fight night 36

Why It Matters: Fight Night 36 Prelim Edition

(Blaming the snow on this one)


February 15th, 2014

Why The Event Matters

The UFC returns to free TV for the start of what amounts to a stretch of 6 shows over 7 weeks. The headliner fight for this one is Lyoto Machida vs Gegard Mousasi in a fight that could determine just who is the #1 contender post Vitor Belfort. Also on the card is a battle between top 10 middleweights Francis Carmont and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Both guys are looking to sneak up into that secondary title contender discussion among the likes of Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Tim Kennedy. Sprinkled throughout the card is a collection of Russian prospects looking to break through the main stage, Brazilian prospects looking for a little hometown cooking and Brazilian fighters like Charles Oliveira and Erick Silva trying to get their careers back on track. Let’s skip the formalities and dig into why the whole ball of wax matters!

Fight Pass Prelims

7:30 PM Eastern Time


Why It Matters: When pretty records meet actual competition.

We open up the Fight Pass prelims with a pretty spiffy battle of prospects at 145 lbs. Originally a battle between unknown russian Zubair Tuhugov and long time UFC vet Thiago Tavares, an injury to Thiago led to the UFC’s signing of Douglas Silva De Andrade. Douglas De Andrade has been spotted on plenty prospect listings, mainly due to his spiffy record of 22-0 and his collection of finishes on Brazil’s MMA circuit. A Jungle Fight veteran, Douglas has scored a lot of his wins by (T)KO but also has scored plenty of his wins against soft competition. He’ll face a legitimate step up in Cage Warriors veteran Zubair Tuhugov. The Russian born pro has gone 8-1 since 2011 with 3 of those wins coming by TKO. He’s a durable professional with good cardio and well rounded skills. That makes him a stern test for Douglas De Andrade; a competent fighter to test how well that record will hold up against solid competition. Russia has done pretty well in Brazil recently and it’ll be Tuhugov’s chance to keep it going.


Why It Matters: Albert Tumenov’s UFC debut

Let’s start, I suppose with Ilemdar Alcantara. The younger brother of Iuri Alcantara debuted in the UFC as a short notice replacement vs Wagner Prado. After picking up a knee bar submission win, Ildemar dropped ALL the way to 170 lbs where he’s found mixed results at 1-1. More importantly, his fights have been so drab that after 3 performances, he still finds himself buried on the undercards. He seems to lack either the power or the instinct to crank things up in close fights. He’ll be welcoming Russian Albert Tumenov to the UFC in a fight that may prove to ultimately be a showcase for the Russian. Tumenov’s skill level is occasionally talked about in the Adam Khaliev levels and why shouldn’t it? Tumenov has 8 wins by TKO, 7 of those within the 1st round, His only loss is a decision loss in a 2 round tournament format type fight. Ildemar Alcantara will be defending his job, Tumenov will be looking to live up to the hype. This could be brutal.


Why It Matters: Maximo Blanco is a psychopath (in a legal way)

If you’ve ever seen a Maximo Blanco fight, you don’t know then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Blanco is a kook. Even his boring fights (like his vs one Marcus Brimage) are entertaining if only for their sheer absurdity. He does things that fighters shouldn’t do both in terms of being unorthodox and in terms of being flat out psychotic. Grabbing the fence, throwing illegal knees to grounded opponents, poking eyes and just being Maximo Blanco. He’ll try to reign in his wild aggression against Felipe Arantes, the Brazilian cowboy turned prelim MMA stud. Arantes is probably best known for running through Godofredo Pepey (before that was an expected result) and can have exciting fights from time to time. The problem is that Arantes is a counter striker with heavy ground and pound. Against the counter striking (at times) stoic TDD having Arantes, that might be a problem. The high end appeal for this fight is that Arantes and Blanco are both capable of putting on a wacky fight with crazy stuff and high level violence. The lower level appeal is that even if this turns into a boring staring contest, Blanco is still crazy enough to make you want to see it.


Why It Matters: Iuri Alcantara looks to bounce back.

After a rough loss to former #1 contender Urijah Faber, Iuri Alcantara takes another crack at the UFC BW division opposite Wilson Reis. While a lot of the preliminary action is prospect driven, Alcantara has graduated from prospect to proven at this point. On the other side of the coin, longtime journeyman Wilson Reis made a successful UFC debut on short notice against Ivan Menjivar. It was far from exciting (hey a Firas Zahabi guy who has a dull fight. Neat!) but at the same time, it showed that Reis is as good as he’s always been. Both guys are evenly matched; Alcantara being a bit more explosive while Reis will probably be the bigger stronger fighter on fight night. There’s a lot of turmoil currently in the UFC bantamweight division as an influx of top prospects as well as the stalling of names like Eddie Wineland, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, have left this division entirely up in arms. The winner could take a serious jump up the rankings.


Why It Matters: The popular Trinaldo vs the talented Ronson

Jesse Ronson didn’t have a great time in his UFC debut. Facing the shrunken down Michel Prezares in September, Ronson was smothered on the mat for two rounds before he eventually rallied and mounted a gutsy comeback in the 3rd. It didn’t get him over the hump for a decision win but it did at least remind fans of his that he has a shot in the UFC. On the other hand, Francisco Trinaldo is coming off a super disappointing loss to Piotr Hallmann. Trinaldo is a big LW with a lot of power and is a kill or be killed type of guy. The problem is that when faced with fighters with gas tanks, Trinaldo can freeze up and fade down the stretch. This could be a really fun fight or a horrendous gas fest. One side favors Trinaldo while the other favors Ronson.


Why It Matters: The God Damm Batman

We enter the lightweight division where TUF Brazil Season 1’s Rodrigo Damm takes on Ivan “Batman” Jorge. Fighting on short notice in September, Ivan Jorge was able to pick up a decision over Keith Wisnewiski by way of stuffing takedowns and body shots. Jorge, a natural 155er who could maybe drop to 145, is that kind of fighter: the sort of guy who doesn’t do anything overly special but does everything well enough to pick up wins. He’s getting his well deserved shot in the UFC by virtue of being a Jungle Fight champion. Rodrigo Damm is another one of those hard luck guys who seems to lack a predominant skill but battles with what he has. He’s a popular guy due to TUF Brazil and is capable of putting on an entertaining fight with the right opponent. There’s a chance that Jorge is the kind of guy who could make for a fun brawl with Damm.


Why It Matters: A potential slugfest

Christiano Marcello and Joe Proctor are tremendous on the ground. So why am I predicting this to be our smiley face slugfest of the night? Well it’s got more to do with the styles of both guys: Marcello has seemingly fallen in love with his striking while Proctor showed marked improvement in that department vs Ramsey Nijem. That’s why I’m betting that we’re going to get two guys, fighting for their UFC careers, pushing for a finish. This should be especially true for Proctor given how Marcello has had some interesting luck with decisions. The winner will be able to call themselves a UFC fighter for at least one more fight—that’s the end game here. 

UFC Fight Night 36 Recap: Ronaldo Souza & Lyoto Machida Victorious, Molding the Middleweight Division

 UFC Fight Night 36 wasn’t exactly the most entertaining event the fans in Brazil and at home have witnessed. With every preliminarie fight going to decision, it was left to the main-card to preform. Charles Oliveira, the first to finish his fight; victorious by way of submission over Andy Ogle and Erick Silva with an early first round knockout finish over Takenori Sato takes us now to the co-main event -

 The hype around Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza was very real heading into his bout with Francis Carmont. Souza’s last few preferences inside the octagon have been dominant and devastating, pushing him up the Middleweight ladder. Carmont wouldn’t go out that easy, in Jaragua, Brazil. The 1st and 3rd round for Souza were spent on the back of Carmont, looking for a rear-naked choke (unsuccessful in the submission attempts). Round #2 is where Carmont looked to have found his confidence; throwing a verity of strikes, as well as staying clear of Souza’s shots fired. In the end, Souza was victorious via: Unanimous decision.

 Post-fight, Souza said he wants to fight whoever has the title next. Though it would be nice, a rematch with Luke Rockhold makes sense.

 Your main-event of the evening would not only be a great fight, but also Fight of the Night winner. Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi early on was the “feeling out” process of one another. Heading into the later rounds is where both opened up with strikes and takedowns. Though majority of the fight was on the feet, both Middleweight contendors found them selves on the mat for a short period of time. With Mousasi doing a great job of pushing the pace and staying in Machida’s face, it was 'The Dragon’ who was more active with the strikes. In the final seconds of the 5th and final round, Machida looked desperate for a fight finish victory. It didn’t come, but we did see a Pride fashion lunging punch to the downed Mousasi.

 Ultimately, Lyoto Machida was victorious by way of unanimous decision. Following Machida’s win over Mousasi, he states: “I want to fight for the title, but it’s up to the UFC”.

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UFC Fight Night 36: Why It Matters Main Card Edition


Feb 15th, 2014

10:30 PM Fox Sports 1


Why It Matters: Can Ogle pull off the upset?

We begin the main card with two featherweights on the skids. Brazil’s Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira takes on England’s Andy Ogle in an interesting (on paper at least) styles clash. Both Ogle and Oliveira come into this fight off a loss, although Ogle’s loss is to Cole Miller and Oliveira’s loss was to a much better opponent in Frankie Edgar. Oliveira is a bit of a submission ace with fast, flashy striking while Ogle is a top control and submission kind of guy. On paper, the fight is heavily in the favor of Oliveira. Oliveira was once one of MMA’s more promising prospects, has spiraled recently and comes into this fight needing a big win to et the hype machine churning again. Ogle comes into this fight probably fighting for his UFC career. It’s not entirely an indictment on Ogle as his two losses were close but the UFC waits for no man. For Oliveira, it’s hype. For Ogle, it’s his job. High stakes exist in this battle of 145ers.


Why It Matters: The magical story of MMA

Let’s start with the obvious: there’s a chance that neither Brazil’s Andrade nor Sweden’s Musoke will make it very far in the UFC. There will always be fighters who are good enough to get there but not good enough to stay there. It’s the nature of a very strange and wacky sport. However let’s pay tribute to the story of the out of nowhere guys. Viscardi Andrade was a cast member of TUF Brazil Season 2 that very few people seemed to like. Then Andrade went on to become a semi finalist and put on a tremendous effort on the show. He topped that by KOing Bristol Marunde in August in a bonus worthy performance (although I don’t think he got one). Nicholas Musoke was a short notice replacement for Tom “Kong” Watson back in October. He engaged in a rock em sock em robot fest with Alessio Sakara then subbed him with an arm bar. Musoke and Andrade are two out of nowhere stories and one of them is going to continue to make his treck out from obscurity. This one figures to be all action as well so here’s hoping they don’t make me look stupid by predicting that.


Why It Matters: Can Erick Silva get his career back on track?

Erick Silva came into the UFC like a bolt of lightning, a wunderkind prospect who was blasting guys out with tremendous speed and ability. This is not a question of whether Erick Silva is good or not because I think we can all agree that he’s quite talented. Wins over Jason High and Charlie Brenneman are nothing to sneeze at, not to mention his two major UFC losses were fights where he was very much in them until the end. The question is HOW good can Silva be? He can’t answer those questions in one fight but a win over Japan’s Takenori Sato would go a long way towards extinguishing the flames of his demise as a top prospect. Takenori Sato is a Pancrase and Deep veteran who comes into this fight with little to no hype. He’s expected by most to simply get eaten up by a more talented striker. That’s good and bad in my estimation. The bad is that it speaks to the massive talent gap between the two. The good is that all of the pressure is on Erick Silva and he’s proven to be somebody who can falter under the bright lights. Sato has a chance to pull off the improbable and potentially put the Erick Silva hype to bed entirely.


Why It Matters: The stopper vs the Souza

Our co main event is in the middleweight division and it’s one of the best fights of the year thus far. Maybe not so much on paper but in terms of importance. Francis Carmont, the man known as “Limitless”, will attempt to apply his special brand of MMA against Ronald “Jacare” Souza. Jacare is the kind of fighter that you sort of fall in love with if you’re an MMA fan. He’s a strange looking guy with power in his hands, tremendous submission skills and an aura that just says fighter. He does weird stuff getting into the cage, dominates opponents and then does weird stuff after the fight. He’s a character in a sport where characters can often times come off forced and labored. His BJJ is stupendous but his power and striking has come a long way recently in the past few years. Francis Carmont is a decent striker as well but he’s recently become more well known for his smothering top control and ground and pound. He’s tough to submit (given the amount of UFC fighters who have snatched his back) and keeps up a really good pace. He’s a stopper, the guy who stops your offense and wins by making sure everything you do looks awful. Jacare is on fire and has never looked this good. The question is whether Carmont can smother Jacare enough to put out the flames before Jacare finds a limb, grabs it and breaks it. This fight could be really damn good.


Why It Matters: Will a purist’s dream turn into a casual doozer?

Our main event is a battle between Lyoto Machida, former UFC LHW champion and karate stud, and Gegard Mousasi, the everyman striker who captured Strikeforce and DREAM’s LHW championship. This is a fight that on paper has hardcore fans freaking out. It could be a perfect fight between two masterful technicians. Will Machida be able to cancel out perhaps the best jab in MMA? Can Mousasi handle the angles and timing that has made Machida one of the best strikers in UFC history? Will Mousasi fade for the first time at 185 lbs? Can Machida take down Mousasi and handle his hyperactive guard? All tremendous stories and questions. On the other hand..these are two very patient strikers. Mousasi will throw his jab carelessly and land with authority enough times to be satisfied. Machida has a tendency to cancel out strikers and can, at times, be in some very dull performances. So what is more likely at the end of 5 rounds of #1 contender determining action? Is Machida’s karate and Mousasi’s lay off going to lead to 5 very slow, dull rounds? Will Mousasi bring out the best in Machida and we all get a high paced war of the ages? Or will we get something in the middle that leaves both parties going “yeah it was good BUT”? I guess there’s only one way to find out.