It was a pretty tense affair. Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo threw verbal jabs at each other before squaring off for the first of many face to face encounters over the next two weeks.
While you can understand how the UFC is trying to capitalise on the promotional value of the biggest featherweight fight in MMA history, you'd have to wonder if the two men won't be bored by the time the tour finishes in Dublin on the 31st March.
You can only answer the same questions in so many ways.
Some light relief will be gotten from the locations that are open to fan participation. As we saw in Brazil, MMA fans have a pretty loose interpretation of what a Q&A should be.
Once the media had their turn, the fans in attendance in Rio took turns lining up at the mic to mock McGregor and tell him how badly July 11th was going to go for him. The Dubliner seemed to revel in the crowd's disdain.
Sitting with his feet on the table, legs crossed he would blow the crowd kisses as they chanted 'You're gonna die'.
When it came to answering questions, McGregor got serious. It was the same confident response as always - "I'm gonna bang a left hand straight down the pipe and break his nose.
UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare was held last Saturday at the Ginásio do Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Before a fighter had weighed in let alone thrown a punch in anger some MMA fans and media alike showed little interest in watching a card with so few big names on it.
If the movie industry has taught us anything it's that booking the big names does not always guarantee box office success. The same applies in MMA. Quite often the best fights at an event come from the preliminary portion of the card filled with the supposedly lesser names in the weight divisions.
In the main event Demian Maia put on a grappling clinic for four rounds to overcome undefeated prospect Ryan LaFlare. LaFlare was in defence mode for much of the fight as the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion has his way him till the last round.
The attritional grappling eventually took its toll on Maia who gassed out hard in the fifth round. Throughout the round he flopped to his back during a scrambles for a takedown. After repeated warnings referee John McCarthy deducted one point from Maia just as the final hooter sounded. This was an impressive return for Maia after a ten month layoff.
Erick Silva is one of the most talked about fighters with a so-so record. Having debuted in 2011 with high expectations his UFC career has flipped flopped between wins and losses. His win over Josh Koscheck on Saturday night was the first time he’s strung back to back wins in his 10 Octagon career. And he looked good doing it.
Josh Koscheck has reached the end of his current UFC contract and maybe the end of a long and illustrious career.
Having taken part in the ground breaking The Ultimate Fighter season one in 2005, Koscheck rose through the ranks to get a title shot against Georges St.-Pierre. After losing against GSP it seemed Koscheck lost more ambition than ability.
After fighting infrequently and losing his last five outings Koscheck has hinted it might be time to call it a day.
However, having taken this fight only three weeks after his last maybe Koscheck was looking for a way out of the UFC rather than MMA.
Had he retired with one fight left on his contract he would have been unable to pursue work with another promotion. But now, he certainly owes the UFC nothing as has become an MMA free agent.
While he could court one of the UFC’s rival promotions for a big money fight, at 37 years old with a lot of miles and rounds on the clock maybe it’s time to walk away.
The UFC handed out four performance bonuses on the night. Gilbert Burns battled back in the final round with some excellent submission work to get a win and $50,000. Also Godofredo Pepey threw caution to the wind to bag an exciting submission win and bonus of his own.
Kevin Souza’s one punch KO of was perfect in its execution and terrifying the way it felled Katsunori Kikuno like a tree. Fredy Serrano deservedly got a bonus for kicking off a great card with a devastating one punch KO of his own.
For those who opted not to watch Saturday night's action missed a cracker. With the exception of one or two, all the fights served up some tremendous action with some fantastic finishes.
Though some bonuses were handed out by the UFC I don't think there were enough awards for this event. Here are a few unofficial IndoSport.ie MMA Column awards we would have liked to have presented on the night.
The Most Appropriate Nickname award went to Alex 'Cowboy' Oliveira who decided being a professional bull rider was too soft, so he became an MMA fighter.
The LL Cool Jay 'Don't call it a Comeback’ award went to Gilbert Burns, who rallied back from a two round deficit to beat The Cowboy. His slick jiu jitsu transitions from an omoplata to full mount to a triangle into an armbar were nothing short of amazing.
The ‘Party Pooper of the Night’ award went to referee Eduardo Heruy who seemed to struggle with identifying when a fighter was tapping out due to a choke. In the second fight of the night Christos Giagos had Jorge de Oliveira in a deep rear-naked choke. De Oliveira knew he wasn't getting out and tapped out to signal the end… except the end didn't come.
Thankfully the ref caught it the second time before de Oliveira was choked unconscious.
In a later bout Drew Dober defended perfectly and worked his way out of a guillotine choke. The same ref intervened to stop the fight and awarded Leandro Silva the win. Dober was still conscious, moving and didn't tap, so it's hard to see what made the referee think he was unconscious.
The ‘Gratuitous Over Celebrating’ award went to Leandro Silva. A UFC win deserves to be celebrated but Silva must have felt Dober still battling his submission attempt and therefore probably knew he didn’t choke him out. A win under those circumstances hardly warrants laps of the Octagon and a version of the robot dance while your opponent is still protesting the stoppage.
The ‘Blatant ignoring my corners advice’ award went to Akbarh Arreola who despite being told not to throw any kicks and keep his guard open on the ground, proceeded in every round to throw multiple kicks of all variety and lock up a tight guard when the fight hit the floor. I guess his corner won't be taking any blame for the loss.
The ‘Crazy is as Crazy Does’ award went to Godofredo Pepey who's tattoo's, illuminous orange hair, black beard and general demeanour should have given his opponent Andre Fili a notion to expect the unexpected. While standing in the clinch Pepey locked a spectacular jumping triangle choke to coax a tap from Fili.
Dubliners Charlie Ward (SBGi) and John Redmond (Team Ryano) were in action at Rage in the Cage III over the weekend. The event was in Glasgow with £10,000 at stake for the winner of an eight man middle weight tournament. Unfortunately both men went out in their first fight.
Ward was on pro debut and Redmond was coming back after a series of unfortunate injuries. Welshman John Philips took home the 10-G’s.
Extreme Fighting Championship is Africa’s largest MMA promotion. At EFC 38 on Saturday 4th April in Durban, South Africa SBG’s Peter Queally will fight Martin Van Staden in the co-main event to see who will get the next shot at David Buirski’s welterweight title.
Recently added to the EFC 38 card is Louth’s Stephanie Quaile. Team Ryano fighter Quaile will be making her professional debut and fighting undefeated South African, Amanda Lino.