Hardcore fans are stoked for this weekend, casual fans could care less. For the first time ever, the UFC is holding two event on the same day which leads to a grand total of 22 fights on this Saturday. Damn. Thats a lot ass kicking.
Here are the fights that I'm sure people care the least about as it largely features the losers from TUF Brazil 3, but there is a bit of potential in them, plus the other fight has a prospect worth keeping your eye on.
Story Thus Far: Abreu (Demente) actually has a very limited resume on the professional MMA circuit. Not only has he only fought four fights, but his opponents own a combined one victory among them. He did what he is supposed to do to those opponents as the longest any of those matches lasted was a total of 61 seconds. Facing a higher level of opponent on the TUF tournament was probably the best thing he could do for his development.
Silva (Wagnao) has one less fight on his resume, but one of those fights includes 46 fight veteran Edvaldo Gameth, whom he disposed of relatively quickly. He lost quickly in the semifinals to Warlley Alves with a guillotine choke, but one has to believe that he is much better than he showed in that fight. At this point though, not much is known about him other than what we saw on TUF.
Fighting Style: Demente doesn't have a lot of MMA experience, but he has a lot of BJJ experience having competed in many tournaments and serving as a grappling partner to the likes of Tito Ortiz and Anderson Silva. So any guesses on what he does best? Demente has shown some striking abilities and held his own against Marcio Alexandre in the semifinals, but he isn't the most technical striker and punches are about the only thing he has shown, though he has shown power in his strikes thus far. When it comes to taking the fight to the ground, he relies most on a double leg.
Wagnao is another well reputed grappler, but not quite on the level of Demente. But funny enough I thought that he was more of a grinder than a grappler. He was doing a great job of wearing down his opponent Joilton Peregrino with short punches and keeping his weight on him. His striking didn't seem to be exceptionally tight, but was far from sloppy as well. Wagnao needs to do a better job of staying active on the ground with his GNP though as he stalled to much in trying to advance his position.
What to Expect: Fans should be hoping for a chess match amongst grapplers, but don't expect that. Usually amongst fighters with with these type of reputations with grappling, they end up canceling each other out and we get a sloppy slugfest. Not that they aren't entertaining. Then again, it could just be ugly as hell.
Demente showed a bit more in his striking abilities as Wagnao was either on the ground or grinding it out against the fence. Demente also has a power advantage as he landed a number of hard shots in both of his matches. Still, I would expect Demente to not force the issue and let the fight go wherever it goes as I expect he'll feel comfortable in any situation. Wagnao will take it against the fence. Difference here though is that Demente isn't as small as Peregrino.
If someone is getting submitted, look for it to be Wagnao. It isn't just because he was caught in the guillotine by Alves, but also that he was caught in it by Gameth, but was able to escape. Demente is a better submission artist than both of them and he'd be more likely to tighten it up on him. Wagnao has submission skills, but he also seems to have a tendency.
X-Factors: Demente's multiple high level tournaments isn't the equivalent to competing in the UFC, but it is likely the closest to anything else either of these guys have faced. I wouldn't be shocked to see both of them suffer from Octagon jitters, but Demente seems less likely to do so.
Who Will Win: If you read the whole thing, it should be clear that I'm leaning towards Demente. He is a more reputed grappler without the tendency to get caught as Wagnao does and looked to be the better striker as well. Demente by Decision
Story Thus Far: de Lima (better known as Pezao) was once upon a time one of the more hyped prospects in the sport. He got signed by Strikeforce and many had big expectations of him. But he got thrown to the wolves when he squared off with Mike Kyle and he fell off of the radar of many. His appearance on TUF has been the best thing to him since before his Strikeforce appearance and could end up reigniting his career. At 28, it isn't too late for the natural light heavyweight.
Moreira (better known as Rick Monstro) doesn't have to fight as he is actually an engineer. But he prefers getting punched in the face and if its for my enjoyment, all the more power to him. Another natural light heavyweight, his star wasn't quite as high as Pezao's, but his star fell some after a loss to a much more unheralded Alberto Uda about a year and a half ago. He was able to pick up some victories since then and still has untapped potential.
Fighting Style: Pressure is the name of Pezao's game. Pezao loves to get up in his opponents face and doesn't take his foot off of the gas. Muay Thai is where his base is and his skill set reflects that and he goes to the clinch quite a bit. He uses a lot of kicks whether it be to the body or to his opponents head. He has holes in his BJJ game that he will need to address if he wants to stick around long term as he was submitted far too easily by Antonio Carlos Jr. in the semifinal. Normally his takedown defense is solid though, and if he can avoid the ground he is in good shape.
Monstro is a talented BJJ practitioner, which makes him a standout at his size as most prefer to slug it out at the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. But he also proved in the semifinals that he is willing to stand and bang if the situation calls for it (though I don't think he was smart to do so). He didn't have a lot of technique in his punches as he was winging his punches as hard as he could which led to his exhaustion. If he tightens up the technique, he is worth watching.
What to Expect: Unless Monstro takes the same approach here that he did against Vitor Miranda, this will be a striker vs. grappler showdown. Pezao struggles on the ground and Monstro isn't very accurate or technical on the feet. Look for Pezao to be difficult to get down which is when Monstro will look to turn it into a slugfest.
If Pezao gets taken down with Monstro in a dominant position, it will likely be over shortly thereafter. As Pezao showed against Carlos, he is very uncomfortable on the ground and is fairly easily submitted.
Monstro will have more ways to win the match with his wild punches and his submission abilities, but Pezao has the more direct path to victory with his measured kicks and punches. I suppose I should have said this earlier, but if the slugfest erupts, look for Pezao to remain largely calm and try to counter Monstro. As precise a striker as he is, it shouldn't be too difficult for him.
X-Factors: Monstro's style worries me. He has only left the first round once in an official match and the way he fights tends to lead to exhaustion as his fight with Miranda showed. Pezao is much more calm in the Octagon. I also gotta believe that Pezao's experience in Strikeforce will help him with the bright lights of the Octagon.
Who Will Win: This is a very difficult match to pick. It largely depends upon if Monstro is able to get Pezao down. If he does, it feels as though it will be academic. If not, I favor Pezao, but not as much as I would Monstro on the ground. Despite all of this, I'm going with Pezao since I don't think Monstro will get him down and Pezao has more to lose... he ain't no engineer. Pezao by TKO 1st Round
Story Thus Far: Munhoz is a highly touted prospect that got fed to the wolves in his UFC debut against Raphael Assuncao. Granted, he was a late injury replacement and he actually held his own in there against the potential title challenger. A fairly recent move to Kings MMA and a regional circuit victory over UFC veteran Jeff Curran (winning the RFA title) indicates that he just may end up reaching his vast potential.
Hobar was a champion himself for Legacy FC, submitting Angel Huerta in the first round last summer for the vacant belt. "The Crowbar" suffered his only defeat due to an arm injury (elbow dislocation) and avenged that loss in his next fight. He fights out of Octagon MMA, which isn't a large camp, but is home to fellow UFC fighter Sean Spencer..
Fighting Style: Munhoz is a legit BJJ black belt, which tells you that he is a submission specialist. But he is actually capable of getting the fight to the ground unlike many other specialists as he has shown very solid wrestling.. He didn't have an opportunity against Assuncao, but he didn't let Assuncao do much besides pass his guard when Assuncao took top control. He is limited by a 65' reach, but his boxing has been developing to go with his Muay Thai and he throws in a good supply of leg kicks too. His movement could use some work as Assuncao teed off on him throughout the fight.
Hobar comes from a wrestling background which is highly apparent when you watch him attempt takedowns. He goes mostly for double legs, but tends to do so with emphasis as he likes to slam his opponents on the mat. He isn't dominant on the ground by any means though and he lets his opponents back up more than he should. A southpaw, he doesn't throw especially hard and isn't really a volume striker either. He is technically sound, mixes in the occasional kick, and does a solid job of utilizing his 71' inch reach.
What to Expect: Hobar likes to come out aggressive and establish his presence in the cage. He'll be the aggressor and try to push Munhoz around. Look for Munhoz to throw a lot of leg kicks to counter as Hobar tries to stalk him down. Hobar will throw some kicks in return and throw the greater amount of strikes, but I expect Munhoz to be the more accurate of the two.
Munhoz could try and bait Hobar to come to the floor with him. Not in the sense of laying on his back and inviting Hobar to the ground... but clinching up and allowing Hobar to get an easy takedown. Not only is Munhoz excellent on the ground, but Hobar has some holes in his game that makes it surprising to me that he hasn't been submitted yet in his career... though he has had some close calls.
If Hobar isn't biting on Munhoz bait, Munhoz could opt to take the fight to the ground himself. I haven't been completely impressed with the strength that Hobar shows in the clinch and Munhoz is a more than capable wrestler himself. So why in the hell would he even bother to bait him? I guess I just get ahead of myself sometimes.
X-Factors: This is a very tough debut for Hobar. Not only is Munhoz hyped, but he is fighting in Brazil. Guess where Munhoz is from? Thats right, Brazil. I also know that once a joint dislocates it is more prone to slipping out again. How would Hobar respond to an armbar attempt? It seems all the X-factors are working against him.
Who Will Win: I don't dislike Hobar, I just think he has too much working against him in his debut. Going against one of the more touted prospects in any division outside of the country? Yeah. I gotta go with Munhoz. Munhoz by Submission 1st Round
Record for this Card: 6-6 Record for Year: 107-69-1
On a side note, I was hoping to start incorporating pics and GIF's into my previews, but I've been on vacation and have actually tried to enjoy the area in addition to locking myself away in my room while working on this. With two cards to work on, I figured it was more important to get the general info out rather than get the pics in. I did play with them a bit, but realized I wouldn't have time to sort through which ones I could legally use and make sure I knew who to credit for the pics... so I'll get to that another time. Sorry!