Fabio Maldonado's choice of entrance music was a fitting one. Walking to the Octagon to the iconic theme music of the "Rocky" movies, he would channel the spirit of Sylvester Stallone's fictional slugger for his bout with Glover Teixeira.
Teixeira, in only his second fight in the UFC, has long had a reputation for being a brutal fighter. A late arrival to the UFC, the 32-year-old longtime sparring partner of Chuck Liddell amassed a 17-2 record before finally stepping into the Octagon in May. Of those 17 wins, 12 were by KO or TKO, and he looked well on his way to racking up another Saturday night in Rio.
Teixeira bloodied and battered Maldonado standing and on the ground, twice seemingly having his foe out on his feet. Referee Mario Yamasaki called the doctor in for a look during the second, and a lengthy discussion seemed to hail the end of the bout, but they allowed Maldonado to continue. Not so after the doctor's second exam at the end of the second round.
Maldonado protested, but the doctor's move was a wise one. Two rounds of sustained punishment had left Maldonado's face a mess, and while he still possessed the puncher's chance of a comeback victory, he seemed destined to take only further punishment in the third.
A fighter's job is to continue through adversity, and it is the officials' job to recognize when enough is enough. The fans protested, the fighters protested, but safety of the athletes must always come first -- and never is it more evident than in a fight like this.