UFC Fight Night 32 Rountable – Inside Fights Staff Dissects Main Card, Predictions

For the second time this week we’re getting together to break down the main card of a UFC Fight Night. It’s a top heavy card, with only Belfort/Henderson being a fight with consequences. It’s got significance, though, as the winner of Belfort/Henderson could mean something in the UFC. What, we don’t know, but we’re looking at either the resurgence of Dan Henderson as he hits free agency or the final feather in Vitor’s cap before he faces off for the middleweight title again.

Joining me this week, complete with newer funny nicknames:

Luke Cho-Yee, He Who Blogs About World Star Hip Hop’s Seedy Underbelly of Midget Break Dance Fighting
Ryan Frederick, Beard Enthusiast

Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson

Sawitz: Vitor has been head kicking dudes unconscious as of late. Henderson has been looking fairly pedestrian since his epic war with Shogun Rua. We haven’t seen Hendo lose the fabled chin yet … but it happens to everyone at some point. The key thing is that Henderson always loses by going the distance or being tapped. And Vitor nearly caught Jon Jones with an armbar that a lot of others would’ve tapped. That’s how I see Vitor winning; I see a strangling in Hendo’s near future. Belfort

Frederick: This is a tough fight for me to pick. Both start getting tired in the second round. Both have knockout power. Belfort has the fast hands. Belfort can be knocked out. I refuse to believe that Henderson can be knocked out due to the fact we haven’t seen it happen yet. I’m leaning towards Belfort due to how he has looked recently as compared to Henderson, but this could go either way. Belfort

CY: Vitor’s looking fantastic but I don’t think he will have it all his own way in this one. Hendo is desperate for a win and I can see him mixing things up and going back to to his Greco Roman roots by utilizing his clinch game and wearing Vitor down. I expect “The Phenom” to be more cautious when standing and I wouldn’t be surprised by the upset. Henderson

Cezar Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian

Sawitz: Ferreira is the next best Brazilian fighter, a protege of Vitor Belfort, and has everything you’d want in a Brazilian fighter. He has champion written all over him so far … and that’s not changing. Ferreira

Frederick: Ferreira has been more impressive during his run after TUF Brazil ended. He is a protege of Vitor Belfort and he acts like it. Sarafian is good, but I think Ferreira is better. Ferreira

CY: Sarafian has looked decent and is a entertaining prospect to watch develop but I feel he is thoroughly outmatched by his TUF Brasil counterpart. “Mutante” not only has the physical stature but also the necessary skill to negate Sarafian’s ground game and dominate the striking exchanges, providing he doesn’t underestimate his opponents power. Ferreira

Rafael Cavalcante vs. Igor Pokrajac

Sawitz: This is going to be all sorts of awful. This is your main card brawl that the simps adore … but isn’t really good MMA at all. Pokrajac in some sort of split-decision that people argue about way more passionately than they should. Pokrajac

Frederick: Both desperately need a win, and both have power on their feet. Plus, both have been mired in bad slumps. This should be a slugfest. Feijao hits really, really hard but tires easily. Pokrajac is solid but not that dangerous. Feijao for me. Cavalcante

CY: This should be an entertaining scrap as both men like to stand and trade. “Feijao” might be better served focusing on his BJJ where he would expect to hold a clear advantage but he is an emotional fighter and I feel he will meet Pokrajac in the middle and swing. The Croat is in desperate need of a win but I don’t think he will be able to handle the double pronged attack of his opponents striking and grappling power. Feijao

Paulo Thiago vs. Brandon Thatch

Sawitz: I like Thiago but people have expected him to become a contender for so long because of the Koscheck starching.  He just never had that in him; he’s MMA’s version of Kate Hudson.  He had one brilliant performance that was an outlier in an otherwise mediocre career.  He does have some purpose, though, as he’s going to get starched by Thatch in this one.  Thatch

Frederick: Thatch is the real deal. He is a headhunter and will be looking for the knockout. Thiago was once headed towards title contention but has fallen off the face of the Earth. He’s 2-4 over his last six and I don’t see that getting better here. Thatch

CY: The UFC matchmakers have made a curious decision sending hot prospect Thatch to Brasil to face a seasoned veteran like Thiago. Thatch has shown already immense talent and justified a lot of the furore surrounding him but I wonder if this match up may have come too soon. Thaigo has the grappling skills to make it a frustrating night for the visitor. Thiago

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Ryan LaFlare

Sawitz:  LaFlare is a foreigner fighting a Brazilian in Brazil.  That’s not so good for him.  Ponzinibbio

Frederick: An interesting fight as both aren’t known to casual fans, but they eventually will be. Ponzinibbio is exciting and a finisher. LaFlare is a finisher too. They’ve gone the distance three times in a combined 27 fights. This will be fun but I’ll go with the Brazilian in Brazil. Ponzinibbio

CY: Intriguing matchup. LaFlare has already made a promising UFC debut but Ponzinibbio has been racking up wins for quite some time now and I fancy the UFC debutant to shine in an entertaining fight that showcases the well-rounded skills that both men possess. Ponzinibbio

Rony Jason vs. Jeremy Stephens

Sawitz: Stephens has been struggling as of late and Rony Jason has been looking pretty good so far.  Plus Stephens is a foreigner in Brazil, which usually spells doom.  Jason

Frederick: I really like watching both of these guys fight and am looking forward to this one. Stephens has struggled of late but maybe moving down to featherweight gets him back on track. This is a big test for Jason. I think this is a very close fight and I’m going with Jason due to his momentum coming into this fight. Jason

CY: Stephens has always been a gamer and has remained in the good graces of the UFC come rain or shine but I cannot see him lasting the distance against Jason. The TUF Brasil winner has looked better in each of his UFC contests and he has the game to neutralize Stephens on the feet and take it to the ground where he will be to much for “Little Heathen” to handle. Jason

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