When we last left our heroes...As usual, our facebook card starts us out with TUF appetizers. The fighters who are the mozzarella sticks, and cheese fries of the division. So it is with these two gentlemen, who hopefully aren't insulted by being compared to food considered an enemy to your coronary.
Anyway, Godofredo is a product of TUF, the Brazil edition. Which is why the name doesn't sound familiar for a lot of people. He's currently 1-2 in the UFC, his losses against Rony Bezerra and Felipe Arantes, his lone victory over Milton Vieria.
Across from Pepey is Sicilia, whose name evokes the broadest of associations, and therefore an excuse to link to this great exchange between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper.
These fights have me in a vendetta kind of mood, so it's worth noting that Sicilia is also 1-2 in the UFC, beating Christiano Marcello, and losing his last two to Rony Bezerra and Maximo Blanco.
What both men can do: This fight is your classic exchange between two specialists in different camps. Pepey is the grappler, Sicilia the striker. Castro (Pepey's actual last name) has solid ground chops, and just what you'd expect out of a black belt. His biggest asset is the speed with which he moves. I think some ground specialists tend to take for granted their superiority, and don't move as quick as they should when say, securing the hooks. Castro doesn't have this problem.
He hasn't had a chance to really do much to prove this, but just watch his amateur bouts. As for Sicilia, he has one of the more brutal right hands in the division. He'll be looking to land that, in case you couldn't put two and two together.
What both men can't do: In a way this is the perfect fight for Sicilia, Castro is an unimposing featherweight, and as we've seen in his previous losses, has a difficult time getting fights to the ground that need to be fought on the ground. Sicilia has lot to decent fighters thus far, and I think he'll be able to keep the bout on the feet here.
X-Factor: Illicit drugs lead to a NC?
Prediction: Sam Sicilia by TKO, round 2.
When we last left our heroes...Another product of TUF in Brazil, Thiago Perpetuo lost to the eventual show winner by brutal head kick knockout, Cezar Ferreira. He's 1-0 in the UFC however, beating Leonardo Mafra at UFC 147.
Opposite Perpetuo is the unknown in Omari who has been taking names in Russia with the usual mixture of Sambo-inspired violence. His last victory was over Fabricio Nascimento via guillotine.
What both men can do: 7 of his Thiago's victories are by knockout, so he'll be looking to keep it on the feet. He's got some brawler instincts when it comes to boxing...opting for big, winging right hands, and left hooks. He's a decent fighter who relies on being tougher, and catching opponents on the inside.
As for Omari, I feel like I can forego talking technique on this one. He's a Sambo guy who is part of this current Sambo revival, which means he's a destroyer of men, producer of collective lamentation.
He loves to throw a right leg kick from the traditional stance, and also has a pretty quicked guillotine. When you watch him, he strikes a lot like Rustam Khabilov; a powerful right hand, and a laser of a left hook.
What both men can't do: Thiago doesn't really fair well from a distance. he likes to throw inside, but as we saw against Mutante, someone with a reach advantage gives me serious trouble. Omari not only is taller, but his punches are quicker. Omari should be able to outmuscle, outgrapple, and outstrike 'Bodao'.
X-Factor: Sambo is to MMA right now what comic books are to movies. No blockbusters just yet (my money is on Nurmagmedov)
Prediction: Omari Ahkmedov by Sambo, round 3.
When we last left our heroes...It's been awhile since we've seen Tavares in the octagon. Once considered a blue chip prospect back when Tyson Griffin was also thought of as the future of the division, Tavares has since stumbled over and over in the UFC. He's not a bad fighter, but he hasn't progressed like many hoped. He's coming off a loss to Sambo at the Belfort vs. Bisping show, but is 2-1 in his last three.
As for Salas, he's coming off a win over Aaron Riley, which ended in Riley's retirement.
What both men can do: Salas is a solid enough journeyman. He doesn't do any one thing great, but with his southpaw stance, he moves around a lot, throws crisp short punches, and occasionally switches stances to optimize his transition game.
He doesn't have explosive takedowns, but he times them well and understands his limitations. As for Tavares, he has a strong wrestling base to compliment his grappling. His striking was never his strong suit, but he's developed at over the years through trial and error. While he has a rudimentary right hand, it's his leg kicks that are his best weapon on the feet.
What both men can't do: Salas doesn't ever really sit down on his punches. Because of his need to move around constantly, he has a hard time developing a rhythm on the feet. I like Tavares in this one because Thiago has only had trouble lately with guys who can have raw power, and can catch Tavares' somewhat crackable chin. In which case he'll be more than comfortable pressing the action with leg kicks, and attempted takedowns. He's just not giving Salas any room to breathe in this one. I think the fight is competitive, but I also think there's a clear winner.
Prediction: Thiago Tavares by Decision.
When we last left our heroes...Adriano Martins will be making his UFC debut after predictably taking out Jorge Gurgel in Strikeforce. The fighter from Manaus, Brazil is on a five fight winning streak and will be taking on the compelling TUF fighter, Daron Cruickshank.
Daron is fresh off a victory over Yves Edwards in a fight I found extremely rewarding. He's 3-1 in the UFC thus far, so a win will do nothing for his UFC career except keep him from getting that pink slip. No offense to Martins.
What both men can do: Nonetheless, this is a fantastic fight in a lot of ways. For one, both guys prefer to stand, and somehow Joe Silva just loves putting Cruickshank against other strikers, and manages to find those eccentric matchups for him. This one is no different.
Martins loves his straight left. He throws his combinations in rapid fashion, always keeping his punches straight. He also has some pretty dirty knees in the clinch. What's fun about this fight is that Daron likes to do the same thing, generally preferring the kicks over the punches. He's got a fantastic array of "that spinning shit" at his disposal.
He's also lightning quick. The fact that he was able to comfortably outdual Yves Edwards says a lot, even if it wasn't aesthetically more impressive than say, Stout's win over Yves.
What both men can't do: Still, I like Daron in this fight. Martins doesn't protect his legs well, and he protects his head even worse. He comes from the Ricardo Arona school of defense. Granted, Cruickshank doesn't have blistering power, but he throws piercing strikes, which is why he'll take over this bout with better technique. His foot movement will keep him out of range of Martins' flurries, while his kicks will ensure victory.
Prediction: Daron Cruickshank by Decision.
When we last left our heroes...Jose Maria Tome is a solid little fighter who had the raw bad luck of drawing a morbidly obese John Lineker in his UFC debut; a fighter who continues to make enemies by not being a professional.
Aside from that unfortunate series of events, he hadn't lost a bout since 2008 prior. Opposite Tome is Ortiz, who is making his UFC debut after a few wins in smaller shows like KOTC.
What both men can do: Like most flyweights these guys do it all in fast motion. One of the things Tome does well is sneak in knees to the head during exchanges. It's a skill not many fighters polish, but Tome is very good at it, in addition to having a pretty good standup game. He throws solid left hooks moving forward, or on his backfoot. Of his 33 victories, he's only gone to a decision three times, which tells you a lot of about his ability to win either during scrambles, or with strikes.
Ortiz is similar in a lot of ways, but whereas Tome likes to go for the finish, Ortiz is a lot more patient. He can box well enough, but like a lot of flyweights, he excels in the transitions, timing his takedowns swiftly after a a brief combination or through a counter.
What both men can't do: I guess what I don't like about Ortiz' game is that he's not overly aggressive. That's not a crime in any other circumstance, but at flyweight you need to be constantly on the move and Ortiz can get that deer in the headlights look, where he seems to be chasing his opponent too much. It's why I favor Tome in this one. Tome will be looking to keep the fight standing, and his aggression should be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Jose Maria Tome by Decision.