When: January 14th, 2012.
Where: The HSBC Arena in Brazil
Main Card (on Pay-Per-View):
-Jose Aldo (21-1; #1 Featherweight) vs. Chad Mendes (11-0; #2 Featherweight)
-Vitor Belfort (20-9; #8 Middleweight) vs. Anthony Johnson (10-3)
-Rousimar Palhares (13-3) vs. Mike Massenzio (13-5)
-Erick Silva (13-1) vs. Carlo Prater (29-10-1)
-Edson Barboza, Jr. (9-0) vs. Terry Etim (15-3)
Preliminary Bouts (on FX):
-Thiago Tavares (16-4-1) vs. Sam Stout (17-6-1)
-Gabriel Gonzaga (12-6) vs. Edinaldo Oliveira (13-0-1)
-Yuri Alcantara (26-3) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (13-10-1)
-Ricardo Funch (8-2) vs. Mike Pyle (21-8-1)
The odds that anyone picks every fight correct on this card will be extremely low.
Going through each fight, we see these are very good match ups, with people who have looked questionable in previous contests.
First up is Jose Aldo, Hominick displayed that he can be taken down and put into complicated areas where he can be attacked. This is exactly Mendes plan, to wrestle him to the ground ala Couture vs Sylvia for 5 rounds. This makes me wonder if Aldo can keep it on the feet, or get a knockout or submission or if he will be smothered for 25 minutes straight, a difficult pick.
I'll do the rest after the jump.
Next up we have the winner of the most undeserving title shot in UFC history, Vitor Belfort, fighting eating machine and newly minted 185 pounder Anthony Johnson in what will likely be a battle of strikers. Vitor one day will look undefeatable and the next he will look very flawed. Anthony Johnson is a very powerful man, dare I say explosive and if Vitor trades with him, I could see this ending poorly for Vitor, and he will be going home to eating his wifes feet in a mild state of depression. A tough fight to predict.
Rousimar Palhares, his second fight in Brazil in a row, coming off a win over Dan Miller is taking on Mike Massenzio, who shamefully lost to CB Dollaway, is probably the easiest fight to predict here, barring any bat shit craziness, Palhares should take home a leg here.
Erick Silva has all the makings of a future champion, riding a 10 fight unbeaten streak including 9 wins and 1 no contest, he is the kind of person that Gal's Guide to MMA fawns over and I'd imagine panty dropper of the week is in his future. Taking on Carlo Prater who is riding a 4 fight win streak, and having lost to fighters like Fickett, Condit, McKee, I see Erick taking this fight in emphatic fashion.
Which brings me to what I think might be the upset of the night(is it an upset?), Terry Etim is fighting Edson Barboza. I see Terry Etim winning. I don't know why, but I feel in my hearts of hearts that Terry will pull this off. Edson coming off a split decision win over Ross Pearson has an unbeaten record, but I feel he will fall to the submission skill of Etim.
As for the undercard, the first fight is two featherweights, Antonio Carvalho(A Canadian) vs the brazilian Felipe Arantes two unknowns(to me) at featherweight battling it out should be an entertaining scrap as they try to impress the Bald Overlord. I'm picking the Canadian.
Pyle should win his fight easily against the rebounding Funch, who might be back on his way out after losing this one.
The ever unimpressive Omigawa barring any miraculous lessons in wrestling should lose the fight to Yuri in the first round.
Gonzaga will likely think he is a striker and get concussed by newcomer Oliveira who could become a force at HW in 2012.
And for the final fight of this post, one that I think will be fight of the night, we have Sam Stout taking on Thiago Tavares, two guys who always bring it, in what some may deem as a classic striker vs grappler fight, but Thiago also suffers from Gonzaganitis and throws caution to the wind and strikes when he should grapple. I see Sam Stout winning this in a classic stand up clinic similar to his victory over Joe Lauzon.
Well that was a long strange post, but I feel the opponents in each contest could win, Joe Silva did a great job in the match ups for this card and it should be a great night of unexpected victories; Who do you think will win?