antonio-braga-neto.jpgFORTALEZA, BRAZIL – It didn’t take long for Antonio Braga Neto to show why he’s one of the most feared jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world.

Making his UFC debut, the Brazilian put his ground skills on display – though he had to eat a few punches to the mug in the process – Neto submitted Strikeforce crossover fighter Anthony Smith with a slick first-round kneebar.

The middleweight bout opened up today’s UFC on FUEL TV 10 event at Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. It streamed on Facebook ahead of a main card on FUEL TV.

Smith opened with a left to the chin, but Neto countered with a right hand. Knowing his key to victory was on the ground, the Pan American Games and World Jiu-Jitsu Championship gold medalist tried a takedown 15 seconds in. But Smith defended and made him eat a knee to the body.

Neto landed a left that backed Smith up moments later and the two traded on the feet. But Neto kept that takedown in mind and got Smith to the ground 100 seconds into the fight. He initially looked for an arm, then tried for a rear naked choke while briefly taking Smith’s back.

Smith was able to escape, then reverse position for a moment, but that’s when Neto took advantage. Neto, more than a 2-to-1 favorite in the fight, grabbed Smith’s left leg, trapped his ankle and torqued for a brutal kneebar finish that had the American tapping at the 1:52 mark of the first frame.

“I felt two of the blows and felt my nose bleed, but it was nothing I wasn’t prepared for,” Neto said. “My training was actually six times worse. It was over so fast that I felt like I could do five more (rounds). I am very excited I was able to win this fight here. My mom is here, my entire family is here – they rented three apartments here. I printed 120 shirts for the people who came and it still wasn’t enough! I’m very happy. I trained very hard, I did things in my training that I hadn’t done in my entire career.”

Neto (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) stretched his win streak to four after wins over UFC vets Maiquel Falcao and Brock Larson prior to signing with the UFC. Smith (17-10 MMA, 0-1 UFC) lost for the second straight time after being submitted by Roger Gracie at the Strikeforce finale in January.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on FUEL TV 10 results include:

  • Antonio Braga Neto def. Anthony Smith via submission (kneebar) – Round 1, 1:52

For complete coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 10, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Antonio Braga Neto)

John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Brazil.

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