The tone has been set for another night of high-octane action and a show of blistering combative competition, as UFC will once again emanate from Brazil this evening. This is another superb card, from top to bottom, that mainly showcases as many fighters from Brazil as possible. Each contest on the main card features a fighter from the hosting, native country in South America battling it out with a foe from a different nation. The UFC has honed a beautifully manipulative craft over the last few years by always staging an event in other countries as if they were a war of sorts from the home nation against all on comers or any fighter from a different geographical location. By catering to the home crowd, and booking in such a way that fans and onlookers in attendance can collectively get behind their Brazilian heritage and homeland by backing a group of some of the best fighters from their sacred land, it gives the worldwide fans an invitation to experience a unity among the masses on a much higher level than many of us may be used to—and I think this is amazing for the fans, the Brazilian fighters, and it makes for highly compelling sport.
With that being said—Yes, I’m very excited for this card and I’m sure we’re in for another night of witnessing highly-touted skill on display, some vicious knockouts, probably a submission (or a few of those), and ultimately some of the biggest, and most sincere examples of heart and true fortitude inside that octagon when it comes to these athletes who have the distinct privilege of competing in their home country. We saw it in Ireland for Connor McGregor, we saw it in England for Michael Bisping and, most recently, for Stipe Miocic in Cleveland—so tonight, in Brasilia, Brazil, it will be no different for the likes of Christiane “Cyborg” Justino, Renan Barao, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, or any of the other loved and respected Brazilian fighters on this card. That arena is going to be absolutely bananas for the heroes that they share a nation’s pride with and this will undoubtedly be one of the wildest and freakishly passionate crowds in recent memory. Mark my words.
Now, I didn’t fare too well last time with my UFC 203 predictions as I was correct on a total of two out of five total fights. Perhaps I thought too long and too hard about it, instead of going with my gut? Or maybe I just became too caught up in trying to produce some exquisite piece that would boldly and thoughtfully declare my insights, musings, thoughts, and predictions on that particular night and forgot about my knowledge of the sport of MMA? Just too much, in general. So in this piece it’s going to be simple: The matchup, and who I think will win and why. I’m going with my gut and that’s it! Let’s do this…
Women’s Catch-weight (140 LBS): Cyborg vs. Lansberg
Lansberg is a UFC newcomer that is being thrown to some otherworldly anomaly of a women’s fighter in Cyborg, a woman who is like a bulldozer-on-adrenaline, and the contest is no better, or much different than tossing a hamster in a tank with 4-foot python just to see “what happens”. Yeah, Cyborg had what looked like a torturous weight cut but it will not play a factor because she pretty much always has a rough time making weight, and she always ravages and brutalizes her opponents in such a dominant way anyways—you do the math! Lansberg, is in WAY over her head, enough said. I think we all still want to see Cyborg vs. Rousey.
Cyborg wins via KO/TKO in RD 2
Featherweight: Renan Barao vs. Phillipe Nover
Both of these guys are coming off losses, so each one is grinding at the bit to get back on the winning side of the tracks. The matchup is honorable as both men are black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and have reputable accolades inside the cage fighting world, but the difference comes with Barao who is the hometown boy, was a former UFC champion, and bolstered a 9-year win streak from 2005 to 2014. The Brazilian has lost three in a row and really has nothing to lose coming in to tonight’s showdown—now combine that with his extremely well-rounded skillset, his reputation as a fighter, his fiendish killer instinct, and the fact that he’s fighting on his native soil—and you have a recipe for a decisive win. It’s very tough to guess which way this will go in the end because it is only a three-round fight, and I also know that Nover is known for being exceptionally tough, so I believe he has the potential to hang in there with Barao and make it a closer fight, but will prove to be outmatched at the end of the day.
Barao wins via Unanimous Decision
Heavyweight: Antoni “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson
Another great fight showcasing two seasoned veterans with a combined sixty-three fights between them, and both men possess brutal knockout power having 28 total KO victories, fourteen for each man. Both warriors are coming off losses and will definitely have more than enough to prove in that cage tonight. Bigfoot Silva, however, is coming off two consecutive knockout losses and has been left unconscious six other times in his career, which can only make one wonder if he suffers from a case of persistent glass-jaw. Big Country, on the other hand, is known for his iron-like jaw and ungodly amounts of heart that seemingly makeup for what he lacks in athleticism and physical condition, but make no mistake about it, this man is an incredible athlete in his own right. The difference between these men really comes down to who can take more of a beating and still keep moving forward with bad intentions, and that is what it really comes down to for me. And, let’s not forget what happens to the men who’ve had the displeasure of catching an overhand right on the jaw from Big Country—just about everyone was put to sleep and have no recollection of it and most would like to forget it anyways—so we’ll have to see if Bigfoot fights an intelligent battle and avoids that big right hand tonight. I doubt it.
Big Country wins via KO/TKO in RD 1
I’m not going to pretend like I know all that much about the rest of the fighters or matchups on the main card because I don’t. I feel as though it is my duty, as a writer, to lay out predictions for the main card in its entirety. Therefore, I’m going to throw out some wild picks, if you will, and they are merely guesses backed by very little knowledge or fact. In other words, if I’m not familiar with particular fighters, it then becomes very difficult to accurately assess and predict a specific bout. With that being said, here are some wild picks…
- Francisco Trinaldo wins via Unanimous Decision
- Thiago Santos wins via KO/TKO in RD 3
- Gogofredo Pepey wins via Submission in RD 1
And that’s about it for now. I hope to not make an ass out of myself again this time with my picks but, rest assured, I went with my gut on these and didn’t think too much. Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. I would love to hear other perspectives and predictions, and let’s all take a hand in growing an MMA presence for The Brand!
Until next time, The Gonzo Shark checks out…