UFC Fight Night 32 Preview – Cezar Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian

Once upon a time it was supposed to be this very matchup that determined the middleweight winner of the inaugural season of TUF: Brazil. Now it’s a high profile fight on a Brazilian card and, oddly enough, will probably be seen by more Americans than UFC 147 was.

Fight Breakdown – The one interesting thing about both of these fighters is that they’ve both been lifelong martial artists in a variety of disciplines. Both guys also have weathered some tough spots earlier in their career and are now getting their fighting acts in order. It’s kind of nice to see two prospects on the rise meeting at exactly the right time in their careers.

Ferreira has a solid ground game but his bread gets buttered with his stand up game. Cezar “Mutante” is a Vitor Belfort protégé and has a nuanced striking game. He’ll look to keep it standing, where he has a clear edge, but is comfortable enough to at least neutralize Sarafian’s ground game. His best shot at winning is to sprawl and brawl; his BJJ is good but Sarafian has a long record of choking out guys. He doesn’t have a great record of standing and trading. Ferreira needs to exploit this.

Sarafian loves strangling guys and has a first rate judo/bjj background. He’ll want to bring it to the ground, where he’s most comfortable. He’s also at sizeable disadvantage in height and reach; thus he’ll need to get in close and do it as quickly as possible.

The key to the fight will be Sarafian’s gas tank. He’s a small middleweight and gassed noticeably in the Dollaway fight. Sarafian may have lost controversially but the key to his loss was that Dolloway was able to get back into that fight because Sarafian faded. Sarafian has to come in and wear out Ferreira first, keeping enough in the gas tank to finish stronger.

Why it matters – This is a perfect prospect pushing fight. Whoever wins here will be ready to move up into the deeper waters of the division. It’ll also give us the answer to the question of “Who should’ve won TUF: Brazil 1″ … Ferreira won the tournament but fought an injury substitute to do so. That stuff normally doesn’t mean much but Ferreira winning will be an emphatic confirmation that he would’ve won the first season.

Prediction – Ferreira

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