UFC Sao Paulo results: Andre Ewell rallies for upset over Renan Barao

It was a foreshadowing of things to come: Andre Ewell dropped a charging Renan Barao with a crisp straight shot in the opening minute of their UFC Sao Paulo main-card bout.

Barao recovered from that blow and went on to win the first round. But the former UFC bantamweight champion, who missed weight Friday by nearly six pounds, gassed after that point, and Ewell used his effective striking to rally past Barao over the final two rounds and score the upset in his UFC debut Saturday night.

Ewell got the better end of two out of three 29-28 scores for the split-decision win.

“Mad respect to Renan Barao for taking this fight,” Ewell said. “I wanted someone who could push me so I could have an awesome debut.”

Barao recovered from that initial knockdown for a clear-cut opening-round win, as he got Ewell to the mat and controlled him there for the bulk of the round.

But that was the extent of his highlights in the fight. Most of rounds two and three were spent standing, where Ewell absolutely picked the former champion apart with crisp and accurate punches to the head.

Ewell, the former CES bantamweight champion, improved to 14-4 for his career. He’s won five in a row and nine of his past 10.

For Barao (34-7, 1 NC), the loss accelerated his staggering decline. He’s 2-6 dating back to his UFC 173 title loss to T.J. Dillashaw and has lost three in a row.

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