UFC Fight Night – Machida Vs. Dolloway Breakdown
This Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the UFC looks to wrap up another big year of mixed martial arts. We saw the rise of new (interim) heavyweight champion in Fabricio Werdum, the introduction of the 115-pound weight class in the women’s division, the announcement of a mega deal with a major sponsor (Reebok) and much more.
This weekend’s card will showcase two important fights in the middleweight and bantamweight bout when former champions Lyoto Machida and Renan Barao look to score wins in their home country, and earn another shot at UFC gold. Let’s take a look at the card.
Vitor “Lex Luthor” Miranda vs. Jake Collier
The first fight of the night will take place in the middleweight division between TUF Brazil 3 cast member Vitor Miranda (9-4, 0-1 in the UFC) against new comer Jake Collier (8-1). Collier has finished seven of his eight wins (four tko / ko, three submissions), and is riding a five-fight win streak in the UFC. Miranda is dangerous both on the ground and with his stand up, he has a brown belt in BJJ and a black belt in Muay Thai (along with a 23-8-1 professional kick boxing record). This fight will most likely be a slug fest, and a great way to start the card. I am leaning towards Miranda winning via first round TKO.
Marcio “Lyoto” Alexandre vs. Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means
Alexandre looks to come off his debut loss in the UFC (which also erased his perfect 12-0 mma record) against seasoned UFC vet Tim Means (21-6-1, 3-3 in the UFC) Alexandre was also on TUF Brazil 3, and hopes to earn his first win in the UFC. This fight appears to be another slug fest, with both fighters having a combined 25 knockout victories (10 for Alexandre, 15 for Means). With the aggressiveness between these two, this fight should not disappoint. Alexandre will have the home crowd behind him, I see “Lyoto” with a second round TKO.
Leandro “Brodinho” Issa vs Ulka Sasaki
Issa and Sasaki face off in the bantamweight division and both have a great ground game and submission skills. Issa (12-4, 1-1 in the UFC) is a BJJ world champion and has utilized his grappling skills to eight submission wins, including his last bout in July where he won via arm bar over Jumabieke Tuerxun. Sasaki (18-1-2), brings an impressive wrestling resume which has helped him dominate in mma. Sasaki had a great UFC debut in August submitting Roland Delorme. Sasaki has never been finished in a fight. This will be a chess match on the ground, a good old BJJ vs. wrestling bout. Sasaki’s wrestling will help him squeeze out a decision.
Darren “The Damage” Elkins vs. Hacran Dias
Featherweight match between two fighters who really need to win this fight. Elkins (18-4, #14 ranked UFC featherweight) is looking to climb back up the rankings into title contention. Elkins defeated Lucas Martins back in October at UFC 179 by a close split decision. Dias entered the UFC with a 20-1 record, and then won his debut in the UFC, going 21-1. Things have gone south in his last two fights, losing back-to-back decisions to Nik Lentz and Ricardo Lamas. Both Elkins and Dias are great on the ground, have good take downs, and possess good cardio. The winner of this fight will control the take down department and the ground control. This will be a close fight with the winner and loser taking a drastic jump in opposite directions in the rankings. I see Elkins handing Dias a third consecutive loss by decision.
Tom “Stoneface” Niinimaki vs. Renato Moicano
What a better way for Renato Moicano (8-0-1) to make his first appearance in the UFC. He gets to fight infront of the home crowd, and he faces a fighter on a losing streak (which could also be dangerous due to desparation). This is the classic striker vs. grappler battle. Niinimaki is well rounded and has experience on the ground (purple belt BJJ), the Finnish fighter however will want to keep this fight standing, as Moicano is much better on the ground and Moicano will have a higher probability scoring the submission if it goes there. Niinimaki has lost his last two fights in the UFC by submission, a third consecutive loss (being finished nonetheless) could cost Niinimaki his roster spot in the UFC. I am picking Moicano to win a hard fought decision victory.
Marcos “Pezao” Rogerio de Lima vs. Igor “The Duke” Pokrajac
One fighter is on the rise, the other, possibly towards the end of their career. De Lima (12-2-1, 1-0 UFC) needed only 20 seconds to Dana White why he deserves a spot in the UFC, scoring a quick knockout in UFC Fight Night – Miocic vs. Maldonado. De Lima is a very dangerous striker, and is on a five-fight unbeaten streak, with all four of the wins coming in the first round. Pokrajac (25-11-1) has been on a struggle, and the once powerhouse who scored 13 career TKOs is now winless in his last four UFC bouts. Pokrajac could be on his way out with a loss here, and De Lima could rise his stock with another highlight reel knockout. Make no mistake though, Pokrajac always comes to fight, and everyone in this world of mma has a “puncher’s chance”. I see another highlight reel knockout victory for “Pezao.”
Daniel Sarafian vs. Antonio “Junior Alpha” dos Santos
Antonio dos Santos makes his UFC debut against a struggling Daniel Sarafian in the middleweight class. Sarafian (8-5, 1-3 UFC) has lost three of his last four fights, and is 1-3 in the UFC. Dos Santos will look to take Sarafian’s roster spot with a win if he can keep this fight standing and use his powerful striking. Sarafian will want to take advantage of his ground game and take Dos Santos to the mat and score the victory there. I am leaning towards “Junior Alpha” over powering Sarafian with a dominant perfomance, earning a TKO victory late in round two or three.
Erik Silva vs. Mike “Biggie” Rhodes
A battle between two well rounded welterweights. At one point, Silva was on the top 15 welterweight rankings (#14) until he lost his last fight back in May against Matt “The Immortal” Brown. Silva (16-5, 4-4 in UFC) has been on a roller coaster in the UFC, a win one, lose one pattern (with this pattern, you would want to bet on Silva winning). Rhodes (8-3) has lost both of his fights via decision and will be looking for his first UFC victory against Silva. Silva has great take downs and will want to take this fight to the mat, as Rhodes will hold the edge in striking. I think Silva will bounce back from his last performance and score a submission victory, possibly a rear nake choke, in round two.
Elias “Xuxu” Silverio vs. Rashid “Goratz” Magomedov
Xuxu is on fast pace to attain a ranking in the lightweight division. The 28 year old former Junglefight welterweight champion holds a perfect 11-0 overall record, with a 3-0 record in the UFC. Silverio like to use his kicks and knees to control a fight, and he is no slouch on the ground either. Silverio last fought and defeated Ernest Chavez at UFC Fight Night Miocic vs Maldonado will need to play off of the home crowd when he fights another fighter still undefeated in the UFC in Rashid Magomedov. Magomedov (17-1, 2-0 in UFC), also last fought and won on the same card Xuxu did, when the Russian spoiled Rodrigo Damm’s hometown fight. Magomedov has great take down defense and is a great counter attacker. This will be a very close fight, and the winner should be able to at least hit the #14 or #15 spot. I am leaning towards Silverio with a close decision to remain a perfect 12-0 and 4-0 in the UFC.
Antonio “Caro de Sapato” Carlos Junior vs. Patrick “Durkin” Cummins
Carlos Junior is very aggressive on the ground with his jiu jitsu skills and also has heavy hands. The TUF Brazil 3 cast member Carlos Junior won the heavyweight tournament (and his UFC debut) back in May when he earned a decision over heavyweight finalist Vitor Miranda. Carlos Junior (4-0) will look to build himself further against Patrick Cummins, who since losing his UFC debut has won back-to-back. Cummins will be a great test to Carlos Junior, as “Durkin” has great cardio and a wrestling background. Carlos Junior will have his home crowd behind him, and the season three winner should be able to out grapple Cummins and pull off the submission victory in the middle of the second round.
Renan “The Baron” Barao vs. Mitch Gagnon
Renan Barao was one of the most feared bantamweights and pound-for-pound fighter in mma. Losing his pro debut fight, “The Baron” would not look back, and go forth winning 32 straight fights, including a 7-0 start in the UFC. Barao (#1 ranked in UFC) would then lose to the current bantamweight champion T.J Dillashaw in what was possibly the biggest upset of 2014. Barao was supposed to fight in a rematch against Dillashaw at UFC 177, but had to withdraw due to weight cutting issues. A fight in his home country might be what the doctor ordered in order to get “The Baron” back on track mentally, and with a win it should be an automatic shot at redemption to recapture his title. Mitch Gagnon (#14 UFC) is on a four fight winning streak and climbing the bantmaweight rankings. If Gagnon could pull the big upset and defeat the number one contender of the division (in Baron’s own backyard nonetheless), Gagnon might be knocking on a Dillashaw’s door for a potential title shot. Barao is the heavy favorite in this fight, and should dominate and win big. I see “The Baron” finishing Gagnon in the first round via strikes.
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida vs. C.B “The Doberman” Dolloway
It is the number four ranked Machida against the number 10 ranked Dolloway for this middleweight main event bout. Machida (21-6) has accomplished so much in his mma career, and the former UFC lightheavy weight champion now looks to get another shot, this time at a middlweight title shot. Machida last fought and lost in a five round decision to current middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Dolloway (15-5) has won back-to-back fights, and a win against Machida would certainly boost him a few nothces in the rankings, and a closer shot at Weidman. Machida’s style is so unorthodox, Dolloway will have to find a way to use his wrestling to take down “The Dragon” and grind out a decision, or score a tko from his ground and pound. Machida is the favorite in this fight, Dolloway will be a threat to Machida with his wrestling, as Machida has struggled against top wrestlers (Jon Jones, Phil Davis, Chris Weidman). This fight will be close, and I am leaning towards Machida to pull off the decision.