Newcomer Joao Zeferino started his debut on the main card at ‘UFC On FX 8’ brightly, but he ran out of stream in the later rounds which allowed Rafael Natal to gain the upperhand and claim a decision victory.
The first strike that lands here was a big overhand right from Zeferino that backs up Natal. He seems fairly comfortable with his striking given that this is his debut.
Zeferino wades in with another overhand followed up by more punches that again has Natal taking to his heels.
Natal tries for a takedown, but it doesn’t work out well and Zeferino who lands in the more favorable position. They then get into a 50/50 position with each looking for a potential leg or footlock, but they are pretty much canceling each other out.
They stay in that position for several minutes with the only real offense being a few kicks with the heel of Natal to Zeferino’s arms. With 30 seconds to go the ref stands them up and they exchange a few punches to end the round.
A leg kick from Natal starts the second round and Zeferino counters with a punch to the face. Zeferino winds up with another overhand that’s not quite as successful as in the first.
Zeferino attempts a takedown and gets Natal to the mat for a split second before he’s back upright. Natal cliinches up against the cage, then his opponent reverses and they separate.
Leg kick lands for Natal and Zeferino throws another overhand right that misses. Zeferino bundles forward looking for a takedown, but there’s nothing doing and he looks a little tired out there after the exertions of the opening five minutes.
Natal lands a punch to the face and Zeferino returns fire with a couple of his own. Spinning back fist misses from Natal, but just afterwards Zeferino loses his balance and drops to the mat and that allows Natal to get on top in his guard. He lands a little ground and pound, but there’s not a great deal of urgency as he closes out the round from this position.
Onto round three and Zeferino starts with a nice counter right hand after a missed strike from Natal. A little scramble and Natal spins to Zeferino’s back where he then lands some shots to the body before separating.
Nice right hand from Zeferino, but his offense is only coming in single shots right now. Zeferino attempts a takedown that’s unsuccessful and Natal counters with one of his own that he’s able to complete.
Natal staying tight to Zeferino from half guard and lands a few shots before his opponent works back to full guard. Back to half guard for Natal and then side control where he lands some elbows to the body before transitioning to the mount.
Zeferino rolls back and forth, but he can’t shake Natal off. Latched onto his back in the final 10 seconds he lands some punches to the head to close this one out.
Onto the judges scorecards and it’s Natal who gets the unanimous decision verdict (30-27, 29-28 x2).