Middleweight calls it quits with 20-9 record
Rivera was in trouble early against Schafer, who kept him on his back for much of the round. But in the second round, Rivera, while escaping Schafer’s hold on his leg, dived back in and landed shots from his feet while Schafer tried to get back to his knees. But he never could, as Rivera continued to drop fists on him until finally referee Herb Dean stopped the fight 1:31 into the second round.
“I’ve had a wonderful career and I’m very grateful to the UFC, but I don’t want to do this anymore,” Rivera said after the fight. “This job isn’t easy. I’m ready to put my time in being a husband and father.”
Rivera said he could tell earlier in the week that Schafer’s weight cut had taken a toll on him, and he knew he could exploit that in the fight.
“He’s a strong guy,” Rivera said. “But I was watching him in the back – he had a real tough cut and I could feel him breathing harder and harder. I knew it was just a matter of time before I caught him.”
Rivera (20-9, 8-7 UFC), who will turn 40 in February, first fought in the UFC in 2003 with a win over David Loiseau at UFC 44. He bounced back and forth between the UFC and smaller promotions before finally setting in during his current fourth stint with the company. He went 6-4 in his final stint, snapping a two-fight skid with his win over Schafer.
“As far as the fight, I just played to my strengths and never felt threatened by him,” Rivera said. “I told myself coming in tonight to just relax, let it all hang out and hopefully walk away with a win.”
That he did, ending a career that saw him fight the likes of Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping and Chris Leben.
In earlier action on the UFC on FX preliminary card, Khabib Nurmagomedov made his UFC debut an impressive one with a third-round submission of Kamal Shalorus. And Charlie Brenneman grinded out a three-round unanimous decision victory over Daniel Roberts.
The night’s first three fights all ended with first-round finishes. Nick Denis made his UFC debut with a 22-second knockout of Joseph Sandoval. And Daniel Pineda, also debuting with the promotion, followed that up with a quick rear naked choke victory over fellow newcomer Pat Schilling. The third fight went nearly a full round before Fabricio Camoes was able to submit another UFC rookie, Tommy Hayden.