Tune in at 9:00 PM ET for coverage of the main card of UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping. Ryan Kelly will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Hello and welcome to theScore's ongoing coverage of the world of mixed martial arts. Tonight we present UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping.
Four fights are on tonight's main card, which emanates from Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Our main event tonight is an important one in the middleweight division, with Vitor Belfort taking on Michael Bisping. Should Bisping emerge victorious, he will secure a title shot against Anderson Silva.
Also on the main card is a middleweight bout between a pair of former TUF competitors -- CB Dolloway, who was the finalist on TUF 7, and Daniel Sarafian, who advanced to the finals of TUF: Brazil, but was unable to compete due to injury.
We also have a heavyweight fight between Ben Rothwell and Gabriel Gonzaga and things will kickoff with a lightweight scrap between Thiago Tavares and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov has a 3-inch height advantage, but the reach is identical.
Referee will be Dan Miragliotta.
Tavares immediately takes the middle of the cage as the two dance around each other. He's the first to exchange, sort of, starting to throw a body kick, but not actually throwing it.
Nurmagomedov the first to land, stepping forward and connecting with a good right hand.
Nurmagomedov steps out of the way of Tavares' strike and lands a good counter.
Really slow pace to start here.
Nurmagomedov steps in with a leaping uppercut and Tavares GOES DOWN. Nurmagomedov pounces and starts in on a series of elbows from the top and they are just BRUTAL. Finally, Miragliotta steps in to save Tavares.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the winner.
It was at least 10 unanswered strikes for Nurmagomedov, before the stoppage came.
Tweet from Dana White: @danawhite: Ok that is officially the END of Dan M!!!! Guys head is straight up his ass 2 night!!!! 17 vicious strikes!!!! After he was already hurt
@mmajunkie There was a point about halfway through those strikes the Tavares kinda slumped down. That's usually a tell-tale sign to stop the fight.
Also, after watching that replay again, at least a couple of those elbows looked like they were pretty close be being illegal 12-6 ones.
Rothwell has 3 inches in height and 4 inches in reach.
More slow pace to start this one, too.
Gonzaga shoots in, grabs the single leg and gets the takedown.
Rothwell able to quickly get back to his feet, and Gonzaga then drags him by the leg into the corner.
Gonzaga eventually get the takedown, but Rothwell pops back up. Then they do it again.
Back to stalling against the fence and with Gonzaga holding on to the single leg.
Again with the takedown, but Rothwell refuses to stay there and gets back to his feet again.
Nearing midpoint of the round.
Gonzaga not active enough and Goddard separates them.
With the re-start, you would think Rothwell would be eager to throw some strikes. So far, ehhh, not so much.
Gonzaga pushes him against the fence again, and while Rothwell is able to push him off, he eats a hard-right hand for his trouble.
Rothwell moving forward with a three-punch combo, but only one really lands.
They tie up against the fence again, and Gonzaga is the one with his back to it this time.
Gonzaga with a trio of solid right hands that land and there's not a small welt under Rothwell's left eye.
Gonzaga shoots for the single, Rothwell sprawls and stays on his feet.
He then follows up with a combo, and lands a couple good punches.