The only similarity Felipe Arantes will have to look forward to between his new opponent and his old one are that they're both primarily strikers. Beyond that the differences are pretty stark. Combate.com reports that Jungle Fight featherweight champion Edmilson Souza will be replacing Sam Sicilia against Felipe Arantes at UFC Fight Night 28. He steps in on a little under a months notice for the UFC's September 4th show in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. No word yet as to why Sicilia was pulled.
Souza is the rare fighter who enters the UFC outsized for his division. He's 6' 0" and while lean at featherweight, by no means sickly. Unlike many Brazilian fighters, and in truth MMA fighters in general, he appears to be working almost entirely from a boxing base and has excellent footwork, combination striking, and head movement. He utilizes the wide, low stance that Anderson Silva has popularized to shuck takedowns with reasonable efficiency, but may be taking a few too many cues from the Spider in that he keeps his hands low and has an unfortunate tendency to get caught unawares in the openings of exchanges.
He has a decent 13-3 record to show for his skills with all three losses coming by way of submission, two to quality veterans. He's currently riding a seven fight win streak and has yet to see a decision in his MMA career with 12 of his 13 wins coming by way of knockout. It's a far cry from the stocky 5' 8" Sicilia and his wrestleboxing style, but should make for an entertaining matchup with Arantes' power Muay Thai game.
For Arantes, he has to be favored here based purely on his prior UFC experience and the brutality he showed in shucking Godofredo Pepey's Jiu Jitsu game and demolishing him with elbows. He'll certainly be the more well rounded fighter, but it remains a question as to whether he'll be more dominant standing, and if not can he take the fight to the canvas?
Souza is 28, right at beginning of his athletic prime, and with sixteen fights to his name he's got enough experience to be competitive with the middle of the pack. It's always difficult to know how much a fighter will or wont change with the step up in competition. New signees often find themselves able to afford a full camp for the first time in their career, so the fighter we saw a few months ago may not be the fighter we see in September. Just in case he is though, here's some footage of one of his recent fights:
More from Bloody Elbow:
- UFC 163: Korean Zombie also broke orbital bone
- Erick Silva to face Dong Hyun Kim at UFC Fight Night on October 9 according to coach
- Video: Lyoto Machida and female reporter swap urine samples and drink each other's pee
- MMA Fan's Guide to Grappling: Sambo
- The Ultimate Fighter 19 tryouts set for August 27th, middleweights and light heavyweights will be featured