The Brazilian walked away from the sport following a frustrating loss to Brendan Schaub, which at the time marked his third in four fights, and after he was handed his UFC release he decided to retire.
That decision didn’t last long, and luckily the new hunger and a return to the UFC has fueled Gonzaga to two wins in a row, the latest being a submission victory over Ben Rothwell on Saturday in his home country of Brazil.
Gonzaga controlled the fight from the opening bell, looking for the clinch and the takedown early while staying away from Rothwell’s power whenever he leapt forward looking for the power shot.
Towards the end of the first round, Gonzaga walked around the Octagon with his mouth open and it appeared his cardio was starting to fade, but maybe it was all smoke and mirrors because he was ready to finish in round two.
It ended up being Rothwell who was sluggish barely putting together any combinations, and Gonzaga countered with a couple right hands to start the round.
Once he found his range, Gonzaga fired forward with a powerful straight right hand, connecting perfectly on Rothwell’s chin. Gonzaga liked that punch so much, he throw another directly to the same spot and Rothwell started grabbing for the clinch to stop the damage.
Instead, Gonzaga grabbed onto Rothwell’s head and neck, locking up a standing guillotine choke before dropping to the mat to look for the submission. With Rothwell’s head secured under his arm and oxygen quickly fading, the former IFL fighter tapped out knowing he was facing defeat.
“I’ve started training a lot more jiu-jitsu so I can go back to my origins, but I also did not forget my striking ability,” said Gonzaga about his submission victory set up by his right hand.
Gonzaga has now gone 2-0 since returning to the UFC, with impressive finishes in both fights. Now as he continues his journey back into the deep end of the heavyweight division, Gonzaga will try to show that same kind of force against the best of the best at 205lbs, which is unfortunately where he’s struggled in the past.
Either way, Gonzaga celebrates on Saturday with a big win over Ben Rothwell at UFC on FX 7.