Gabriel Gonzaga Gets a Quick win in UFC Return


After a short-lived retirement from MMA and one fight outside the UFC, Gabriel Gonzaga returned to the Octagon as a later replacement at last week’s UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes. The veteran was released from the promotion back in October of 2010 following a unanimous decision loss to Brendan Schaub at UFC 121. Filling in for the injured Rob Broughton, “Napao” made short work of newcomer Ednaldo Oliveira to earn his first UFC win since August of 2009 when he defeated Chris Tuchscherer.

Gonzaga (13-6) went back to his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu roots that had vaulted him up the UFC ranks over six years ago to submit his opponent. After his highlight reel Mirko Cro Cop folding head kick knockout, he steered away from the BJJ and it ultimately cost him.

“It felt great to be back in the Octagon. I showed that I still have my BJJ skills in there tonight. My time away from the UFC was good for me. I dealt with some personal business in my life and came back refocused. Before, I was training well, but my mind just wasn’t in it. Now, I’m back, I feel great. I’m focused and I showed that by beating a 13-0 fighter,” said Gonzaga.

Less than two minutes into the fight Gonzaga took Oliveira down with a single leg and began working. The slick ground game is evident and he quickly improved his position from side control to the back of Oliveira, before finishing the fight via rear naked choke at 3:22 of the first round. It was Gonzaga’s first submission win inside the Octagon since 2008 and an impressive showing on short notice.

With all the personal issues behind him now and returning to his roots, Gonzaga looks to be back and ready to vault himself back up the UFC heavyweight ranks.

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