UFC On FX 8 – Roundtable Predictions For Main Card From Entire Staff

After a couple weeks off the UFC returns with a Brazilian-centric card, headlined by Vitor Belfort welcoming last Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold into the Octagon. We’ve broken down the card already, now it’s time for the staff to predict the main card.

Daniel Sohn, Staff Writer
Ryan Frederick, Staff Writer
Adam Keyes, Staff Writer
Scott Sawitz, Managing Editor & Featured Columnist
Luke Cy, Staff Writer

Middleweight bout- Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold

Sohn: Belfort is fighting in his native country against a very talented challenger making his UFC debut. The Phenom is going to ride the momentum from his plastering of Michael Bisping and pull off a hard-fought victory in Brazil. Belfort

Frederick: Belfort has looked impressive in his two fights in Brazil, which also brings into the question about his usage of TRT and whether it gives him an advantage. He looked awesome against Michael Bisping and he will need to look the same again if he’s going to defeat Rockhold. Rockhold was the best middleweight not in the UFC, and he gets his shot now and in a big fight to boot. He is really good and he will show the UFC fans why he will be fighting the championship in the future. Rockhold

Keyes: Belfort has seemed a completely different animal of late, now I dont know if that is down to Jesus or TRT but whatever it is it seems to be working for “The Phenom.” Belfort is 8-2 over his last ten fights with the two defeats coming against Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, so not exactly a pair of scrubs. While I do like Rockhold as a fighter and respect his skill set and potential as a force in the middleweight division, he has not come up against anyone with the explosive power of Belfort before and I think that this could turn in to bad night for him if he is not able to avoid the early Belfort rush. Belfort

Sawitz: I like Rockhold as a fighter but a couple things concern me: he’s fighting overseas and it’s been a significant period of time between fights. He’s exceptionally talented but ring rust will be an issue and making your UFC debut in one of the toughest places to fight for someone who isn’t Brazilian will be something to take into consideration. Octagon Jitters rattled Daniel Cormier, of all people, and they could play a factor here. The matchup reminds me an awful lot of Belfort/Bisping and for some reason I see it playing out that way. Belfort

Cy: This could be an epic war with both men appearing to be on the cusp of a title shot. Every time Belfort competes his mental strength is questioned and in Rockhold he faces an extremely composed and skilled fighter who is determined to prove a point. With that said Belfort hasn’t shown those cerebral frailties for quite some time and allied with home advantage and Rockhold making his UFC debut, I’m leaning towards a vintage performance by the “The Phenom”. Belfort

Middleweight bout- Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi

Sohn: Camozzi is taking this fight on short notice. He won a close split decision in his last fight, and he didn’t exactly look spectacular doing it. Jacare will easily be the best opponent Camozzi has ever faced, and he will be too much for him. Souza

Frederick: This is a huge opportunity for Camozzi as he steps in for Costa Philippou. Souza is a world-class jiu-jitsu fighter who has some serious power in his hands and tremendous submission skills. Camozzi is incredibly underrated and has put together an impressive four-fight win streak. He was already competing on short notice against Rafael Natal on this card, but Souza is a tremendous leap in competition. Camozzi has the ability to pull off the big upset, but I don’t see Souza falling in his UFC debut. Souza

Keyes: Huge fan of Jacaré and feel that this fight is just the first step towards gaining the recognition that his impressive and ever-more diverse talents deserve. Against a game, yet short notice opponent in Camozzi, I expect Souza to be able to catch the former TUF veteran in any one of the myriad of submissions that the former Strikeforce Middleweight champ possesses. Souza

Sawitz: This is the ultimate trap fight for Souza, who came in looking at getting in the title mix in his first fight as opposed to six months or so down the road. Camozzi is a talented fighter but I think this is deeper waters than he’ll be able to wade at this point in his career. Camozzi reminds me an awful lot of Ed Herman in that he’s a similarly gritty and durable middleweight but isn’t stellar at any particular thing, and not the best of athletes either. I think this fight winds up looking awfully similar to that one. Souza

Cy: Souza is an awesome addition to the UFC and one who I fully expect to make big waves in the middleweight division. Credit to Camozzi for stepping up to the plate and having beaten Luiz Cane in Brazil last year he will not be intimidated by the challenge but I don’t foresee history repeating itself when facing “Jacare”, who will seal his status as a top contender and claim another submission scalp. Souza

Lightweight bout- Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham

Sohn: Dos Anjos is on a three fight win streak that includes wins over Anthony Njokuani and Mark Bocek. He’s really hitting his stride right now and he gets Evan Dunham in his native country. Dunham is a tough out, but Dos Anjos takes this one. Dos Anjos

Frederick: This fight could be fun. Dos Anjos has shown a tremendous amount of improvement after starting his UFC career with two losses. He has gone 7-2 since then, and those two losses could have easily been wins. Dunham was skyrocketing toward superstardom before falling back down the ladder with a 3-3 stretch. This is quality matchmaking by Joe Silva and will be a treat for fans watching. I picked Dunham to win in my preview, and I think he gets the job done down the stretch. Dunham

Keyes: Dunham was once tipped to do big things in the UFC lightweight division until successive defeats to Sean Sherk and Melvin Guillard derailed the hype train, but in recent outings Dunham has begun to re-establish himself in the 155lbs ranks. Dos Anjos has looked good lately and is beginning to find some consistency in his performances which is reaping the rewards at the moment. Both men are pretty well versed in all aspects of MMA and I expect this to be a very tight affair but put me down for Dos Anjos. There is just something about these Brazilians when they fight in front of their home crowd: it just seems to give them that extra little bit needed to push them on during the contest. I feel that that factor will go play a hand in deciding the outcome of this one. Dos Anjos

Sawitz: I like this fight but don’t love either guy in it. Dunham’s really talented but hasn’t been the same since Melvin Guillard tuned him up, either. He was right on the cusp of becoming elite when he lost to Dunham and he’s been fairly ordinary since. Dos Anjos is talented but I’m not sure if he has that next gear. Dunham

Cy: Dos Anjos has really begun to excel of late and started to find his groove in the striking department to compliment is already highly evolved Ju-Jitsu game but Dunham has looked as equally impressive throughout his career and will feel he can best the Brazilian in all areas of the fight. I expect a highly entertaining toe-to-toe battle with both fighters evenly matched and well-rounded but I foresee the Brazilian inflicting more visible damage and getting the nod by a contentious split decision. Dos Anjos

Middleweight bout- Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino

Sohn: Zeferino has fought in Brazil plenty of times, but this is his first fight in the UFC. He’s a submission specialist, but Natal has never been submitted in 19 fights. Look for Natal to welcome Zeferino to the big leagues in a bad way. Natal

Frederick: Fans may not know the names of Natal and Zeferino, but they will get the chance to showcase their skills on the main card. This could be a fun grappling battle but could also turn into a condition-filled grinding battle as both took the fight on short notice. Natal has the UFC experience under his belt and Zeferino will need to fight off any nerves. Natal

Keyes: Prior to this fight being rearranged, with Camozzi going on to fight Souza and Natal being matched up with promotional newcomer Zeferino, I had absolutely no clue who this debutant was. After doing a bit of research it seems quite apparent that Zeferino is a highly skilled jiu-jitsu player, with 9 of his 13 victories coming via tapout, and will likely hunt for the submission against Natal. While Natal has compiled a scrappy record of 3-2-1 since being in the UFC, he is a BJJ black belt and has never been subbed in his career. I see Natal’s experience of fighting at a higher level and competent striking being able to fend off Zeferino enough to take home the decision. Natal

Sawitz: Zeferino is elite on the ground but he’s taking the fight on relatively short notice against a tough early test in the UFC. Natal is just too experienced at this point, I think. Natal

Cy: Natal must have been disappointed with the switch of opponent having been set to face the American Camozzi and will have to be keenly aware of the ground threat that the newcomer Zeferino possesses. With that noted I expect “Sapo” to dictate where the fight takes place using his superior stand up skills and utilize his leg kicks and excellent takedown defence before applying enough pressure to finish the fight by TKO. Natal

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