The UFC is back and this time it’s a FUEL TV card in Brazil. Time to break down the card and predict who’ll win. Participating in this go around:
Scott Sawitz, Featured Columnist and Managing Editor
Adam Keyes, Staff Writer
Ryan Frederick, Staff writer
Heavyweight bout- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Fabricio Werdum
Frederick: Both men are very different than when they fought in PRIDE way back in 2006. While both are obviously much older, Nogueira has slowed down considerably due to injuries and the beatings he has taken in the past while Werdum has seemingly gotten better with age. Previous performances indicate that Werdum should take the win, but Nogueira always finds ways to pull some tricks out of his sleeve, especially when he fights in Brazil. I still like Werdum to win this fight, though, either by knockout in the middle rounds or by decision. Werdum
Keyes: For me, Werdum’s speed and improving striking proves decisive in a contest where I doubt we will see much of the ground game such is the mutual respect each competitor has for one another’s submission skills. Werdum.
Sawitz: I went with Werdum in my preview and I’ll stick there. I love “Big Nog” and have since the Pride days but he’s alternated wins and losses for a while now and he’s coming off a win against Dave Herman. History doesn’t bode well. Werdum
Light Heavyweight bout- Thiago Silva vs. Rafael Cavalcante
Frederick: This fight has the potential to be brutal and violent. With both men coming off drug-related suspensions, it’s hard to predict what kind of shape they will be in, and both certainly need a win to get themselves back on track. Both men hit hard, but Feijao can mix it up better on the feet. Both have been knocked out in their careers before, and in spectacular fashion in that matter. They will hit each other hard, both will be looking to win “Knockout Of The Night”, and when all is said-and-done, Cavalcante will come out on top. Cavalcante
Keyes: Poor form and inactivity due to drug-related suspensions have dulled a once bright star in Thiago Silva. Cavalcante always impressed me during his run in Strikeforce and save for a KO defeat at the hands of Dan Henderson, very few opponents have looked like troubling the former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ in recent outings. Put me down for a Cavalcante victory with a stoppage being the likeliest outcome. Cavalcante
Sawitz: This is make or break for Thiago; he wins or he probably winds up outside the UFC. My guess he finally puts it all back together. Cavalcante has a great resume but he’s making his debut in the UFC and he’s drawn a fighter with something to prove. I’ll go with Thiago in this because sometimes veteran experience makes the difference. Silva.
Middleweight bout- Daniel Sarafian vs. Eddie Mendez
Frederick: Sarafian looked good for a round in his UFC debut against C.B. Dollaway but faded quickly and was on the losing end of a decision. Meanwhile, Mendez has not fought in over a year and has had several bouts cancelled due to injuries. It is a perfect bounce back fight for Sarafian as it is a chance to get him into the win column against someone with less experience. Never doubt an opponent, though, and Mendez could make Sarafian pay for a mistake. Sarafian takes it though. Sarafian
Keyes: Sarafian’s most recent fight against C.B. Dolloway was the first time I had taken a look at the Brazillian and he made quite the impression and I actually gave him the nod in a close fight that he ended up on the losing end of. While Mendez should have the wrestling edge over Sarafian, I don’t really see this being the difference maker here. I fully expect Sarafian to utilize his superior strength and overwhelm Mendez en route to a stoppage victory. Sarafian.
Sawitz: Sarafian lost a tough one to CB Dollaway but Mendez isn’t anywhere near being the tough out that the “Doberman” is. Plus he’s making his debut on a significantly larger stage, as well. This is tailor-made for some violence. Sarafian
Welterweight bout- Erick Silva vs. Jason High
Frederick: I tend to like this fight more than the original fight, which was Silva vs. John Hathaway. Silva showed what he needed to work on when he lost to Jon Fitch, and High will no doubt be looking to implement a similar approach. High has good wrestling and top control, but he isn’t as much of a grinder as Fitch is. High also is not as good on his feet as Fitch can be, and Silva will make him pay for it. Silva keeps the fight on the feet and it belongs to him all day. Silva
Keyes: It doesn’t take a genius like myself to realise that Erik Silva has considerable talent and is high up on the list of top UFC prospects. Even in losing his last fight to Jon Fitch, Silva managed to accumulate the kind of praise and acclaim that is generally doled out to the victor. While High will pose a very real threat of takedown after takedown that could well stifle Silva’s aggressive approach, I believe that Silva stays off of his back long enough to finish High on the feet. Silva
Sawitz: I like High but Silva’s the better fighter. Everyone is going to overrate High’s wrestling abilities in light of what Fitch did to Silva, at least I think. High’s a good wrestler for MMA purposes but Fitch was a wake up call for the young Brazilian. This is a tough out but Silva gets the job done. Silva.
Featherweight bout- Rony Jason vs. Mike Wilkinson
Frederick: Jason has worlds of potential, and he is no doubt a superstar down in Brazil. He has won both of his UFC fights, and his previous win over Sam Sicilia was ultra-impressive. Wilkinson was lucky enough to win his first UFC fight, and he will have his hands full in his second Octagon appearance. This is a tailor-made fight for Jason to win, and he will win impressively. Jason
Keyes: I have been impressed by Wilkinson in the few fights I have seen of his but I think this opportunity has come a little too early for the Englishman. I think that Jason will be able to take the fight to the mat where he should be able to fully test Wilkinson’s submission defence and look to exploit any possible weaknesses. Jason.
Sawitz: Wilkinson hasn’t shown he’ll be around the UFC for long, at least in his UFC career so far. Jason has … and is a star down there in the making. This could be nasty. Jason
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts