| Here we go again, fight fans! Another huge night of UFC fights goes down Saturday, June 8th in Brazil as Antonio ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira takes on Fabricio Werdum in the main-event of this talent-rich UFC on FUEL TV 10 card. Although many of the fighters may be fairly unknown to the mainstream fan, fear not; this card is stacked with tons of young, great Brazilian talent. Let’s take a look at some of the fights that will take place on the card as I give my thoughts and predictions on the main card fights. Here we go!
Featherweight Bout: Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Mike Wilkinson
Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra (12-3) was the featherweight winner of the first season of TUF: Brazil. He is a BJJ black-belt and also holds an orange belt in Judo. He is a skilled striker and has the confidence to back his hands up. He holds a career record of 12-3. Mike “The Warrior” Wilkinson fights out of the England and was acast member on TUF: The Smashes as a member of Team UK. He trains at the Atherton Submission Wrestling Gym in England and will look to continue his undefeated run with a ninth straight win as he faces off against Bezarra.
Prediction: I think that Wilkinson is going to come into the fight with the intent on taking Bezerra down and controlling him. However, I don’t think that game plan is going to be successful as Bezerra has crisp striking and a good enough grappling game to stop the offensive attack of Wilkinson (even if he give up the takedown he has more offense from his back thatn Wilkinson will feel comfortable dealing with). Wilkinson will realize that the takedowns aren’t working and will be forced into a striking match. That won’t work out in his favor as Bezerra’s speed and precision with his jab, punches and kicks will pick apart Wilkinson. I see the first round playing out as a round that crushes the game plan of Wilkinson’s wrestling attack. After that the second round will get ugly as Bezerra will start to pick apart Wilkinson on the feet before landing big shots mid-way through the round that will rock Wilkinson and lead to a swarming finish for Bezerra.
I’m taking Bezerra by 2nd round TKO
Welterweight Bout: Erick Silva vs. Jason High
Erick “Indio” Silva is a highly-touted welterweight in the UFC, even though he’s gone 2-2 inside the octagon. He is coming off of a loss to Jon Fitch and will look to break that .500 mark on his UFC record with a win against Jason High. Silva holds black belts in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His career MMA record stands at 18-3 (2-2 UFC) with 1 No Contest. Jason “The Bandit” High is a verteran of the MMA game as well as he has competed for several promotions including DREAM, Strikeforce, Affliction and now he will be making his return to the UFC for the first time since 2010. High trains out of Lakewood, California and holds an MMA record of 16-3.
Prediction: I think that, although High is a tremendous athlete, he is going to struggle in this fight against Silva. Erick Silva, with all of the hype surrounding him, needs an impressive win on Saturday as he is coming off of a loss to Fitch. I think that the loss to Fitch has taught Silva a lot about how to deal with grinding fights and beat a superior wrestler. I see High coming in a trying to get Silva to the ground but being unsuccessful with his takedown attempts. Instead, I see Silva countering those takedowns with strikes that will lead him into top position. I think from there Silva will unload big shots from the top that will cut open High. High will survive the round but with a broken spirit. I think the second round starts with Silva sensing High’s lowered moral and pressing the pace in the second. More big bombs landed by Silva will once again lead him into top position where he’ll pass through the guard of High on his way to securing a second round submission victory.
I’m taking Erick Silva in an impressive submission victory over Jason High in the 2nd Round.
Middleweight Bout: Daniel Sarafian vs. Eddie Mendez
Daniel Sarafian is a huge Brazilian middleweight with great footwork and speed to back up his power. He is also a member of Demian Maia’s BJJ Academy where he holds a black belt in BJJ. He, too, was a member of the first season of TUF: Brazil. Sarafian was a finalist on that show but was forced out of the Finale fight due to an injury. He lost his UFC debut by a very close split-decision to CB Dollaway and will look to finally get that first UFC win on Saturday night in Brazil. His opponent, Eddie Mendez, will be making his UFC debut and will have his hands full with Mendez. Mendez is a well rounded fighter but will have all the odds stacked against him Saturday night as he faces a dangerous fighter in Sarafian in Sarafian’s home country in his UFC debut. If the nerves don’t get to him he could see some success but I’m not banking on it.
Prediction: I think that this fight is simple: Sarafian comes out and uses his beautiful head-movement and footwork to connect big shots on Mendez to open the fight. Sarafian will rock Mendez more than once in the first round but Mendez will be tough and gritty and survive the round. The second round will be much of the same as I see Sarafian connecting with several big shots from the feet that will eventually see him on top of Mendez scoring points from the guard of Mendez. The round will end there as Mendez will again survive the round. The third round won’t see him as lucky, though. I think that the punishment he absorbs in the first two rounds will catch up to him and Sarafian will finally finish him off with big shots from the feet that will drop Mendez. Sarafian will take advantage of a worn-out, beat-up Mendez by smothering him with big shots from the top to end the fight.
I’m taking Daniel Sarafian victorious via TKO in the 3rd Round.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Thiago Silva vs. Rafael Cavalcante
UFC vet Thiago Silva is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but is viewed more widely as one of the most dangerous strikers in the UFC light heavyweight division. Silva trains with the Blackzillians at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Florida. He holds a career record of 14-3 with his last two fights being changed from victories to No Contests due to failed drug tests. He’ll look to right his ship as he takes on another vet of the sport in fellow Brazilian, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. “Feijao” is also a black belt in BJJ who trains with the Black House team in Brazil. He is a former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion with a MMA record 11-3 with 1 No Contest. His most recent victory was also overturned to a N.C. due to a failed drug test. Cavalcante has great stand-up with tons of power as well. This fight will be interesting as both men hold very similar skills in all areas.
Prediction: This fight is going to be a quick one, in my opinion. Both men are in desperate need of a win and I feel that there aggressiveness is going to show their urgency right at the start of the fight. I see the two meeting in the middle and throwing big blows within the first 30 seconds of the bout. Both men are going to eat some big shots but I see Thiago Silva clipping “Feijao” with a big overhand right that drops the former Strikeforce Champ. Silva will smell the blood and pounce on Cavalcante in hope of finishing the fight before he has a chance to recover. Cavalcante will put up a valiant effort to come back to his feet and regain his wits but in the process will eat several other shots from a hovering Thiago Silva. As “Feijao” continues to try to rise to his feet I think Silva will land one good, fluch shot to Cavalcante’s chin that will turn the lights out as Silva rises, walks over to the nearest camera and gives his trademark thumb-slash across his throat, marking his first victory inside the UFC octagon since 2009.
Thiago Silva gets the “W” by way of KO in the 1st Round.
TUF: Brazil Season 2 Welterweight Finale Bout: William Macario vs. Leonardo Santos
William “Patolino” Macario is a member of the Pejor Fight Team and holds a perfect professional record (6-0) with all six wins coming by way of finish (five in the first round.) The kid is dangerous! He is a crisp striker who brings the pace of the fight to his opponent. He is powerful in the clinch as well and will look to add a TUF title to his credentials. Leonardo Santos fights out of the Nova Uniao Gym where he holds a black belt in BJJ and is one of the top grapplers in the world in his weight. He lost on the show in the semi-finals to Santiago Ponzinibbio but got the call up to fight in the finals when Ponzinibbio suffered an injury. Santos holds a career record of 11-3.
Prediction: I think that the experience and grappling edge goes to Santos but the athleticism, speed and explosiveness goes to Macario. His credentials, although he has not faced the toughest competition in the world, speak for themselves. With 5 first round stoppages in 6 fights I don’t see how this fight goes any differently for him. I think that Santos will come out and test Macario on the feet but when he catches a few to the face and starts to feel the blood trickle from his nose I think that he resorts to his base game of BJJ and tries to get the fight to the clinch and eventually to the ground. When Macario feels Santos’ desperate attempts to make the fight a grappling match he realizes he can dominate the fight on the feet and starts to pick apart Santos. He’ll end the 1st round on top of Santos, his corner will tell him to keep it standing and I think he comes out and clocks Santos with a nice combo that will end the fight and earn him the victory in the second round.
I’m taking William Macario via KO in the 2nd Round to become the Season 2 TUF: Brazil Champion.
Heavyweight Bout: Fabricio Werdum vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Fabricio Werdum (16-5-1) holds black belts in Judo, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His veteran experience and skills have made him a top 5 ranked HW in the world and a win over Big Nog on Saturday night could very likely place him in line for a UFC HW title fight. He’s recently notched huge wins over big-name opponents but will have to get through one more legend of the sport in Big Nog before he can claim a legitimate #1 contender spot. Nogueira (34-7) is also one of the most decorated BJJ black-belts in MMA today and will enter the fight after submitting Dave Herman at UFC 153. He too is looking to place himself back at the top of the UFC HW division with a win on Saturday night but will have a huge task in front of him with Werdum. Although he is not as close to a title shot as Werdum he can play the role of spoiler with a win on Saturday night. His veteran poise and boxing skills will play key factors in the fight as Werdum will probably cancel out the ground-game advantage that he usually possesses in each fight. This fight is going to be a chess match between two highly-skilled grappling heavyweights.
Prediction: I think that this fight kicks off to a slow start with not much action taking place in the first round. I think both men will feel each other out on the feet for the first five minutes. The tentativeness of both men will carry over into the second round as well.
I think that Werdum will try to get the fight to the ground in the second round but Nogueira will be smarter than that (learning from the Frank Mir fight) and keep the fight standing at all costs, as I think he has a slight advantage in the stand-up/boxing. Werdum, seeing that he can’t take the fight down, will try to go into the clinch-game as he continues to lose the stand-up fight from the outside. However, Nogueira will be able to shrug Werdum off, keep his distance and continue scoring points from the outside with his boxing.
The third round will kick off with Werdum being much more aggressive as he realizes he might be losing the fight 2 rounds to none at this point. In trying to press the pace and score more big shots and points he’s going to leave himself vulnerable and Nogueira, with his veteran skills, will continue to play it smart and pick Werdum apart with his boxing. The third round will end much like the second with Big Nog winning the third round in a row with clean boxing and strikes.
The fourth round will begin with Werdum looking desperate to get Nogueira to the ground and go for a finish, as he knows he probably cannot win a decision at this point. He’ll eat some more big shots and, with his face bloody and battered, will finally get the clinch and pull guard with Nogueira. However, that game plan will fail as well as both men are so sweaty and slippery at this point that Werdum won’t be able to secure any submissions. Instead, I see Nogueira defending each submission attempt easily and in the process landing a few big shots that again win him the round.
The fifth and final round will start with Werdum coming out swinging and Nogueira playing more defense than offense. I think that while Nogueira plays this round safe and smart he’ll get hit with a few shots but nothing dangerous enough to rock him. I see the two striking the remainder of the fight with Werdum landing the cleaner strikes in the round because Nogueira knew he could coast to a decision victory. I think Werdum wins the final round but it’s too little-too late as he runs out of time.
I’m predicting that Nogueira wins this fight via Unanimous Decision and launches himself back into heavyweight contention while he deflates Werdum’s hopes of a UFC title run.
Now let’s hear your picks, everyone. Sound off!
Enjoy the fights, Fight Fans!
Tags: Big Nog, Daniel Sarafian, erick silva, Fabricio Werdum, Finale, Jake Chastain, minotauro nogueira, mma, MMA NEWS, predictions, Rafael Feijao Cavalcante, Thiago Silva, TUF BRAZIL 2, ufc news, UFC on Fuel 10