When Rony Mariano Bezerra came to the cage on Oct. 13 at the show in Rio de Janeiro for one of the Fuel prelims to face Ameican Sam Sicilia, the crowd of 16,844 at the HSBC Arena erupted like the main event with Anderson Silva was about to happen.
For most Americans watching, it suddenly felt like we were in another dimension. Rony Jason, as he was called because he usually enters the ring wearing a Jason mask from the 'Friday the 13th' movie series, would barely be known in the United States. He had appeared on a pay-per-view once before from Brazil. And a few fans may have seen him as one of the stars of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in Brazil.
But Brazil is a different world, and about 12 million people weekly were watching the show. To them, Rony Jason, who won that night - and fighters like Erick Silva, who wasn't even on the show but has had explosive first-round finishes on major UFC events - were like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin in the United States going back seven years. Perhaps even multiplied due to greater exposure.LINK