When we last left our heroes...It's not everyday that the co main event of any card is a would-have-been TUF Finale, but that's exactly what we're getting on the 9th in Brazil.
For those that don't know, Sarafian was set to face Cezar before when he beat Sergio Moraes in the TUF semifinals. The two were then set to face off in the Finale as Ferreira beat Thiago Perpetuo, but a knee injury sidelined him and Sergio replaced Sarafian.
At this point, there's a twinge of MMAth in play. Sarafian knocked Moraes out with a flying knee in the first round. Cezar needed three rounds, and some serious resolve to get passed Moraes. The decision itself wasn't contentious, but both guys certainly had their moments. I always remember the fight for Rogan's commentary, unfortunately, who was shouting when Cezar was hurt in the 2nd as if Cezar was seconds away from swallowing anthrax.
Will any of that be relevant?
Ferreira is on a two fight winning streak, and undefeated in the UFC thus far. This is his chance to prove that he was the legitimate TUF: Brazil winner. For Sarafian, who is 1-1 in the UFC thus far, beating Eddie Mendez and losing to C.B. Dolloway in a competitive scrap, this will be a chance to prove his worth.
More than anything, what's interesting about this fight is the prospect of what these international TUF shows have to offer. American TUFs have devolved into the usual sub-Real World level junk that only a station like Spike, where questions about whether or not a fart could blow up your liver are treated as valid narratives, would promote...
The prospects are grabbed right away, or taken by rival promotions. The international shows feel like a real chance to find the diamonds in the rough. Are either of these two men those diamonds?
What both men can do: One of the things that's exciting about watching 'Mutante' fight is his willingness to remind some of us of the joy you felt when watching Only the Strong for the first time. Yea it was a terrible after school movie from an objective standpoint, but you loved martial arts, it was unique to see a different martial art.
The spinning wheel kick he landed on Sergio in the 2nd round of their fight at UFC 147 was amazing, and would get more love if it led to an actual knockout. This is something he does well. Aside from that he uses his southpaw stance to land hard straight lefts, but mostly kicks.
He's always looking to land a left kick to the body, and head. They're the kind of chopping shots that really add up over time.
Sarafian is a much more traditional striker. From his traditional stance, he throws the usual mixture of right hands, and leg kicks. His striking in general is incredibly fluid, and he's more than willing to mix it up, but his strength thus far is still the ground. He's heavy on top, but also moves well when scrambling which explains why seven of his eight wins are by submission
What both men can't do: Sarafian seems like he has trouble dealing with hyper-aggressive skilled types. Even Dolloway, who that doesn't describe by any stretch, found success in enough spurts to earn the decision win over him and Dolloway is just a factory made wrestle-boxer (but with decent offensive grappling).
His cardio needs work as well, though Mutante has similar issues. I lean towards Sarafian, though not with any confidence. Cezar doesn't throw the jab so he's predictable and hittable. Moreover, he was getting tagged by Moraes who has never finished anyone by knockout in is pro career.
Sarafian has much more power than Moraes, so I feel like that'll be an actual dynamic as the fight plays out. Of course, then I go back to Cezar's kicks to the body and feel like Daniel might fold under that kind of pressure. It's a coin flip but I like Sarafian to land hard to chin despite being capable of getting outpointed over the course of three rounds.
X-Factor: If the judges understand English, and can hear Joe Rogan screaming loud enough to have his voice heard on the Nostromo everytime Ferreira gets punched like he did in the Moraes fight, then it's possible that plays a factor.
Prediction: Daniel Sarafian by Decision.