Rolles Gracie gets back on the winning track. (Photo: Matt Leung/MMADieHards.com
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The UCC 4 card on Friday can be remembered as the possible first step in the return of Rolles Gracie, overshadowed by an anticlimactic and contested finish to the main event.
Gracie submitted an overmatched Braden Bice in 65 seconds, but the headlining featherweight title match between Andy Main and Felipe Arantes ended in a no contest at 4:31 of the first round.
Arantes and Main battled through a hotly contested round when Arantes connected with a knee to the head of Main, who was ruled as being down by referee Kevin Mulhall. Main was checked by the ringside physician, who ruled he was unable continue and waved off the fight.
The fight was ruled no contest because the knee was deemed inadvertent. It left the confused crowd booing, Arantes and his corner furious, and the UCC 145-pound title vacant.
Arantes, his Gold Team Fighters USA teammates and New Jersey State Athletic Commission Counsel Nick Lembo reviewed the exclusive video from MMADieHards.com after the conclusion of the event. It appeared Arantes buckled Main with a right hand, then connected with his knee to Main’s head while Main was falling. Initial reviews proved inconclusive as to whether or not Main was in a downed position when the knee stuck his head.
Mulhall immediately stepped in. The ringside physician put Main, who was clearly dazed, through a quick test. The wobbly Main did not pass, and the doctor immediately waved off the fight. She had to wave it off numerous times before most observes even realized the fight was over.
“If I wasn’t on the ground, they should give him the win,” said Main, who was still dazed minutes after the fight ended. “If not, then it should be a no contest. I have to see the video.”
“I threw the knee, but he was falling because the punch knocked him out,” Arantes, through translator Plinio Cruz, told MMADieHards.com. “The referee said he put his hands on the ground and it wasn’t legal, but it was. He should be man enough to accept that he lost, because I really knocked him out. He told the doctor he could not keep going. He was playing it smart because he knew he would get knocked out again.”
L-R, clockwise: Arantes, Lucas Pimenta, Maggie Krol, Nick Lembo (Joe Rizzo/MMADieHards.com)
Before leaving the cage, promoter Chris Sblendorio asked the fighters back for UCC 5 in June. Both fighters appeared to agree, although Main remained confused and Arantes needs a translator to understand English.
“I want to do the rematch like a title defense,” Arantes said. “I am the champion, I won the title. I want to do it, but I want to do it like the champ – defend the title, beat him up and come back the champ again.”
Gracie earned the tap via head and arm choke, although the official record said a headlock. Trying to earn his way back into the UFC after a lackluster one-and-done performance in a loss to Joey Beltran 14 months ago, Gracie overmatched Bice with a quick takedown and advanced into side control before putting him away.
“I kept trying to get him in the guillotine,” Gracie said. “I was trying to keep his arm trapped and I finally found the head and arm choke.”
Gracie has run the Renzo Gracie Academy in Holmdel, N.J. for the two years it has been open.
“This is the best place to be,” said Gracie, who now only heads back to Brazil for one or two weeks a year. “I like to fight in my home state now. New Jersey is my home.”
Sean Santella eeked out a split decision over Sidemar “Sedico” Honorio to win the 135-pound UCC title, earning a 29-28 nod in the eyes of two judges, while the other had Honorio by the same score. Santella appeared to have a slight edge in the first two rounds, using his work in the final seconds to steal each.
In the waning moments of the first round, Santella connected with a stiff right hand and a flying knee just before the bell sounded. In the second, Santella hit a late takedown. Honorio had a clear edge in the third, and after the decision was announced, he gave a thumbs-down to the pro-Santella crowd.
“There is no way a Brazilian is going to win a decision against an American in an event like this,” Honorio said.
Mike Stewart closed what had been a very tight fight with Glen Sandull with a heavy right hand that knocked out Sandull cold with 11 seconds remaining in the contest. Stewart might have had the edge due to a series of right-leg kicks that slowed the former Division II All-American wrestler. Sandull attempted the only two takedowns of the fight, but Stewart was able to stuff both.
Chris Foster defeated Kevin Roddy in a featherweight bout, winning every round on the judges’ scorecards. Foster pressed the action was extremely calm throughout. Roddy’s attempted guard-pulls might have cost him.
Aljamain Sterling was dominant in his professional debut against Sergio Da Silva, winning a unanimous decision that included a 30-25 scored by judge Jeff Blatnik. Sterling nearly had the fight finished in the first round with a D’Arce choke he transitioned into a neck crank, but Da Silva made a terrific escape, only to have his forehead and bridge of his nose cut up later in the fight.
Lucas Pimenta (2-0) of Brazil defeater Istanbul’s Yusef Yoldas via unanimous decision, using a series of hard slams decision to earn the victory. Pimenta, Arantes’ teammate, won despite being penalized by referee Dan Miragliotta for an illegal knee to the head of the downed Turkish fighter.
The fight between Mike Budnik and Gabriel Miglioli was canceled, as Budnik neither showed up at the arena nor contact the promoter. Miglioli was awarded his show purse and a $500 bonus.