'Blessed' Hong Kong-based fighter Alberto Mina triumphs in first UFC bout
Brazilian makes an explosive debut by winning in four minutes against Japanese opponent
A lifetime of preparation exploded into just over four minutes of pure action for Alberto Mina at the CotaiArena in Macau on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old entered the Octagon as the first Hong Kong-based fighter to grace the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and he left it victorious, with the crowd on its feet and his arms raised in triumph.
The 32-year-old won his welterweight bout against Shinsho Anzai thanks to a pair of brutal uppercuts that sent the 29-year-old Japanese fighter to the canvas and saw Mina fly in to seal the deal. The hammer blows rained down and the referee brought an end to it all after just four minutes and 17 seconds of the first round.
“I’ve waited all my life for this and I just feel so blessed,” said Mina afterwards, with cheeks still shining red from the battle. “To have the support I felt when I came into the arena and to hear the crowd yelling my name lifted me. He was a tough opponent and I found it hard to hurt him, but when he went down from the uppercuts I knew that was my chance.”
Mina had entered the arena to thunderous applause, and did his part in pumping up the hype, raising his arms and calling for support. Anzai played bad boy, refusing to touch gloves before the start, a move that was met with a chorus of boos from the crowd.
The fighters traded blows at a furious pace. When the end came, they both lay prone and exhausted before Mina struggled to his feet – and the 8,000-strong crowd at the 10-fight card went wild.
“This just means so much to me,” said Mina, who was born in Brazil and works at the Epic MMA club in Central. “Hong Kong is my home now, all my friends and it seems like the whole gym came tonight.
“It has been a long time coming for me. I am just a little fish in a big pond. The UFC is massive, and the welterweight division is massive so who knows where I can go from here.”
In feature bouts, fourth-ranked American welterweight Tyron Woodley landed a perfect roundhouse right that sent Kim Dong-hyun down. The referee saved the Korean from further punishment with 1:01 of their bout gone. Briton Michael Bisping battered Cung Le in their middleweight bout. The Vietnamese-American fought gamely but a flurry of blows in the fourth round signalled the end.