Rafael “Sapo” Natal vs. Michael Kuiper
Round 1: Kuiper lands an inside leg kick. Natal secures a takedown and lands in mount. Kuiper scrambles out and back to his feet. He presses Natal against the cage. Natal circles away. Outside leg kck for Natal lands. Natal ducks under a punch and gets a double-leg takedown. Natal works inside Kuiper’s guard. Kuiper uses the cage to get back to his feet. Natal drives all the way across the cage to get the takedown. Natal in half guard. Kuiper scrambles back to his feet. They’re clinched along the cage. Natal lands a right hand on the break and secures a trip takedown. Natal is in half guard. Kuiper escapes and gains top position. Natal goes for an arm bar. Kuiper gets out and lands a couple of hammer fists. Natal gets to his feet in the final seconds. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Natal with the takedowns.
Round 2: Natal’s corner tells him that he can take Kuiper down every time between rounds. Natal throws a left high kick that’s blocked. Kuiper lands an outside leg kick. Kuiper fends off a takedown attempt. Kuiper fends off another takedown. Natal unable to get the fight to the ground this round. Natal lands a combination on the inside. Natal lands two right hands to the jaw of Kuiper. They’re tied up against the cage with Natal pressing Kuiper against the fence. They separate and Natal throws a combination that partially lands. Two minutes are remaining in the round. Natal attempts a spinning back fist. Kuiper lands an uppercut. Natal lands a right hand. Natal appears to be tired. He’s active with his striking volume but it looks labored at times. He shoots for a takedown and eventually gets it. His first takedown of the round. The round ends. MMAWeekly.com scores the round 10-9 for Natal.
Round 3: Natal’s corner tells him that he has won the first two rounds while he sits on the stool. They advise him to work inside leg kicks more. They touch gloves and the final round is underway. Natall lands an inside leg kick. Kuiper lands an uppercut that puts Natal down. He swoops in to finish but Natal survives. Kuiper is inside Natal’s half guard, landing punches. Natal covers and holds on. Kuiper stands over him and delivers a hard right hand. Natal closes his guard and tries to control Kuiper’s head. Natal has taken a ton of damage in the first half of the round. Natal rolls and gets back to his feet and looks for a takedown. Natal elevates him and slams Kuiper to the canvas. He lands in side control. He lands short elbows to the side of Kuiper’s head. Natal advances to the mount. He applies an arm triangle. He moves to the side to sink it in. Kuiper defends. It is in deep. The bell sounds. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Kuiper. It was a solid fight.
The judges score it unanimously for Natal with the scorecards reading, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.