middlweight Antonio Carlos Junior (9-2, 1 NC) scored his fourth consecutive victory with a rear-naked choke finish of Jack Marshman (22-7) in the first round. The time of the tap was 4:30 ... Jared Gordon scored a dominant win over Hacran Dias in a lightweight matchup. Gordon got scores of 29-26, 30-27 and 29-27 as he improved to 14-1 with his fifth straight win. ... In a welterweight matchup, Max Griffin (13-4) was allowed to continue by the ref and his corner despite taking a wicked beating in his bout with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (18-5). Griffin even rallied to win the second round, but ultimately dropped a unanimous decision on scores of 29-27 and two 29-28s. Dos Santos won his fourth straight fight. ... In an intriguing battle of previously unbeaten flyweights, Deiveson Figueiredo (13-0) got a split decision over Jarred Brooks (13-1). Figueiredo got two 29-28s to one 30-27 for Brooks, with Brooks slowing down in the third likely making the difference. ... Sao Paulo’s own Marcelo Golm (6-0) made his UFC debut memorable, scoring a first-round win over late substitute Christian Colombo (8-3-1) via submission in a heavyweight bout. All six of Golm’s career victories are via first-round finish.