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UFC Brasilia: Cyborg vs. Lansberg Breakdown

Dan Tom

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Cris Cyborg (16-1-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 31 Weight: 140 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Leslie Smith (5-14-16)
  • Camp: RVCA Gym (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Invicta FC Featherweight Champion
+   Former Strikeforce Champion (FW)
+   BJJ Brown Belt
+   14 KO victories
+   9 first round finishes
+/-Aggressive by nature
^   Superb killer instinct
+   Improved striking
^   More technically refined
+   Solid wrestling ability
+   Strong in the clinch
^   Favors body lock/lateral drop
+   Transitions well on top
^   Devastating ground striker
–    Struggles making 140 lbs.

lina2

Lina Lansberg (6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 34 Weight: 140 lbs Reach: N/A”
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Maria Djursaa (3-12-16)
  • Camp: Redline Training Center (Sweden)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Superior Challenge Bantamweight Title
+   Multiple Muay Thai Accolades
^   Pro record of 37-11
+   4 KO victories
+   2 first round finishes
+   Well-rounded striker
^   Good shot selection
+   Dangerous elbows in close
+   Competent clinch game
+   Good sense in the scramble
^   Favors looking for the back
+   Solid top game
^   Good ground striker
+/-1 fight in 2016
+/-UFC Debut

Summary:

The main event for UFC Brasilia is a catchweight contest as Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino meets Lina Lansberg. A long-time legend amongst female fighters, Cyborg will continue her quest into the biggest organization despite not competing at a traditional weight class. Looking to play the spoiler is Lina Lansberg, who traditionally plies her trade at bantamweight but was more than happy to jump on this opportunity when the big show came calling. Making history as Sweeden’s first female to compete in the UFC, she will attempt a much larger feat when she faces the Brazilian legend.

Although Lansberg has accrued a respectable record of 6-1 as a professional mixed martial artist, she has mainly competed in Muay Thai where she holds a record of 37-11 as well as multiple titles & accolades. Carrying over her well-rounded striking arsenal, Lansberg has steadily developed her surrounding game to support her strengths. Although here striking game translates well to the cage, Lina has a tendency to start slowly as this is also a carry-over from traditional Muay Thai. Against a more Chute Boxe based Thai fighter like Cyborg, Lansberg will likely find herself tested from the word go. The only striker that was successful in keeping Justino at bay in recent history was Jorina Baars.

Granted it was a Muay Thai fight against a Muay Thai champion, Baars was able to work her game after dropping Justino twice in the first round. Utilizing her advantage in length, Jorina was able to use her teep and leg kicks to distance Cris, and even catch her coming in. Although Lansberg has decent jab and teep she likes to work behind, she does not have near the same length as Baars, nor the speed to compensate for it. Despite having a good shot selection and showing the ability to put together combinations when necessary, her strike retractions aren’t the tightest as this may cost her against an aggressive swarmer. Couple that with her propensity to fight on the outside, and it becomes harder to like Lansberg’s chances.

However, Lansberg’s left hook is amongst her sharper tools as I see that being the punch to watch for in this fight. Although she primarily uses her hook as a connecting piece for combinations, Lina may find success with it if thrown as a check. Against the oncoming onslaughts of Cyborg, a check hook may be Lansberg’s best friend in rough spots and resets. That said, Cristiane Justino is no longer just a bloodthirsty brawler, as the Brazilian’s style has matured in the later part of her career. Moving shop the United States, Cyborg has found a solid fit in California as she has been working with Jason Parillo to sharpen up her striking. A coach who has helped refined fighters like BJ Penn and Michael Bisping, Parillo has also shown his skills through his work done with Cyborg.

Displaying a much more measured approach, Cyborg will steadily stalk forward while still managing the distance to her preferred terms. The Invicta champion has also improved her stance, showing to keep her balance much better as she now will rarely throw herself out of position. Prodding with a jab as she enters space, Cyborg needs all but the slightest bite to swarm her opposition with punches. Although her sample-size of opposition in Invicta make it hard to get a solid sense of where Cris is at, the footage released of her sparring top male boxers was shocking. Cyborg was essentially able to slip and roll with what were high volume punches, coming from a legitimate talent who was throwing with the speed and precision she will not likely see in the UFC.

Should this fight hit the clinch, expect Justino to have the advantage there as well. Despite wielding solid knees and elbows in close, Lina shows a lack of hip positioning and pummelling ability to compete with Cyborg’s improved wrestling. Favoring to work from a body-lock, Cris will look for outside trips or suplex variations when applicable. Even when unable to establish both under-hooks, Cris will gladly take an over-under position as she loves the lateral drop. Although Lansberg will likely have trouble defending, Cris will need to be mindful as Lina shows a good sense of things inside the scramble. Maintaining her composure at all times, Lina has the propensity to find the back when her opponent makes positional errors.

That said, I suspect Cyborg should have the advantage on the floor as her ground technics are underrated as well. Although each fighter is dangerous from topside, Justino should be the one who is dictating the terms of action. Even when caught on the bottom, Cris has always shown a solid urgency to get up and scramble for position. The biggest potential issue for Cyborg in this fight is the weight cut. Despite working with George Lockhart, Cris will be competing at a catchweight that is below her natural weight class(which she already had trouble making). Although I do not like these type of fighting terms, these will be the intangibles to look out for on fight week. Ultimately, crazy things happen on every fight card, but I doubt we see any of it here.

Official Pick: Cyborg – Inside the distance

 

Renan Barao (33-3-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 70.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Jeremy Stephens (5-29-16)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   BJJ Black Belt
+   8 KO victories
+   13 first round finishes
+   15 Submission wins
+   KO Power
+   Dynamic striker
^   Accurate spinning attacks
+   Dangerous left hook/right hand
+   Heavy leg kicks
+   Superb takedown defense
+   Excellent transitional grappler
^   Effective scrambler & back-taker
+/-Often reverts to shell defense
^   Uppercut & body shot availabilities
+/-Aggressive in exchanges
^   Sometimes overstays welcome

 

Phillipe Nover (11-6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 32 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Zubaira Tukhugov (12-10-15)
  • Camp: Team Renzo Gracie (New York)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Ring of Combat Lightweight Title
+   BJJ Black Belt
+   1 KO victory
+   6 Submission wins
+   4 first round finishes
+   Good footwork
+   Accurate & hard kicks
^   Favors body kicks from southpaw
+   Improved wrestling
^   Favors reactive double-legs
+   Good from front headlock
^   Dangerous Guillotine
+   Active from the bottom
–    Head often upright
^   Counter availabilities
–    Struggles with volume
^   Output bares watching

Summary:

The co-main event for UFC Brasilia features a featherweight fight between Renan Barao and Phillipe Nover. Coming off a failed debut to Jeremy Stephens earlier this year, Renan Barao will look to get back to the form that earned him the bantamweight title. Standing in his way is Phillipe Nover, who will be seeking to steal the spotlight with this showcase opportunity.

According to the odds, this showcase should favor the former champion, and it is hard to disagree. Stalking in a similar fashion to his Nova Uniao stablemates, Barao traditionally comes forward with a full clip on the ready. Wielding a classic Muay Thai repertoire, Renan will occasionally show his wild side with surprisingly accurate spinning attacks. Although his right-hand seems to be more prominent on the highlight reels, Barao possesses an effective left hook that may serve him well in this fight. Although Phillipe has made efforts in improving his boxing game to accompany his kicks at range, his head position is often upright and available for the counter.

With Nover’s stagnant head positioning in mind, Barao’s accurate hooking shots will be especially potent off of the breaks or on Phillipe’s entries. I suspect Nover’s best chances standing will come at range as tends to revert to out-fighting more often than not. That said, Renan is deceptively good at range as he offers an arsenal that is dynamic as well as accurate, not to mention his ability to make opponents miss. However, Nover will not be without opportunities on the feet as I feel his left body kick will be his best bet. Not only is the liver kick Nover’s best weapon, but Barao’s tendency to revert to a shell defense often opens him up for body shots and uppercuts.

With uppercuts being vacant from Phillipe’s arsenal, expect to see the body kick utilized by the Philipino at range. What usually helps open up Nover’s game is his improved wrestling. That said, Renan Barao is arguably the best wrestler to come out of Nova Uniao, a camp that is renown for producing fighters who can wrestle effectively in a caged environment. Not only should Barao be able to dictate where this fight takes place, but I also feel he is the better scrambler and overall ground fighter. Phillipe is no slouch when it comes to submissions and works well from a front headlock, but I don’t think he can compete with Renan in the transitions.

Whether Barao is forcing you into positions or cooking you slowly, he only needs but one tactical error to pounce as we saw this demonstrated beautifully in his fight with Michael McDonald. I believe Barao’s ability to float positions intelligently, as well as meld his wrestling and jiu-jitsu fluidly, will ultimately make the difference in ground exchanges. Although much crazier upsets have happened in MMA, I feel that a lot will have to go Phillipe’s way for him to find success in this styles matchup. I see Renan’s craft, skill sets, and overall volume either earning him a dominant decision or late finish in this fight.

Official Pick: Barao – Inside the distance

 

Roy Nelson (21-13)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 40 Weight: 249 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Derrick Lewis (7-7-16)
  • Camp: Xtreme Couture MMA (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   13 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   12 first round finishes
+   KO Power

 

Antonio Silva (19-9-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 37 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 82″
  • Last Fight: KO loss / Stefan Struve (5-8-16)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   15 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   12 first round finishes
+   KO Power

Summary:

Due to my affiliation with Xtreme Couture MMA, as well as the fact that I helped Roy Nelson’s camp in scouting Bigfoot Silva, I have exempted myself from making a pick for this fight. I apologize for shorting you a breakdown but hope you understand my efforts to maintain professionalism.

Official Pick: No pick

 

Francisco Trinaldo (20-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 38 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Yancy Medeiros (5-14-16)
  • Camp: Evolucao Thai (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Multiple Kickboxing Accolades
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   6 KO victories
+   8 Submission wins
+   8 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Dangerous left hand
^   Coming forward or off the counter
+   Underrated takedown ability
^   From clinch or caught kicks
+   Effective ground striker
+   Improved striking defense
+   Good chin/physically durable
+   Strong in the clinch & on top
–    Gas tank bares watching

 

Paul Felder (12-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 31 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Josh Burkman (5-29-16)
  • Camp: Team Renzo Gracie (Philly)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   7 KO victories
+   1 Submission wins
+   2 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Diverse striking arsenal
^   Accurate spinning attacks
+   Dangerous knees
+   Underrated wrestling
+   Good butterfly guard/setups
+   Deceptive submission acumen
+   Solid feints & footwork
+/-Willingness to trade
^   Solid chin/physically durable

Summary:

In what I feel is the closest fight of the night, Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo takes on Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder. A fan favorite in Brazil, Francisco Trinaldo has steadily accrued more eyes upon him with his exciting fight style and inspiring story. Now riding a 6-fight winning streak in the UFC’s deepest division, Massaranduba will attempt to cement his status as a contender at the age of 38-years old. Looking to crash the party is Paul Felder, who is building on some wins of his own as he also seeks the next step in his career.

On the feet, each man employs a Muay Thai maelstrom but does so in different ways. As the more traditional stalker, Felder will throw his diverse arsenal of attacks off of feints and shuffle-steps forward. Mixing-in accurate spinning attacks from his Tae Kwon Do base, Paul’s ability to keep himself on balance and reset technically is very impressive. That said, Felder has admitted that he can become predictable in his overall movement, and has subsequently struggled with technically proficient strikers who can counter(Barboza & Pearson). Although Trinaldo is more associated with his aggression and power inside the pocket, he has steadily developed a countering game from the outside.

A product of his evolution in energy management, Massaranduba will circle much more on the outside as this helps him avoid his brawling nature. Not only does this allow room for Francisco to breathe and reset, but it can also allow for tactical advantages depending on the matchup. As we saw in his fight with Ross Pearson, Trinaldo kept a distance from the better pocket puncher and instead looked to counter on his terms. I suspect Massaranduba will elect to do the same in this fight, especially when you consider Paul’s propensity to come to his opponent. Although Felder has recently incorporated Nick Catone and Mark Henry to help him broaden this aspect, we have still yet to see any drastic changes in his approach which makes me lean toward Trinaldo in regards to stylistic edges.

Felder also tends to get fired up after getting tagged, which only makes me further think that technics will play less of a role standing as this fight goes on. Considering that Francisco is traditionally a fast starter in comparison to Felder’s slower starts, expect the first round to go to the Brazilian. That said, the second round will likely be a key factor for the trajectory of this fight(should it go that long). Not only does Trinaldo typically tire as the fight wears on, but Felder is the type of guy who gets stronger the longer things go. Although Francisco has improved his energy management as of late, there are still some common threads in his third rounds that show themselves in both victory and defeat.

Trinaldo’s heart and will alone has gotten him out of bad spots, kept him in fights he was losing, and even earned him some close decisions. That said, he has struggled with anyone who can survive his storms and get up from his takedowns. Enter Paul Felder, a durable fighter who has an excellent get-up game and the athleticism to support it. Despite the Irish Dragon having underrated takedown defense, I do not doubt that Trinaldo can get him down in this fight. The problem will be keeping Felder down given his style, and the fact that Francisco’s aggression on top often allows opponents back to their feet. Should Massaranduba get sucked into this type of fight, we could see a point of diminishing returns in his output come the later rounds.

We saw Felder wear down a more talented grappler in Jason Saggo this way in his debut fight 2-years ago(taken on short notice and in Saggo’s home country). Although Trinaldo is the furthest thing from a fighter who breaks, it will be interesting to see him in the later rounds against an opponent who is just as strong-willed, but with a better gas tank and finishing acumen. That said, Felder will likely find himself fighting out of a hole on the scorecards against a guy who is hard to finish, and at home. For that reason, Massaranduba by decision will be the most likely outcome, but I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t sprinkle some love on Felder to get it done late. Ultimately, I recommend avoiding this one and enjoying instead.

Official Pick: Trinaldo – Decision

 

Thiago Santos (13-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 32 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Gegard Mousasi (7-9-16)
  • Camp: TATA Fight Team (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Muay Thai Titles
+   BJJ Purple Belt
+   8 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Devastating kicks
^   Especially from southpaw
+   Good footwork & movement
+   Fast hand speed
^   Dangerous hooks
+/-Limited ground time in UFC
^   Questionable overall ground skills

 

Eric Spicely (8-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 29 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: Submission loss / Sam Alvey (7-13-16)
  • Camp: Tristar Gym (Canada/U.S.)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair to poor

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 23 Alum
+   2 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Recently working w/Tristar Gym
–    Sub par striking technique
^   Suspect strike retractions
–    Sloppy shot entries
+   Deceptive transitional grappler
^   Favors rolling for leg-locks
?    Questionable fight IQ
+/-1st fight outside of North America

Summary:

In an odd middleweight matchup, Thiago Santos welcomes Eric Spicely to Brazil. Coming off a tough loss against Gegard Mousasi at UFC 200, Santos will look to get back on track with this main card showcase. Stepping in for the away game is Eric Spicely, a recent alum of TUF 23, Eric will look to score an upset as one of the biggest underdogs on the card.

That said, there is not much of a path for Spicely on paper, especially in what most people consider a mismatch of talent. I feel the biggest skill discrepancy will reside on the feet, as Thiago is the more accoladed and proven man. A devastating Muay Thai striker who moves well, Santos shows a complete arsenal of attacks from switch kicks to elbows in close. With his most dangerous kicks coming from his left side, the southpaw stance is usually a sign of an oncoming storm. With that said, closing the kicking distance and getting on the inside will be Spicely’s biggest challenge in this fight.

Usually prodding with a jab or kick to initiate his entries, Spicely tends to do so in a manner that is slightly sloppy. Now I do not mean to be rude in my critiques of Eric, but I would not be doing my job if I did not call things as I see them. Often retracting his strikes poorly or throwing himself off balance, Eric may seal his own fate if he is not careful when entering. Even if Eric makes it into the clinch, he shows a lack of takedowns or wrestling acumen for me to like his chances. Although it is worth noting that Spicely has been spending time with Tristar Gym, he will not be the first fighter from that camp to fall short against Santos.

We saw Elias Theodorou fail to ground Thiago when getting him pressed against the fence, and Elias is arguably a much better takedown artist then Eric. Not only was Thiago able to stifle said takedowns, but the Brazilian also showed to be effective with his elbows in close. Ultimately, this is little more to say about this match as I feel Santos gets it done decisively in the first round.

Official Pick: Santos – Inside the distance

 

Godofredo Pepey (12-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 29 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Darren Elkins (7-23-16)
  • Camp: Evolucao Thai (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   BJJ Black Belt
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   4 KO victories
+   8 Submission wins
+   10 first round finishes
+/-Aggressive pace & pressure
^   Propensity to fade
+/-Dangerous & wild striker
^   Will throw self out of position
+/-Will pull guard
^   Actively attacks from bottom
+  Deceptive submissions & sweeps
^   Works well from Kimura grip

 

Mike De La Torre (14-5))

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 30 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Yui Chul Nam (11-28-15)
  • Camp: MMA Lab (Arizona)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   BJJ Blue Belt
+   7 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   10 first round finishes
+   Heavy hands
+   Improved boxing
^   Accurate left hook
+   Underrated clinch wrestling
^   87% Takedown defense
+/-Aggressive in exchanges
–    Head often upright
^   Counter availabilities

Summary:

Kicking off the main card are two featherweights who bring fireworks as Godofredo “Pepey” meets Mike De La Torre. Coming off the first season of TUF Brazil, Pepey has made a name for himself by producing exciting fights inside the Octagon, despite them not always going his way. Looking to bounce back from a loss to Darren Elkins earlier this year, Godofredo will attempt to score big in his home of Brazil. No stranger to fighting behind enemy lines, Mike De La Torre will seek to spoil the homecoming for Pepey.

On the feet, I feel De La Torre is the more technically sound striker with the heavier hands. However, Pepey’s more wild and diverse arsenal has proven potent as well, which could spell trouble for De La Torre anytime he exchanges with the Brazilian. Stalking forward and looking to punch his way inside, De La Torre will almost urge his opposition into exchanging with him. Aside from Mike’s willingness to trade, he also has a tendency to keep his head upright as this has traditionally cost him right hands in fights. Although there is not a lot of craft nor technique in Pepey’s striking, he has been diligently working to improve this area of his game.

Despite the improvements initially shown by Pepey in his last fight, the Brazilian would quickly revert to his old ways shortly after the fight was underway. Feeding off his emotions and pursuing with unabashed vigor, Godofredo would still consistently throw himself out of position whenever stepping forward to strike. Against an eyes-open pocket puncher like De La Torre, counter shots could be extra potent as I see Mike’s left hook being the shot look out for in this fight. Although De La Torre is dangerous with his left hook coming forward, he throws a check hook that I see being particularly effective against an oncoming Pepey.

Aside from Godofredo’s explosive strikes, the key factor in this fight will rely upon De La Torre’s anti-grappling techniques and Triangle defense. An underrated counter wrestler inside the clinch, De La Torre will stifle his opposition’s attacks with his solid base, balance, and defensive fundamentals. Maintaining a good awareness for under-hooks and hip positioning, De La Torre should have a clear wrestling advantage over Pepey, who is officially 1 for 11 in UFC takedown attempts. However, it’s not the takedown Mike will have to worry about as the Brazilian has no problem pulling guard. Despite this technique usually being frowned upon in MMA, the manner in which Pepey executes his guard-pulls is what makes him so dangerous.

As we saw in his fight with Andre Fili, Godofredo needs only but a high-overhook to get his game going into Triangle setups. With Mike(along with most fighters) going for under-hooks out of second nature, Pepey’s transitional threats will be live whenever tangling inside the clinch. Since De La Torre tends to lack an offensive presence in his clinch game, he could allow Godofredo to dictate the action or bait him into a trap. That said, De La Torre works with a great team at the MMA Lab, who I am sure are more than onto the habits of Pepey and how to deal with it. Couple that with Mike’s fundamental hand-fighting shown in close, and I feel that De La Torre’s chances of staying safe are good should he remain sober.

With each man carrying a pension for first round finishes, I am not sure how long this one will last given their sink-or-swim sensibilities. However, the longer this fight goes, the better it will be for De La Torre considering Pepey’s propensity to fade. In a featherweight fight filled with heavyweight intangibles, I recommend playing this one cautiously. That said, I will be siding with the dog as I feel De La Torre’s streak outside of North America will remain intact.

Official Pick: De La Torre – Inside the distance

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Burns def. Prazeres
  • Yahya def. Tanaka
  • Formiga def. Ortiz
  • Chagas def. Silva
  • Ray def. Patrick
  • Luque def. Urbina
  • Franca def. Gillespie

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings recommended rosters:

 

Team #1: $49,800.00

-Roy Nelson ($11,500.00)
-Thiago Santos ($11,400.00)
-Jussier Formiga ($9,200.00)
-Mike De La Torre ($8,900.00)
-Luan Chagas ($8,800.00)

Team Summary:

This week’s DraftKings recommendations is a team that I feel strongly about. Although Cris Cyborg would be the obvious choice as a favored main event fighter, her high price and point average may deceptively hurt your lineup since it’s a popular pick that will likely force unfavorable roster recruitments. Instead, I elected to go with high-tier choices that I am just as confident in to find finishes. Roy Nelson, for example, is heavily favored to find a home for his right hand against Bigfoot Silva. Given Silva’s recent trend and the nature of heavyweight affairs, I feel Nelson will earn his roster spot at the price of $9,300.00.

Secondly, I went with Thiago Santos as he is on the upside of one of the biggest mismatches I have seen in quite some time. Facing TUF 23 alum Eric Spicely, I feel Santos should have little issue finding a finish for the reasons stated in the breakdown above, and is well worth the cost of $11,400.00. For my mid-to-low tier picks, I went with Jussier Formiga, Mike De La Torre, and Luan Chagas. Although flyweights are not the best source for finishes, I feel good about Jussier Formiga’s chances against the style of Dustin Ortiz. Dustin is an underrated grappler and fighter, but the former wrestler shows a tendency to turtle out when standing. Against one of the best back takers in the game, I feel Formiga will have multiple chances to submit Ortiz throughout this fight. Although a decision may be more likely, I believe Jussier will earn his spot with a solid win at the very least.

I also went with Mike De La Torre as my first underdog pick as I feel he will top Godofredo Pepey for reasons in the breakdown above. With all of De La Torre’s wins in the UFC coming on the road, I favor Mike to repeat history with another first round finish in Brazil. Although both fighters action-styles make them hard to trust a bet on, I believe that Godofredo is a bit overhyped in his approach. For the low price of $8,900.00, I feel that De La Torre is one of the more promising dogs on this fight card. Lastly, I went with Luan Chagas as he is arguably my most confident dog pick of this card. Considering the betting lines have completely flipped in this fight, I am clearly not alone in fading Erick Silva in this spot. I also feel that Chagas is a talented fighter who is dangerous and still developing. He’s a black belt in BJJ that can survive bad spots against Sergio Moraes but also has a Karate-based striking style that is deceptively dangerous. I believe Luan Chagas is a steal for the price of $8,800.00, as the young Brazilian will round out a high-priced roster quite nicely.

Props worth looking at(5Dimes.eu):

-Renan Barao ITD: +120 (1 Unit)
-Luan Chagas ITD: +269 (1 Unit)
-Thiago Santos ITD: -290 (2 Units)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Renan Barao
-Vincente Luque

Fights to avoid:

-Michinori Tanaka vs Rani Yahya
-Alan Patrick vs Stevie Ray
-Godofredo Pepey vs Mike De La Torre

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit MixedMartialAnalyst.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in worldwide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

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Forget Cormier vs. Jones – Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson Should Headline UFC 214

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Cris Cyborg UFC

Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones II is all but confirmed for UFC 214 in Anaheim, California on July 29. Despite the magnitude of the light-heavyweight championship rematch, the UFC would do well to look elsewhere for their UFC 214 main event — namely in the direction of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and Megan Anderson.

The UFC’s schedule for the first half of 2017 is largely booked as of now. Fight announcements for July are coming in daily but there is still no clue as to who might headline UFC 213, the promotion’s International Fight Week pay-per-view offering. Jon Jones is expected to make his long-awaited return in July however not for 213.

UFC President Dana White has stated that Jones will not be eligible to compete during International Fight Week due to his suspension, making UFC 214 in late July the most likely option. White also insisted that Jones cannot be trusted to headline an event due to his past transgressions.

If White holds true to his word it’ll be a bizarre and unfortunate set of circumstances to promote the most important rematch in the history of the UFC. Many titleholders are booked for the moment, so the Cormier vs. Jones rerun would seem the most logical choice. However, as has been the norm in the past two years of UFC promotion an interim title can be slapped on to any semi-interesting match.

Countless arguments are made about how interim titles are senseless and harmful to the actual titleholder but those arguments although valid, are not much more than gripes.

The absence of sanctioning bodies in mixed martial arts are a contentious point of debate in the MMA community and combat sports in general but sanctioning bodies in regard to titles are almost always a nuisance in the world of boxing.

Any educated fan knows who the real champion is. Even in the rare instance where the interim titleholder is held in higher regard or more popular than the actual champion as was the case with Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo, nothing was done to diminish the value of the featherweight belt.

The notion that a title fight must headline a card may be antiquated but it seems that is the manner that the UFC will continue to handle business for the foreseeable future. Five rounds are seldom a negative in high-level MMA and an interim belt would be most justified if a match is made between former Invicta featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and current champion Megan Anderson.

If Cormier vs. Jones will play second fiddle to another fight, an interim featherweight title fight between “Cyborg” and Anderson would be a sensible headliner for UFC 214. Given the lack of options and the current featherweight champion’s fighting future in doubt, the fight would merit its headlining spot.

Jones in a co-headliner may seem strange business wise. It is rare for Dana White to put morale ahead of dollar signs but if it is the case it may be for the better. An alpha male like Jones doesn’t want to be second to anyone. The very fact that the marquee will say Cormier vs. Jones instead of Jones vs. Cormier most likely rankles with the superstar.

Yet the promotion of Jones is more intriguing now than it ever has been. Jones reportedly pulled in right under 500,000 buys for UFC 197. Not too shabby for a 15-month layoff with a lukewarm undercard.

Moreover, a fight with the magnitude of Cormier Vs. Jones will be heavily promoted under any circumstance. ESPN, TMZ, Deadspin, will all be pulled towards covering the event, so the co-main event placing may not be that big of a deal. The benefits that the Cormier/Jones rematch can provide for the women’s featherweight division are substantial.

..that the fight itself was between a 135 pounder who had lost her last two and a fringe top 10 bantamweight didn’t make matters any better.

UFC 208 was the official introduction of the featherweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and it wasn’t loved by many spectators. Germaine de Randamie outpointed Holly Holm in a 25-minute striking affair.

Technically, the fight was brilliant but provided not a single awe-inspiring moment. The fact that there was controversy regarding some illegal blows, a contested decision, and that the fight itself was between a 135 pounder who had lost her last two and a fringe top 10 bantamweight didn’t make matters any better.

The great thing about a Cyborg/Anderson fight is that both women really want the fight and also happen to be great kickboxers that have genuine horsepower. “Cyborg” trounced Leslie Smith in less than a round and utterly pummeled Lina Lansberg in just over five minutes. Anderson is young and still relatively raw but has some exceptional power at featherweight.

The desire to improve is also not lost on the talented Aussie. Her Invicta FC debut was an embarrassingly one-sided loss to notorious overachieving veteran Cindy Dandois.

Grappling is an aspect of MMA that Anderson hasn’t fully grasped as of yet but is miles ahead of where she was in 2015. Anderson’s 2016 was outstanding with three knockouts in a row and she showed her artistic side as she used Charmaine Tweet’s blood to splatter the canvas red like a deranged college activist student.

There was a USADA flagging for “Cyborg” after her last win that was retroactively cleared. Unfortunate and badly timed, it ended up rekindling an old hatred that some in the MMA community have had for the Brazilian since her first positive test in 2011.

“Cyborg” is a respectful competitor and her fighting style is barbaric but her past with PEDs rubs some fans the wrong way, making her a lightning rod for controversy. More often than not, controversy sells.

In the skills and experience department “Cyborg” will hold a distinct advantage, however, Anderson is not lacking in confidence and may be the first fighter that can match “Cyborg’s” power. Anderson also happens to be a fan favourite in Invicta and isn’t shy about trash talking when the opportunity calls for it.

Justino vs. Anderson would not only be a well-matched and entertaining scrap, it would possess something many women’s MMA fights are too commonly missing, intrigue.

Ronda Rousey is unlikely to come back and that leaves the UFC looking for ways to create a new female star. This bout would seem like the most probable one to do that.

Rousey had a great home backing in Southern California from early on in her career and it might be time for “Cyborg” to take some of those fans as she has been a SoCal native for years. Anaheim is only a few miles from “Cyborg’s” hometown of Huntington Beach and it shares an ocean with The Land Down Under.

If a sacrifice is made by the UFC to prove a point, then let it be one that carries some positive possibilities for other athletes who are hungry and deserving of the spotlight. Step aside Jones, and let the ladies handle this one.

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brazil

Reports: Vitor Belfort to step in against Anderson Silva at UFC 212

Matthew Wells

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UFC 212 may have a new co-main event featuring two legends from Brazil.

Ag.Fight has reported Vitor Belfort has offered to fill in for Kelvin Gastelum to face Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio on June 3.

Gastelum was originally scheduled to face Silva, but due to a potential USADA anti-doping violation which saw Gastelum flagged for marijuana metabolites stemming from an in-competition sample collected on March 11, 2017, a provisional suspension was levied and he was removed from the card.

Silva, who celebrates his 42nd birthday on April 14, will remain on the UFC 212 card which is headlined by a featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo. Silva found his way back into the win column at UFC 208 where he won a unanimous decision over Derek Brunson, notching the 34th professional victory for the former UFC Middleweight Champion. The win over Brunson is the first official victory on Silva’s record since UFC 153 over Stephan Bonnar since the win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183 has since been overturned to a No Contest.

Due to Gastelum’s USADA issues, we may have a rematch of a title bout that took place at UFC 126 that saw Silva defend his middleweight strap against Belfort in devastating fashion.

Belfort, who turned 40 on April 1, has one more fight remaining on his UFC contract and expressed his desires to fulfill his contract after suffering a loss in his last outing to the aforementioned Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. The loss was the third straight TKO loss for the former champion, whose last win came over Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 77 in November 2015. Belfort always wants the biggest fight available, and name-wise, they don’t come much bigger than Anderson Silva.

While both men have had their bumps in the road in the recent final chapters of their careers, fighting on their home soil in Brazil is something both men always look forward to.

UFC 212 takes place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janerio, Brazil on June 3, 2017.

Confirmed bouts include:

  • Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway
  • Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
  • Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
  • Marco Antonio Beltran vs. Delveson Alcantra
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Erick Silva
  • Paulo Henrique Costa vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
  • Leonardo Santos vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
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Rafael Carvalho – I Hope Manhoef Comes to Fight This Time

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Bellator 176 takes place this Saturday on April 8th from Torino, Italy and will mark the promotion’s second trip to Italy after Bellator 152 which took place almost one year ago. The main event for the event will be a middleweight title rematch between champion Rafael Carvalho and challenger Melvin Manhoef.

The two first met at Bellator 155 in May of last year. On that occasion, Carvalho left with a decision victory that some felt should have gone the way of his Dutch opponent. Carvalho does not believe that the judges will be required this time, however. “I will defend my title with a knockout,” Carvalho told MMA Latest News. “I hope he (Manhoef) comes to fight this time like the Manhoef we know.”

The fight received some criticism at the time from fans and even Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith. However, Carvalho believes the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Manhoef, whose tactics on the night surprised him. “I trained for, and came with, a tactic to knock him out,” Carvalho explained. “However, he did not come to fight and was not as aggressive as he usually is. He was afraid I would take him to the ground. I do not understand why he ran away from the fight. I was always moving forward but he did not want to come and strike, just to use low kicks. You do not win a fight with only low kicks.”

The rematch takes place in Europe, which is a first for Carvalho, but will also be in front of a crowd that loves striking, as the card takes place in conjunction with a Bellator kickboxing event. That is something which excites the Brazilian. “It will be really good to fight in Europe,” Carvalho enthused. “Europe is the land of the great K-1 strikers – the fans love strikers. Manhoef is a feared striker and I hope he does not sh*t himself scared and comes for a murderous striking fight.”

The fact that the event is happening alongside a Bellator kickboxing event has another level of intrigue to it, as Carvalho also revealed that he is planning on competing on a Bellator kickboxing card in the near future and hopes to fight in both Bellator disciplines. “I think about it a lot,” he said. “My manager has already informed Bellator that I would like to fight in Bellator Kickboxing also.”

The expansion of Bellator in recent times has been there for all to see, from signing big name free agents such as Rory MacDonald and Ryan Bader, to hosting more shows in different countries such as Italy and Ireland. However, one country that the promotion has not yet visited is Brazil, which is something that Carvalho believes should happen in the near future – and one would have to believe that Carvalho would have a strong case to headline  such an event. “It would be a great show,” he began. “Bellator cannot stay out of Brazil. Brazilians love MMA – it is where it all started. A show in Curitiba or Rio de Janeiro would be a great success. We have many top Brazilian fighters in Bellator. A card in Brazil cannot wait any longer.”

Bellator 176 takes place on April 8th from Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy. Tune in to see Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef settle the score once and for all to see who will leave Europe with the Bellator middleweight title.

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