Stipe Miocic had to fly a long way for a short fight.
Miocic (12-1) recorded the second-quickest finish of his career on Saturday, as he put away Fabio Maldonado via TKO just 35 seconds into their heavyweight bout at "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3" finale inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo.
The Cleveland-based Miocic was originally supposed to fight Junior dos Santos at the event, but dos Santos was forced to withdraw earlier this month with a hand injury. Maldonado (21-7), a light heavyweight, agreed to fill in on short notice.
Known for his ability to take a hit but persevere, Maldonado clearly couldn't live up to that reputation in the heavier weight class. Miocic staggered him in the opening seconds of the fight and then dropped him moments later with a straight right.
A series of hammerfists on the floor by Miocic persuaded referee Mario Yamasaki to stop the bout less than a minute in.
"I was real nervous," Miocic said. "He's a tank. He keeps coming forward. He doesn't stop. He has the heart of a lion. I got him with a good punch. Tonight was my night.
"Me and my coaches went over and over again about how he'll get rocked in the beginning, but come back strong. I didn't want him to play possum with me. I waited for my opportunity and I got it."
The stoppage is Miocic's first since May 2012, when he finished Shane del Rosario via TKO in the second round of a fight at UFC 146 in Las Vegas. It's the eighth time he has finished an opponent via knockout.
It also essentially marks the first time Maldonado has been knocked out in his mixed martial arts career. He suffered a second-round TKO loss to Glover Teixeira in 2012, but that was due to a doctor's stoppage in between the second and third rounds.
Miocic, 31, has emerged as a viable heavyweight contender in the past 18 months. He dominated veteran Roy Nelson in a three-round unanimous decision win last June and did the same to Gabriel Gonzaga in January. He's 6-1 overall in the UFC.
Maldonado, who lives 45 miles away from the arena, saw a three-fight win streak snapped.
Carlos cruises in heavyweight final
The TUF Brazil heavyweight tournament has produced a promising talent -- for the light heavyweight division.
Antonio Carlos Jr. (4-0) dominated Vitor Miranda on the feet and the ground en route to a unanimous decision in the heavyweight tournament finals. All three judges scored the bout for Carlos by scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
"I am the TUF champion and I couldn't be happier," Carlos said. "I would only be happier if [Junior dos Santos] had fought in this card and had won. I had never fought three rounds, but I think I needed this to grow as a fighter."
A natural light heavyweight, who reportedly could even cut to middleweight, Carlos had no trouble advancing through the heavyweight field. He finished all three opponents he fought during the reality series before dominating Miranda (9-4).
Known primarily as a submission specialist, Carlos used effective combinations to set up his takedowns throughout the fight. He owned Miranda in clinches along the fence, consistently controlling his posture and dropping on double leg shots.
He wasn't able to persuade Miranda to touch gloves with him despite an effort to do so at the start of each round. In the second frame, Miranda actually threw an outside leg kick as Carlos offered his glove. Carlos responded by taking him down.
He attacked Miranda with a heel hook and triangle attempt later in that round, but other than that, was never in any position to finish the fight. It was a dominant performance in every other respect though.
"I was more worried in avoiding takedowns and couldn't develop my game plan," Miranda said. "But I think it was a UFC-quality fight. I would like to have come full circle in my time with the "The Ultimate Fighter." It started with trying to get in the house in the first season, then participating in the second and wanting to win the title in the third. I will come back better."
The win marks the first time Carlos has gone the distance in his pro career. All three of his previous victories came via first-round submission. Miranda suffered his first official loss since August 2010.
Alves wins TUF middleweight crown
Alves (7-0) bullied his way to a TUF Brazil middleweight crown in a dominant third-round submission victory. The finish came 25 seconds into the round due to a guillotine choke.
The middleweight contest was completely one-sided, as Alves ran Alexandre out of the cage with constant aggression and power punching. He knocked him down with an overhand right once in the first round and again with a straight right in the third.
After the second knockdown, a dazed Alexandre walked into the guillotine as he attempted to tie Alves up. Alves jumped on the choke and didn't even give him time to tap, as Alexandre visibly went unconscious before referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in.
"I want to thank my team and Chael [Sonnen] for everything he did for me in the TUF," Alves said. "I am sure I will get where I want and hope to put on a show in my upcoming fights."
Alves, 23, showed poise as well, as he continually took Alexandre down or trapped him on the cage at the end of his combinations. Some of his most effective work came in the clinch, while he manhandled Alexandre near the fence.
It's the fourth career submission win for Alves and his fifth finish overall. He stopped two opponents during the filming of the reality show, although those wins are not included on his professional record.
Maia too much for Yakovlev
Maia (19-6) earned a fairly dominant unanimous decision over Yakovlev, due mostly to his world-class grappling and, perhaps, a bit of nerves from his opponent. All three judges scored the welterweight bout for Maia, 30-27.
"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."
A straight left by Maia dropped Yakovlev (21-5-1) in the first round and it appeared he would net a quick finish, as he moved immediately into full mount once Yakovlev hit the canvas.
Yakovlev weathered the storm only to find himself in survival mode again when Maia scored an early takedown in the second round and again transitioned to full mount. The Russian did well off his back though, and made it to the third.
Down 2-0 on the scorecards, Yakovlev strode confidently to the center of the cage and finally opened up on Maia with leg kicks. He terrorized his lead leg for the better part of the round, before Maia took him down and moved back into mount to seal the fight.
"This was my first fight in the UFC but I didn't feel any pressure," Yakovlev said. "I just regret that I gave the fight a slower pace and this was better for him."
It wasn't the most efficient win for the 36-year-old Maia, but it snaps a two-fight skid. He had dropped back-to-back decisions to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald heading into the bout. Yakovlev fell to 0-1 in the UFC.
Peralta edges Jason by split decision
Peralta (18-4) survived a few nasty exchanges early in the fight before edging Bezerra, aka "Jason," on the scorecards.
Judges Chris Lee and Richard Bertrand each scored the bout for Peralta 30-27 and 29-28, respectively, while judge Vinicious Lins saw it 30-27 for Bezerra. ESPN.com had it 29-28 in favor of Peralta.
"He is a tough guy and I knew it was going to be a battle, going back and forth," Peralta said. "I am just glad I came out on top."
Peralta was unquestionably the busier of the two, as he threw nearly twice as many strikes as Bezerra according to cageside stats. He was most successful throwing punches in combinations, particularly in the second round.
Bezerra (15-4) showcased plenty of firepower as well, but appeared to wilt under the high pace. He perfectly timed a spinning back elbow on Peralta midway through the first round and wobbled him moments later with a left hook.
Peralta refused to go away, however, and started to have his way in the next round. He knocked Bezerra backwards with a right hand early in that frame and nearly put him down with another right a couple minutes later.
An accidental eyepoke from Bezerra broke action in the final round, but didn't do much in breaking Peralta's rhythm. He continued to pressure Bezerra on the restart, and worked quickly back to his feet after surrendering a late takedown.
"I tried to get the knockout but I hurt my hand at the beginning of the first round and that limited my strikes," Bezerra said. "I thought I won the three rounds. I don't like to bring fights to a decision but he is really good and I couldn't knock him out or finish him. I thought I was going to win by points but unfortunately I paid for my mistake."