UFC Fight Night Fortaleza on ESPN+: I love this card especially the main event as I believe the winner deserves a shot at TJ Dillashaw for the title. This whole card will be on ESPN+ including the prelims. Really sit back and enjoy the show Saturday night as fighting is back for a while thankfully and us fans are going to be happy as can be. Here are our predictions for the card.
Prelims @ 5 PM/ET:
#11 Magomed Bibulatov (14-1) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (14-1): We kick off the fight in the flyweight division. Rogerio is a DWTNCS season 2 victor coming in off an impressive RNC submission victory in round 2. Rogerio is a well-rounded fighter but is only known for his ground game as he has picked up 11 submission victories in his career. His striking is sneaky though and can catch someone with a TKO if he isn’t taken as a serious striker. Rogerio will be the hometown favorite here but will need to get this one under his pace if he wants a shot at winning this fight. Magomed is a dangerous opponent to be welcoming a UFC new comer. Magomed tends to go the distance more than his opponent but that isn’t uncommon in a sambo fighter. What we should see out of Magomed is a fighter push the pace and be the aggressor. When he gets his opponent to the mat which he will do in this fight he smothers you and lands shots from the top. This fight will be inetersting as Magomed is a significant favorite, but I believe that it should be a close fight as Rogerio has the potential to submit from bottom which is dangerous to a sambo fighter. I am going to take the underdog Rogerio with a 3rd round submission victory. – Matt
#12 FLY Said Nurmagomedov (12-1) vs. Ricardo Ramos (12-1): Our second fight of the night we go right back to Russia vs Brazil, only this time it is in the bantamweight division. Ramos has is entering his 4th fight in the UFC in a 2-year span as he missed a lot of time after his second fight. This fight will be his first true test inside the octagon though which he is the favorite in. It shows you what his potential is as he is 3-0 in the UFC and making serious name for himself if he grabs the win here. Ramos is only 23 years old and has a lot of potential to grow on. His opponent Said is another prospect and small underdog in this fight. He will be coming into his second UFC fight with a win over an already impressive name in his UFC debut, Justin Scoggins. This fight will just like the fight before this one almost surely go to the mat and we will see a BJJ vs. Sambo clinic once again. I really am torn here as both fighters have potential to be special in this division. Once again, I am going to pick the underdog and take Said via unanimous decision. – Matt
Felipe Colares (8-0) vs. Geraldo de Freitas Jr. (11-4): As we continue our way through the prelims, we have a Brazilian battle in the featherweight division. Both of these men are making their respective UFC debuts and without the octagon jitters could put on one hell of a show. Geraldo has stopped 9 of his 11 wins via 4 (T)KO and 5 submission victories. This guy can win this fight anywhere it goes and is going to be dangerous in the featherweight division if his skills carry over to the UFC. His opponent, Felipe Colares, trains with the Nogueira’s and is only 24 years of age, with a whole lot of potential. He has stopped 7 of his 8 wins and is unbeaten meaning he has only seen the distance once in his career. I know this fight is hard to call due to lack of in-depth film on both of these guys. I have watched some though and think that Colares has the very slight edge and will pick up a 3rd round submission after a great first 10 minutes. – Matt
Jair Rozenstruik (5-0) vs. Junior Albini (14-4): We step into the heavyweight division for our next fight. We have a UFC veteran vs a UFC new comer. Albini we have seen a few times and is struggling as of late as he has picked up 2 straight losses. He desperately needs a win here and needs to get this fight to the ground. He will have an advantage if he gets this fight to the ground over his UFC rookie so to say. Junior needs to use his known power to keep his opponent respecting his standup and then land a takedown where he will get an early submission. Jair is from Suriname, a very small country in North Eastern South America. This dude is a monster if you have ever gotten the opportunity to watch his fights. The first 4 professional fights of his career started with round 1 KO’s. His last fight was a split decision victory which he hopefully learned some of his weakness’ in and has become an even more improved fighter before his UFC debut. I think this fight is going to be over early and I have Jair winning this fight in the first round via KO. – Matt
Max Griffin (14-5) vs. Thiago Alves (22-13): This should be the main event of the prelims and I can’t figure out one reason it isn’t. Hell, this should be on the main card, but it is what it is. This fight will take place in the welterweight division. Alves will easily be the home town favorite in this fight and is an extremely dangerous fighter. Alves has been struggling as of late as his career has started coming to an end sadly but shouldn’t be taken lightly no matter what. Alves can kick someone’s jaw into the front row as he throws some devastating kicks. His opponent is the first American on this Brazilian card, Max Griffin is another UFC vet with a win loss win loss pattern currently going on in his career. The good news for Max is that his last fight was a loss which for him tends to mean the next fight should be a victory. Max tends to win his fights that don’t reach decision as he has only been stopped once in his career. He has a victory over a name like Mike Perry and could pick up another big name here if he can keep this fight on the outside and show a takedown early to make Alves afraid of throwing the legs in fear of them being caught for a takedown. Max Griffin will out skill Alves here and pick up a win in the 2nd round via submission ending Alves’ UFC career sadly. – Matt
Taila Santos (15-0) vs. #12 Mara Romero Borella (10-5): The first fight between women on the card and takes place in the flyweight division. Mara is coming off a tough loss with Katlyn Chookagian but has proven she can be a serious contender in this division and is dangerous for a new comer which Santos is. Mara is a good finisher and can rely on her ground game skill set to pick up some impressive wins. Mara trains out of ATT and has a great gym behind her, helping her develop into a good fighter. I know this division is crazy deep already, but Mara could make a run if she picks up some momentum with a win here. Taila is making her UFC debut, and is vicious as hell. She has stopped 12 of her 15 wins and 10 of which are by way of (T)KO. Taila is going to need to overcome her UFC jitters and come dictate the pace of this fight and use the hometown support behind her to unleash the beast she is. Taila is only 25 years of age and is bound for a successful UFC career. I believe Taila wins this one via 2nd round TKO after a first round of her figuring out her opponent. – Matt
Anthony Hernandez (6-0) vs. Markus Perez (10-2): This is the main event of the prelims on ESPN+ and it takes place in the middleweight division. Perez is 1-2 in his UFC career both of his losses being his only professional MMA losses come via decision. He is a skilled mixed martial artist and believe he is better than his UFC record shows. Perez has a great set of skills on the mat and sneaky power to end fights with his hands. His opponent Anthony Hernandez is coming off a no contest DWTNCS decision. Anthony is better off getting this fight to the ground as he has shown to be much more comfortable on the mat in his career than he is standing up. To successfully do that he needs to push the pace threaten with jabs down the middle and shoot for the takedown. Perez is the underdog, but I feel the UFC jitters for Hernandez, and the fan base being behind Perez will carry him to a victory. I have Markus Perez winning this fight via decision. – Matt
UFC Main Card @ 8 PM/ET on ESPN+:
Sarah Frota (9-0) vs. Livinha Souza (12-1): This fight is kicking off the main card which is the final women’s fight of the night and takes place in the strawweight division. Livinha comes in off an extremely impressive UFC debut with a 1 minute 21 second victory via guillotine. Livinha is a phenomenal BJJ fighter with submission skills even standing if she can get a fight into the clinch. She is extremely dangerous and will keep the distance close to get it where she wants it. Her opponent Sarah Frota will be making her UFC debut following an impressive DWTNCS first round KO. Sarah is another skilled ground fighter with submission skills to no end, but she will be best off keeping this fight standing as her striking is slightly superior to her opponents. I have Souza winning this one via 2nd round submission. – Matt
Justin Ledet (9-1) vs. Johnny Walker (15-3): Fight fans do not blink as this LHW fight is going to be awesome. Johnny Walker is coming for you Jon Jones and Anthony Smith. Walker is a monstrous fighter with submission skills and good lord he could knock anyone’s brain around their respective skull. This fight shouldn’t be looked past though as he faces a monster as well which is the biggest test of his career. Justin Ledet is going to need to take this fight cautiously and look for a way to land a takedown because if he can get this fight to the ground, he could pick apart his opponent. Ledet is a better fighter on the mat than Walker but would get slaughtered standing in a striking exchange. I believe the pressure Walker will push will prevent Ledet from getting this fight to the ground like he desperately needs and end the fight with a Walker 1st round KO. - Matt
David Teymur (8-1) vs. Charles Oliveira (25-8): I am going to be honest the rest of this card is honestly do not miss type action. This lightweight fight is going to be so much fun for everyone in attendance and everyone that watches at home. Oliveira will always put on a show as the legend will continue to look for submissions but shouldn’t be forgotten as a great striker that he truly is. Charles is facing a tough challenge as Teymur is a good fighter which you have to be in order to be a draw in odds with Charles who without a doubt a legend. Teymur has gone the distance a little too much as of late though and needs to be aware that he will not want to let a fight with Charles go the distance as he remains dangerous every second of a fight. I believe the legend will keep on showing his incredible abilities. Charles Oliveira picks up a 2nd round submission in another great performance. – Matt
#8 Demian Maia (25-9) vs. Lyman Good (20-4): This fight is intriguing as all Demian Maia fights tend to be and I think these welterweights not even being talked about is crazy as they are both insanely talented. Lyman isn’t bad on the mat but let’s be real, we know where he is best in a fight against Maia. Lyman is a monster with power in both hands and the ability to finish a fight in one shot. Maia is a legend of the game and sadly has never reached the title like we hoped he would one day. Maia isn’t done yet, but he is sadly too one dimensional to ever be a title winner. Maia is a god in the jiujitsu world and will dominate the fight if he gets a hold of his opponent. This fight will be the battle of striking vs jiu-jitsu. I have a very hard time picking against Maia as I love this guy, but I am taking Lyman Good as he trains at what is secretly becoming the top MMA gym in the world in Tiger Schulman. Lyman Good wins via 2nd round KO after surviving the grappling attempts of Maia in the 1st round. – Matt
#5 Renato Moicano (13-1-1) vs. #2 Jose Aldo (27-4): The co-main event of the evening has a former champ and future champ challenger in the featherweight division. Both of these extremely talented fighters are Brazilian and will technically be the hometown fighters, but Jose Aldo is expected to have the crowd behind him big time. Aldo was so impressive in his dominance over Jeremy Stephens in his last fight. Aldo is a legend of the sport and sadly has said he will be calling it quits no matter what at the end of 2019. I will miss Aldo I wish he was healthier in his UFC days and we saw more of him, but he truly was one of the most talented fighters of all time. Moicano is a beast, his lone loss was to Brian Ortega which I believe he has improved on. Renato’s win over Cub Swanson was so impressive and his submission skill set is insane and dangerous. He will be facing Aldo who isn’t known for his ground game but actually has a black belt in BJJ. I am really torn on this fight as part of me saw a monster in Aldo his last fight but Moicano is a legit danger to this division. I have no clue how Vegas has this fight not an even split but I have to take Aldo to win this one as his ability to be well-rounded is something I don’t take lightly. Aldo wins via 3rd round TKO.
#3 Marlon Moraes (21-5-1) vs. #2 Raphael Assuncao (27-5): The Main event of the evening will also be two Brazilian stars taking the center stage for what should be the number 1 contender in the bantamweight division. Assuncao is riding a 4-fight win streak including a win over his opponent which I had him lose in the decision which was a split decision victory. Assuncao is a well-rounded fighter with a slow pace but the skills to end a fight standing and with great submission skills. He is going to need to push the pace and avoid the hands of Marlon to survive this fight. Assuncao does a pretty good job keeping on the outside and scoring which we will see him do this fight as he knows he can out pace his opponent with his fight style. Marlon is a monster who I have been screaming deserves a title shot for a long time now. Marlon has won 3 since his questionable split decision loss to Assuncao with an extremely impressive win over Jimmie Rivera in his last fight. Moraes honestly in my eyes is the better fighter and was just outscored last time according to some horrible judges including Sal D’Amoto who is somehow still judging fights. I believe Marlon will come out learning he can’t go the distance in this fight with Assuncao and pick up the win with a stoppage. I believe he will successfully do so with his aggressive pace and striking and grab a 1st round knock down where he will lock in a submission for the victory. This should give Moraes the title shot he deserves. - Matt
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