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Stipe Miocic crushes Fabio Maldonado in quick bout at TUF: Brazil 3

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SAO PAOLO, Brazil - Fabio Maldonado valiantly accepted a heavyweight fight with Stipe Miocic to help save the main event at "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3," but he wasn't able to last longer than 35 seconds with his larger opponent.

A big right hand for Miocic led to the quick finish in the headlining bout of Saturday's event, which took place at Sao Paulo's Ibirapuera Gymnasium.

Miocic (12-1) had been expected to face former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, but injury scrapped that matchup and Maldonado stepped in as a replacement opponent.

Maldonado (21-7) was a heavy underdog in the contest, but his penchant for putting on legendary battles led some to believe he had a chance of least making the bout entertaining. Instead, Miocic avoided some early offence and countered with a right to the temple that sent Maldonado to the floor. He followed with a series of hammerfists, and the fight was waved off in just 35 seconds.

"I was real nervous," Miocic said. "That guy's a tank. He keeps coming forward and doesn't stop. He's got the heart of a lion, and I just needed to get my shots in. I got an open break and I landed a good punch. I think it was my night. I didn't want him to play possum with me, and I just waited for an opportunity, and I got it."

In the heavyweight final, Antonio Carlos Jr. (4-0) used a dominant grappling game to outpoint fellow finalist Vitor Miranda (9-4).

Miranda tried to use his kickboxing skills to punish his opponent on the feet, and he chopped at Carlos's legs throughout the 15-minute affair.

But it was Carlos who simply overwhelmed his opponent by repeatedly bringing him to the floor over and over and preventing him from moving back to his feet. Miranda's submission defence was impressive, but he was never able to mount any real counter attack and Carlos was awarded the victory with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Perhaps most impressive in the result is that Carlos has been competing in professional MMA for less than one full year and his natural weight class is actually at 185 pounds, where he'll likely move for his next outing.

"I am the 'TUF' champion, and I couldn't be happier," said Carlos. "I had never fought three rounds, but I think I needed this to grow as a fighter."

Meanwhile in the middleweight final, Warlley Alves (7-0) looked absolutely dominant in a third-round submission win over fellow finalist Marcio Alexandre Jr. (12-1).

Alves was the aggressor from the start, flooring Alexandre with a big right hand in the opening seconds of the fight. To his credit, the resilient Alexandre climbed back to his feet and looked to return fire, but Alves' sheer aggression kept him in control of the fight the entire time.

Big shots on the feet and big takedowns to the floor left Alves clearly ahead after two rounds, but he didn't settle for cruising to a decision win. Instead Alves blasted Alexandre with a big shot on the feet and then pounced with a guillotine choke, putting his opponent to sleep 25 seconds into the third and final round.

"It was an honor to fight with a full, packed Ibirapuera screaming my name," said Alves. "I am sure I will get where I want and hope to put on a show in my upcoming fights."

In a welterweight matchup, Sao Paulo native Demian Maia (19-6) picked up a dominating decision win over promotional newcomer Alexander Yakovlev (21-5-1).

Submission ace Maia actually struck first with his boxing skills, flooring Yakovlev in the opening round with a left hand. But it was his grappling that earned Maia the win after a gutsy Yakovlev scrambled back to his feet.

In all three rounds, Maia was able to take the action to the floor and advance to mount, pinning Yakovlev to the mat and forcing him to fight from his back. To his credit, Yakovlev always tried to buck and roll and escape to his feet, but Maia kept himself in a dominant position for much of the fight and was awarded an easy-to-score decision win, 30-27 on all three judges' cards.

"I really needed this win because in the UFC, every win is important," Maia said. "He defended really well, but I was able impose my game both standing and on the ground. "

In the night's first main-card matchup, featherweight Robbie Peralta (18-4) earned a hard-fought and oddly-scored split-decision win over Rony Jason (14-5).

Jason dominated the early action, landing a massive spinning elbow in the first round that could easily have ended the fight. But Peralta fought through it and seemed to gain confidence as the bout wore on.

As Jason's offence slowed, Peralta came alive, but he was never able to completely dominate the action. With every flurry fired, Jason would find at least a single answer. In the end, Peralta's volume was rewarded with a split-decision win, but Jason's gutsy effort earned him points with the judges, resulting in a bizarre array of scores with 29-28, 27-30 and 30-27.

"He is a tough guy, and I knew it was going to be a battle, going back and forth," Peralta said after the win. "I am just glad I came out on top."

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