In a fight he absolutely needed to win, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante did what he does best. Using his crushing power, Cavalcante battered Igor Pokrajac in the clinch with knees before letting loose with a barrage of punches that caused Pokrajac to tap out.
The end came at 1:18 of the first round.
The clinch has customarily been a position of strength for Pokrajac, but he was simply overpowered by Cavalcante this time against the fence. Cavalcante found enough space to fire off a series of knees. Cavalcante then let it go and fired off a right hand, then a few more that sent Pokrajac heading to the ground.
As he hit the mat, he tapped several times with his right, causing a raucous celebration at Arena Goiania.
Pokrajac stayed prone for several minutes but rose with his left eye almost completely swollen shut. Afterward, he bowed to all four corners of the arena and walked off.
“I was worried about his clinch but I also knew I had mine,” Cavalcante said through an interpreter afterward. “I trained with Anderson [Silva] and [Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira] and I knew I would have him in my clinch. I practiced this.”
Cavalcante had recently had mixed results, losing two of three and also failing a post-fight drug test in 2012 for steroids.
The win was his first in the UFC, as he improved to 12-4 with 1 no contest.
Pokrajac (25-11, 1 no contest) has lost three of his last four fights, with the fourth match originally a loss that got overturned to a no contest when his opponent Joey Beltran failed a drug test. Given that record, he’ll have to await word on whether he’ll get another chance in the octagon.