The first fight of the night has been ever changing. Rafael Natal was originally scheduled to face Riki Fukuda, then Constantinos Philippou, and finally Bradley. Bradley is a two time Division I All American at the University of Iowa. That plays in his favor in a matchup with the Brazilian grappler. Fighting two weeks ago on an independent card does not. This middleweight battle will be Bradley's UFC debut. It is Natal's third fight with the promotion. If he loses, it will likely be his last.
Round One: Natal shows a striking advantage early, landing a collection of jabs and leg kicks. Bradley seems content to stand, but is mostly throwing wild windmilling rights. Bradley is bleeding from the nose and eating more and more kicks. In the last thirty seconds, Bradley connects hard, but does nothing to follow up. SBNation Score: 10-9 Natal
Round Two: Between rounds Bradley's corner encourages him to work his takedowns. There is a wild exchange to open the round and Bradley ends up taking Natal to the mat. When looking for better position, Bradley loses his top control and Natal springs to his feet. Bradley takes a hard leg kick and he has a huge red welt on his left leg. He isn't doing anything to check them. Bradley, after early round success, has completely abandoned his wrestling game. With 40 seconds left in the round, Natal seemingly poked Bradley in the eye. When the action resumed, Bradley got a takedown to close the round. Close round. SBNation Score: 10-9 Bradley
Round Three: Rogan is encouraging Bradley to make it a slugfest in the commentary, but he just doesn't seem built that way. He is instead making this a kickboxing match - despite having no idea how to stop the legkick. Mid way through the round, Bradley started working for the takedown in earnest - but Natal defends each shot nicely. Bradley normally competes at 170 pounds. The 15 pound difference is making it hard for him to control his opponent. With just over a minute to go, Bradley gets a takedown but Natal is able to get back to his feet quickly. The fight ends and Natal raised his hands overhead. He believes he won the fight. SBNation aggrees. SBNation Score: 10-9 Natal
Official Result: Rafael Natal beats Paul Bradley by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, and 29-28)