The UFC is back in Brazil tonight with an 11 card event featuring a middleweight match-up of Michael Bisping vs. Vitor Belfort as the main event. One fight will stream live on Facebook, Fuel TV will broadcast six preliminary bouts and FX will host the main portion of the card.
To be honest while there are some interesting fights, the event as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. Any time you have C.B. Dolloway occupying the co-main event slot, you know something just isn’t right. Other than a potential title fight for Bisping if he leaves Brazil a winner there are no other match-ups that have any significant meaning behind them.
With that being said some of the best fights happen when the two fighters have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Maybe we will get lucky and see some highlight reel knockouts or a slick submission or two. Let’s take a look at the main card and who will come away with their hands raised.
Thiago Tavares vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov- Lightweights:
Nurmagomedov has looked quite impressive during his first two trips inside the Octagon. He submitted Kamal Shalorus via third round rear naked choke back in January and followed that up with a decision victory over the always tough Gleison Tibau at UFC 148. The 24-year-old Russian has a blackbelt in Judo and a professional record of 18-0 with seven wins by KO/TKO and six by submission. He is a Russian and World Combat Sambo Champion as well as a 2012 NAGA Grappling World Champion.
Tavares will be competing for the 13th time in the UFC and has amassed a 7-4-1 record for the promotion. His losses have come against fighters who were wrestlers/grapplers and judging by that he may be in for a long night against Nurmagomedov. Tavares is a smart veteran with good BJJ, but I don’t see things going his way tonight. Nurmagomedov will end Tavares modest two fight winning streak before the end of the second round. Winner via 2nd round TKO- Khabib Nurmagomedov
Ben Rothwell vs. Gabriel Gonzaga- Heavyweights
Here we have a match-up of two middle of the road heavyweights who both have had a hard time putting staying healthy or stringing a few victories together. The last time we saw Rothwell he was busy earning knockout of the night honors against Brendan Schaub at UFC 145. Gonzaga’s last fight came against Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 142 in January, he submitted his fellow countrymen in the first round.
Rothwell has alternated between wins and losses in his four UFC bouts so if we go by that logic, he is due for a loss tonight. Gonzaga hasn’t won more than two fights in a row since August of 2007, so now we have to decide whether or not Gonzaga keeps his streak alive or Rothwell ends his. I’m going out on a limb and going with Rothwell. Winner by unanimous decision- Ben Rothwell
C.B. Dolloway vs. Daniel Sarafian- Middleweights
I’m not sure if there is another fighter in the UFC who the fans enjoy booing more than Dolloway. Many people feel he comes off really cocky and arrogant while others say he is just extremely boring. Whatever the case, it seems like he has a target on his back and no matter what he does it will never go away. We last saw him riding Jason Miller for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 146. He’s a grinder, nothing more, nothing less, but occasionally he can surprise you and submit his opponent.
Sarafian is making his UFC debut and has competed in Brazil for the last three years. He did fight on the first ever Bellator card back in April of 2009 losing to Gary Padilla in the second round by TKO. He has a record of 7-2 and six of those wins have come by submission (one due to strikes) He was part of Team Belfort on the first Ultimate Fighter Brazil and made it to the middleweight finale, but was forced out due to an injury. Dolloway seems to be the safe bet here as he will look to take Sarafian down and control him. Winner by unanimous decision- C.B. Dolloway
Michael Bisping vs. Vitor Belfort- Middleweights
This is a really interesting fight here. We all know that Belfort is looking to knock Bisping out and the earlier he can get to him the better. The longer this fight goes on the more steam Belfort will lose and that will allow Bisping to implement his stick and move boxing game plan. Bisping is very good at staying just out of harms way, but close enough to score points and frustrate his opponents. He has very good head and foot movement which will cause Belfort to swing and miss a lot.
If Belfort can catch Bisping in the first or second round he can definitely finish him. Other than that he is in for a long night of chasing after the Brit and getting punched in the face while doing so. Bisping isn’t known for his power, but he can hit you a lot, tire you out and finish you on the ground if given the opportunity. A win here and Bisping may finally get that shot at Anderson Silva he has been crying for, not that it will do him a lot of good! Winner by unanimous decision Michael BispingTags: "bj Penn", Anderson Silva, Ben Rothwell, bjpenndotcom, brendan schaub, C.B. Dollaway, Daniel Sarafian, featured, Gabriel Gonzaga, Gleison Tibau, Jason Miller, Kamal Shalorus, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Michael Bisping, MMA NEWS, the ultimate fighter brazil, thiago tavares, ufc 142, ufc 145, ufc 146, ufc 148, ufc news, UFC on FX 1, ufc on fx 7, Vitor Belfort