The UFC is back and on its travels, as this Wednesday the Octagon touches down in Barueri, Brazil for UFC Fight Night 29: Maia vs. Shields live on Fox Sports 1. Headlining the night’s fighting festivities is a welterweight bout featuring Demain Maia, who has been reborn as a force in the 170lbs division, and Jake Shields, while the co-main slot is taken up with another welterweight matchup as Erik Silva takes on Dong Hyun Kim. The rest of the card is rounded out by light-heavyweights Thiago Silva and Matt Hamill as well as Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran, welterweights Rousimar Palhares and Mike Pierce and bantamweights Raphael Assuncao and T.J. Dillashaw.
Now, as always I am here to brief you on what you should be looking out for on the undercard and due to the very late notice withdrawal of Rodrigo Damm ahead of his fight with Hacran Dias, I am now able to bring you a full preview and predictions of the entire prelim portion of the card. So let’s get started…
Ildemar ‘Marajo’ Alcantara (19-5-0) vs. Igor Araujo (23-6-0-1 NC) –
In place of the Dias-Damm fight, now headlining the undercard is a welterweight matchup as Ildemar Alcantara locks horns with Igor Araujo.
Ildemar Alcantara will burst on to the UFC in pretty spectacular fashion, earning Submission of the Night for his kneebar finish of Wagner Prado at UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping back in January in his promotional debut at light-heavyweight. Alcantara then took the bizarre decision to cut to welterweight and took on Leandro Silva in his most recent bout in June, where Alcantara took home the W in a largely uninspiring contest.
Igor Araujo will be making his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 29 but should still be quite familiar to UFC fans, as Araujo appeared on the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter making it to the quarter final stage before bowing out to eventual winner, Colton Smith. Since his time in the house, Araujo has had one fight in the intermediate against Nic Herron-Webb, who he faced in the TUF house, back in May of this year where Araujo was successful.
Both Alcantara and Araujo tend to rely on their jiu-jitsu to take care of business, but as they will each be facing a competitor that can handily match up with them in that facet of the sport, it is highly likely that we will be treated to a rather insipid kickboxing affair. Alcantara should be able to defend Araujo’s attempts to take this to the mat and will hold enough of an edge on the feet to dictate matters.
Prediction – Alcantara via unanimous decision.
Yan Cabral (10-0-0) vs. David ‘Daudi’ Mitchell (12-3-0) –
Next up is another welterweight bout as Yan Cabral takes on David Mitchell.
Making his UFC debut, Yan Cabral will be familiar to those who paid attention to the second season of TUF: Brazil, as the undefeated welterweight made it through the second round of the competition only to be eliminated as a result of a broken hand. Outside of the TUF house, Cabral last competed in September 2011 at DREAM 17, where he took on MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba and defeated ‘The Gracie Hunter’ via arm-triangle in the second round.
It’s fair to say that David Mitchell’s time in the UFC so far has probably not gone as well as the Californian would have wanted. Having somehow survived losing his first two bouts inside the Octagon, Mitchell would achieve his first UFC win at UFC on Fox 6: Johnson vs. Dodson defeating Simeon Thoresen via unanimous decision. The confidence gleaned from his first UFC victory would not result in further riches however, as Mitchell would again be on the losing end in his most recent performance at UFC 162 after Mike Pierce finished Mitchell midway through the second round.
Despite the long lay-off, Yan Cabral should have more than enough to see off David Mitchell here and with a likely fourth loss in only five Octagon appearances; it is highly unlikely that we will see Mitchell stick around the UFC for much longer.
Prediction – Cabral via submission in the 1st round.
Iliarde Santos (27-8-1-1 NC) vs. Chris Cariaso (14-5-0) –
We now move on to the flyweight division and here we find Iliarde Santos facing off with Chris Cariaso.
Having lost out in his UFC debut to Yuri Alcantara in a bantamweight bout at UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold, Iliarde Santos took the decision to down a weight class to see if new surroundings might bring him a bit of luck. They didn’t. Santos was on the losing end in his most recent fight at UFC 163, as the Brazilian was bested by Ian McCall. If Santos was to lose a third fight in a row with the UFC the immediate future would look very bleak.
Chris Cariaso could also find himself in a bit of trouble if he loses out in this one as like Santos, he is also riding a two-fight losing streak. Cariaso was once quite well thought of as a bantamweight, but since dropping down to the 125lbs division, ‘Kamikaze’ has stuttered coming out on top in only his debut in the division and losing his last two to John Moraga and Jussier Formiga.
As this is likely a loser leaves town scenario and that this is the little guys, I would expect a frenetic pace to be set and for both combatants to throw caution to the wind in hope that even if they lose, an entertaining performance could well save their job as the division is so bereft of talent and numbers. While Santos will hold an advantage on the ground, Cariaso should be able to avoid the takedown attempts of Santos and enjoy extended periods of striking dominance.
Prediction – Cariaso via KO/TKO in the 3rd round.
Allan ‘Nuguette’ Patrick (10-0-0) vs. Garett Whiteley (7-0-0) –
First up on the prelims is a lightweight bout between Allan Patrick and Garett Whitely.
I’m not too familiar with either fighter heading in to this one but I hope that at least one of these competitors will have caught my attention enough to have full reason to look out for them on the next card. Both Patrick and Whiteley will be making their UFC debuts and will enter the cage undefeated, and with a similar finishing ratio, so when considering who to go with and why I have kind of just gone with the nationality factor here. Patrick will be a Brazilian fighting on a Brazilian card against an unheralded American; from experience this only really means one thing.
Prediction – Patrick via KO/TKO in the 1st round.
Tags: chris cariaso, David Mitchell, Demian Maia, Ildemar Alcantara, Jake Shields, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, UFC