Fight announcements are once again flying fast and furious with summer coming to the close and the winter cards in need of fights and fighters. With that, the UFC has scheduled a trio of new fights for it's 32nd Fight Night card. First and foremost, in a battle of decent lightweight prospects MMANytt reports that Daron Cruickshank has signed to take on promotional débuter Adriano Martins.
Cruickshank, a product of TUF: Live, has seen mixed success in his four fight stint with the UFC. He's currently 3-1 and while his victories have been impressive his loss to John Makdessi suggested pretty significant holes in his game. Considering that his MMA career is still relatively young he's still got a lot of time to grow, and given his Taekwondo and wrestling background has a unique skill set that very few fighters posses. His win over Yves Edwards, despite only being awarded a split decision, was fairly dominant and showed that he has the ability to take over a fight against a less aggressive striker.
It's hard to say if that's what he'll be getting in Martins or not. One of several former Jungle Fight champions on the UFC roster, Martins was last seen fighting for Strikeforce nine months ago when he beat Jorge Gurgel. Martins is known for his strong boxing and good head movement. He has the ability to be incredibly aggressive when he has his opponent hurt (something Edwards isn't terribly well known for) but if Cruickshank can stay at range and keep the fight at a simmer he may be able to get ahead of Martins and stay there until he can land a big shot or win the decision.
The second fight announced comes via Combate and will be between Jose Maria "No Chance" and newly signed flyweight prospect Dustin Ortiz. Maria is coming off a 2nd round TKO loss to John Lineker at UFC 163 in which he hurt Lineker early, but was unable to finish him. Lineker came back strong in the second round and was able to put away Maria, but it showed that No Chance's throw-anything style, (sort of like a mini Emanuel Newton) can be highly effective even if it's not always pretty.
Maria will be getting a step down in competition for his second outing with Dustin Ortiz. Ortiz is a Roufusport product who came up through the Tachi Palace and King of the Cage ranks. He's already fought some top competition, dropping a decision to Ian McCall and beating longtime vets Josh Rave and Matt Horning. He's a decent flyweight prospect, but has yet to really shine on the big stage. In some ways he reminds me of Melvin Guillard, he obviously has a lot of talent and physical ability, but seems to occasionally check out or make poor decisions. Against a crafty vet like Maria he wont' have a lot of opportunities to recover. I expect this is Maria's fight to lose, but Ortiz could land something violent at any point and change the fight.
The final bout announcement for the day also comes from Combate and will feature the return of TUF: Brazil 1 vet Thiago Perpetuo otherwise known as Thiago Bodao. He will be making his return after a year long injury layoff after suffering a ruptured ACL in training to fight Michael Kuiper back in January. He last beat Leonardo Mafra at UFC 147 in June 2012.
Bodao will be making his return against newly signed UFC middleweight Omari Akhmedov. Akhmedov sports a spotless 11-0 record and even has a decent name victory with a submission win over Fabricio Nascimento. His record is pretty well split between submissions and knockouts with only two fights going to a decision. Watching his fights he certainly has a lot of power, both striking and in submission application, but he needs a lot of technical polish and a lot of work on takedown defense. He may still have the tools to get by Bodao but I expect this to be more brawl than fight.
UFC Fight Night 32: Belfort vs. Henderson takes place on November 9 in Goiana, Brazil and will feature a light heavyweight fight between Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson. With unfamiliar fighters in each of these announced matchups here are a few videos to get us all acquainted.