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UFC 190 DFS Picks: Same Old Song and Dance

UFC 190 DFS Picks: Same Old Song and Dance
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UFC 190 DFS Picks: Same Old Song and Dance

Yeah, another fairly easy and quick win for Ronda Rousey. She faces an undefeated bantamweight in Bethe Correia who, for all intents and purposes, has basically defeated most of the 4 Horsewomen that Rousey made famous. Now I’m not saying Correia has no chance since that’s not how I dissect fights, but…..she has no chance. Outside of a punch that absolutely rocks Ronda and forces an early stoppage, I just can’t see the main event fight being competitive if Rousey doesn’t play with her victim. That’s all right though, as the fully stacked 13 fight card has plenty of other bizarre match-ups and the finalists of the recent TUF Brazil show. A 7 foot heavyweight is even fighting! Oh, and the rematch between two UFC veterans (legends even) in Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueria. I’m going into a different direction for this week’s breakdown as there are some match-ups that just simply don’t need to be broken down, as well as to limit my readers from experiencing seizures as they attempt to read all 13 fights’ breakdowns word for word. I’ll highlight some obvious and not so obvious strengths/weaknesses that will likely decide the outcome of the fight. In the meantime, be sure to check out all sites that currently off DFS MMA as this week should have some big prizes up for grabs! VIVA LA ROUSEY!

Guido Cannetti (+315) vs Hugo Viana (-380)

Hey, a fight everyone’s hating on! Viana looks like Wolverine and Cannetti looks like….no one. No, he’s not from Jersey Shore. Who wins? Damn it, why am I breaking this fight down???? WHYYYYY????

GUIDO CANNETTI

Strengths

  • No one knows him so he can fight invisible
  • Wide southpaw stance with very fast and powerful left kicks that Cannetti throws quite a lot
  • Left hand straight used as a counter when opponents try to counter his kicks or run at him
  • Likes to circle around landing low kicks to set up some sort of upstairs kick or force a wild punch
  • …yeah, that’s it

Weaknesses

  • No one knows him, so he’s invisible so how the hell can anyone know him????? PARADOX
  • Average take-down defense which isn’t good since he has basically no defense on the ground
  • Couldn’t really tell but in his fight against Briones but he got caught by an uppercut and dropped, didn’t see any chin issues in past fights but hey, that’s MMA for ya
  • Spam of the left kick opens up Cannetti to counter straights which is Viana’s specialty

HUGO VIANA

Strengths

  • He looks like Wolverine dang it! That’s a huge strength!
  • Black belt in Taekwondo, brown belt in BJJ
  • Powerful striker, loves to throw looping hooks and overhand rights especially on kicks
  • Good complement of headkicks in addition to his almost brawling-like boxing
  • …he punches hard? Not much else here

Weaknesses

  • Gets held up the cage too easily, mediocre take-down defense as well
  • For all of his punching power, only has 1 knockout win with 7 others by decision
  • Struggled against Sterling’s plethora of leg kicks despite usually landing a crisp right on such attempts – threw off his rhythm and timing

I know this is a pretty average fight that many people think should be an easy Viana win/knockout. I disagree, mostly because I actually think Cannetti is decent enough to give Viana trouble especially with his fast leg kicks. If Cannetti can avoid the death blow that surely will come on Viana’s counter attempts on Cannetti’s kicks, he just may be able to frustrate Viana enough to pull off the upset. He doesn’t usually go for take-downs but it’s happened before, so I suppose Cannetti could go in that direction. Unlikely, but this just might turn out to be a surprisingly entertaining striking affair.

Cannetti via unanimous decision

Clint Hester (-160) vs Vitor Miranda (+140)

Battle between hulking middleweight Clint Hester and a whatever guy who reached the finals of a mediocre TUF Brazil, Vitor Miranda! Mehhhhhhh. Both guys don’t have great striking defense, with Miranda being more stationary than Hester who at least tries to look like a competent fighter. Miranda has accolades in several fighting styles but his offense revolves around his usage of kicks, including some beautiful headkicks that has slayed his foes such as Jake Collier his last time around. Hester is coming off a brutal loss to Robert Whittaker, where he was crushed in the 2nd round by a vicious knee. I have a feeling someone’s face is going to be broken.

CLINT HESTER

Strengths

  • Strong and athletic middleweight, his big physique allows Hester to use his wrestling background to the fullest
  • Leads with a jab or left hook as he lunges forward to set up his damning right hand that sends all heathens and sinners to…..well, you know where
  • Gets the gritty, tough take-downs using his strength and perseverance
  • Loves to stay in top control and use brutal ground and pound to smash his opponents into oblivion

Weaknesses

  • Not the greatest striking defense, doesn’t seem able to stop most jabs or counter-straights
  • Gas tank issues at end of fights due to his exhausting style of wrestling as he can be very persistent in his hunt for a single/double leg take-down
  • Mediocre off his back, can be dominated by a skilled grappler

VITOR MIRANDA

Strengths

  • Accolades in several fighting styles – Black prajied in Muay Thai, black Sash in Sanda, brown belt in kickboxing, green belt in Judo, and silver glove in Savate
  • High arcing, quick snap headkicks lead the way for Miranda, along with timely body kicks and has a plethora of other kicks he can mix in
  • Powerful 1-2 combos that can catch up during the length of the fight
  • Good out of the clinch as he can land knees from Muay Thai clinch and push around his opponents

Weaknesses

  • Can be stationary at times and chooses to cover up rather than try to circle out or stop pressure fighters, mediocre striking defense
  • Has no take-down defense at all, can be taken down at will over and over
  • Gets overwhelmed against top control fighters and gets his head caved in
  • For all of his accolades in several styles, he’s not that great of a boxer and mostly depends on his kicks to do his most damage which 1. opens up his chin to punishment and 2. allows for easy take-downs on telegraphed/caught kicks

It’s very likely that Hester goes for the take-down early to take advantage of Miranda’s terrible take-down defense and go for the kill with his GnP. If he’s able to do that early in the 1st, then it should be all over quickly and an easy win for Hester. Of course, Hester could choose to brawl and trade against Miranda, which could go either way considering both men’s lack of striking defense and mediocre countering ability. Maybe it turns into a hugging match since Miranda seems adept in the clinch and Hester does tend to push people up the cage for the gritty take-down attempt. Either way, I still favor Hester to win the fight his way unless his gas tank woes rear their ugly head. Even then, I still like him.

Hester via 2nd round TKO

Iuri Alcantara (-250) vs Leandro Issa (+210)

The world class striker but frustrating fighter Iuri Alcantara gets another shot to prove us wrong that he’s still one of the elite bantamweights in the division. He faces off against a BJJ world champion grappler in Leandro Issa, who just got a magnificent submission win over like minded grappler in Ulka Sasaki. This truly will be a battle of which fighter’s weakness is the bigger issue of the two. Issa’s grappling/take-downs against Alcantara’s superior striking! Strategery!

IURI ALCANTARA

Strengths

  • One of the absolute best, lethal strikers in the division, fighting out of his southpaw stance
  • Pure technique and power, everything about him standing is just superb that I don’t need to explain any further
  • Black belt in BJJ, has tangled with some of the best and only has been submitted once in 38 fights – 31-6 record with 25 finishes
  • Decent take-downs but he’s mostly a dirty and vicious striker with an excellent top game that allows Alcantara to set up various submissions including armbars and kimuras – also a very solid guard with a dangerous triangle choke
  • Will be the taller and bigger fighter

Weaknesses

  • Boy, oh boy….his utter lack of wrestling and take-down defense has been brutal to watch as of late, getting stuck on the mat for what seems like an eternity against inferior opponents such as Frankie Saenz who is basically a freakin’ flyweight!
  • That’s it. His only weakness is his utter lack of take-down defense and wrestling that is maddening considering his skill-set everywhere else including his elite striking ability

LEANDRO ISSA

Strengths

  • World class grappler who has won many BJJ events, 3rd degree BJJ black belt
  • Pretty solid stand up with a lead left hook and strong low kicks, occasional jab/straight combination
  • Goes for level changes and single leg take-downs most of the time, nothing fancy or spectacular but it gets the job done
  • Once on the ground, well….you know the rest – had an incredible comeback sub win over Tuerxun and subbed another grappler in Ulka Sasaki
  • Also has a very good guard as well which might come in handy if he fails at a take-down attempt and Alcantara decides to keep top control

Weaknesses

  • His striking may be acceptable enough versus lower level competition, but against a phenom like Alcantara, it’s going to be his biggest weakness in the match-up considering he’s going to be significantly slower than Iuri
  • Alcantara also is going to be a bigger guy with 3 inches height on Issa, so maybe, JUST MAYBE, Alcantara can actually not get taken down
  • ..yeah. If he can’t get the take-down, Issa is probably going to get blasted on the feet by Alcantara

Alcantara should be able to finish Issa if it stays standing long enough. Issa might get a submission on Alcantara if he can get the guy down, but considering Iuri has tangled with some very good grapplers and came out of it just fine and dandy, I’m not so sure. Issa will be a popular dog pick due to the stylistics of the match-up and Alcantara’s Antarctica sized weakness in his wrestling, but I still believe in YURI! After a tough 1st round with Issa testing the waters with take-down attempts, Alcantara takes matters into his own hands and sends Issa back to whence he came from. Which is uh….I dunno? Brazil I guess?

Alcantara via 2nd round KO

Nordine Taleb (+195) vs Warlley Alves (-235)

TriStar’s own Nordine Taleb gets his toughest test yet in sizzling prospect and TUF Brazil 3 winner, Warlley Alves. Taleb is a big welterweight facing a hyper aggressive striker who lives on creating controlled chaos inside the cage. The 1st round is going to decide everything for both men. Why is that, you ask? SCROLL DOWN!

NORDINE TALEB

Strengths

  • Big for a welterweight, strong physique with a wrestling background
  • Powerful overhand right that he normally doesn’t set up but does have a decent jab and an excellent left body kick
  • Generally prefers to be a counter-striker due to his immense strength allowing Taleb to pick and choose his moments to strike or switch into wrestling mode
  • Good mixture of level changes and finding the right moment to push through to the cage and get in some trips
  • Heavy top control, difficult to get out and back on the feet with Taleb on top, refuses to give up his top position – definition of a grinder
  • Oh, he has a brown belt in BJJ too and has some decent submission skills, but he’s mostly a grinder

Weaknesses

  • Can be passive on the feet instead of being an aggressor, not very combo heavy and heavily dependent on the body kick to set up anything
  • Has never fought an intense pressure fighter on the level of Alves, so his lack of true combinations may be an issue – could expose his striking defense which hasn’t been great in some fights
  • Grinding style is not pleasing for the fans, and can be annoyingly passive on the ground by staying in one position when he should advance and CRUSH his opponents

WARLLEY ALVES

Strengths

  • Hyper aggressive fighting style, runs towards his opponents and opens a can of whoop ass right from the start – if you don’t survive that’s too damn bad mentality
  • Even though he can appear out of control, he’s surprisingly fairly polished enough to land his power hooks without opening himself to counters and has enough quickness to be able to jump back on defense
  • Throwing out his aggressive fighting style, Alves possesses pretty damn good boxing/counters and nice usage of quick and effective kicks, including some headkicks combo finishers
  • Strong top control with a FINISH HIM mentality on submissions, he’s going for the kill whenever he can – tangled with a skilled BJJ practitioner in Jouban and came out fine despite getting trapped in his rubber guard

Weaknesses

  • Despite his young age (24 years old), his wild banshee fighting style destroys his gas tank if he can’t get the finish in the 1st round, which renders his defensive skills useless as evidenced in his fight against Jouban
  • Usually when he’s gassed, he resorts to holding his opponents up the cage, which is curious since that would gas him out even further – Taleb’s going to be bigger than him and likely to get the better position in such instances
  • May struggle against strong wrestlers like Taleb who can take advantage of the gas tank issues and plaster Alves on the ground for long periods of time – was only one fight but one of Alves’ opponents was successful in that strategy in the 1st…..then Alves submitted him in the 2nd! Ahem.

If Taleb can survive the early sheer violence by Alves and gets the chance to either take him down or do his usual grinding style up the cage, he can win a tough decision over the young killer. If he cracks under pressure against Alves, it’s going to be a short night for him. I really don’t know which way to lean as Alves truly has a high ceiling and all the potential in the world to be a top 10 WW, but Taleb is also fairly big and has all the tools to actually get the upset. Hmm….I guess I’ll stick with Alves….but not by finish! BOOM! YOU JUST GOT SERVED!

Alves via unanimous decision

 

Patrick Cummins (-155) vs Rafael Cavalcante (+135)

The guy Cormier beat to shreds versus the Yoel Romero killer! Patrick Cummins is actually a pretty good LHW as long as he’s able to get the fight to the ground and use his arguably one of the best GnP games in the UFC. Cavalcante was good once upon a time but as age and lack of steroids have caught up to “Feijao”, this is likely his swan song before he heads off into the sunset. Can Cummings use his excellent postures and pulverize Feijao’s face before he gets knocked the funk out by Cavalcante? I smell danger!

PATRICK CUMMINS

Strengths

  • All American NCAA Div I wrestler with other several wrestling accolades, very strong and smart wrestler
  • Plethora of strong take-downs that keep his one dimensional attack viable as he can get the power blasts, double leg take-downs, back trips, throws out of the clinch, what have you
  • Basis of his game is to pound and blast away his opponents to smithereens with his fantastic and top notch ground and pound
  • Keeps top control and makes timely passes to keep on his GnP attack, also has some fantastic posture ups that allow Cummins to use full force on his punches – never seems to be threatened by any submission attempts as well

Weaknesses

  • No stand-up game to speak of, an overhand right is about it for Cummins and because of that he can be knocked out by anyone who keeps away from his take-downs – KO’d by Cormier and OSP
  • More on his striking woes, he’s also a really slow striker (but apparently is learning a jab, so better watch out folks!)
  • That’s seriously his only weakness, though it’s a gigantic red flag that will keep Cummins from ever becoming a true contender despite his nasty GnP game

 RAFAEL CAVALCANTE

Strengths

  • Powerful striker who throws everything with all of his might and strength behind them
  • Spams the overhand right at abandon, likes to also use the uppercut to pierce through defenses
  • Occasional leg kicks also thrown but not with any pattern as Cavalcante just wants to knockout fools with his hands – got a problem with that?
  • Countering ability is all right considering he doesn’t mix up his attacks well

Weaknesses

  • Mediocre take-down defense, struggles against strong wrestlers – got taken down 7x by Ryan Bader last fight….in 3 rounds!
  • Terrible gas tank, Cavalcante has 1 round to knock his opponents out before gassing out and giving the advantage back to the enemy
  • Also due to bad gas tank, Cavalcante’s defense erodes and opens up his already questionable chin – 3 of 5 losses by knockout

Can you feel it? A Cummins take-down….then another one! And another one! Hey, it’s the 2nd around already? Whoa, Cavalcante looks seriously gassed. Cummins with another take-down! IT’S ALL OVER FOLKS! Cummins just needs to escape the 1st round without getting knocked out by Cavalcante’s right hand spam and get the easy take-downs before cruising to victory. Can he finish Cavalcante in the later rounds with his ground and pound? ABSOLUTELY.

Cummins via 3rd round TKO

 

Demian Maia (-175) vs Neil Magny (+155)

The resurgence of Neil Magny from apparent mediocre/no real potential to a legitimate top 15 welterweight has been astonishing. Riding a 7 win streak that also includes victories over Tim Means, Alex Garcia, and a comeback win over Hyun Gyu Lim, Magny has asserted himself as a tough opponent to prepare for as his long reach (80”), defensive wrestling, and an annoyingly fast jab has propelled Magny into possibly being ranked in the top 10 of the WW division. He gets a real tough test in former MW contender/turned top 10 welterweight and one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world, Demian Maia, who is currently a 4th degree black belt. Some quick notes on what to expect out of the match-up and the keys for success.

DEMIAN MAIA

Strengths

  • World class black belt BJJ practitioner, one of the best grapplers in the world, period
  • Has grown his take-down offense over the years to become a dangerous man as his ability to get the fight to the ground has been on display over the years
  • By whatever method he uses to get the fight to the ground, once he’s on top it’s probably over for them or at the very least a lost round
  • Beautiful ground passes and leg weaves allows Maia to use his superior submission skills to set up whatever he wants, as he can get into dominant positions quickly and with relative ease
  • Having been a middleweight before also helps Maia keep his strength advantage over most in the welterweight division, which is why Maia is one of the most dangerous ground fighters in the entire UFC

Weaknesses

  • Gas tank is a big problem for Maia, almost gave away the fight against LaFlare despite dominating him for 3.5 rounds of a 5 round fight
  • Average at best stand-up, if he doesn’t get the take-down he can be bullied on the feet due to his lack of speed and no real combos
  • It’s a weird thing to say but Maia has an annoying tendency to get into dominant positions (back control/full mount) then simply chooses to stay in that spot without threatening with a submission or using ground and pound – as a DFS player I want the damn finish so don’t toy with my heart Maia!

NEIL MAGNY

Strengths

  • 6’3” with a 80 inch reach, tops in the division and Magny knows it
  • Has an excellent jab that he uses profusely, likes to be a long range striker with some stance switching and good usage of long attacks
  • Good defensive wrestling and scrambling ability also an assist to his long range striking style
  • Uses length and movement in addition to proper timing combos to frustrate opponents
  • Brown belt in BJJ and it shows whenever he gets top control or nabs a take-down versus lesser grapplers
  • Has heart and will even in dangerous situations, has had several comeback wins

Weaknesses

  • When he faced someone who was just as tall and long as Magny in Hyun Gyu Lim, he struggled to stay away from the power punches and almost got wiped out in the 1st round
  • Isn’t very good off his back as he tends to try and scramble back up while giving up his back – not a good idea against better grapplers
  • Against guys who could overpower him on the ground with their passes and usage of top control, Magny struggled to defend passes and submission attempts – Moraes was able to submit him from mount

Maia’s take-downs versus Magny’s jab. That’s what it boils down to for either guy to win the fight. Magny probably won’t finish Maia on the feet as he isn’t powerful enough to put the veteran way unless it was the 3rd against an exhausted Maia with a ref stoppage. Maia has all the potential to finish Magny on the ground with his fantastic leg weave passes and Magny giving up his back at times/already been submitted by another world class grappler in Sergio Moraes. Considering Means, Garcia, and even Kunimoto were all able to take Magny down, even if only momentarily, I gotta think Maia does the same. The question is whether or not Maia simply gets Magny’s back for all 3 rounds for a real life domination but fantasy bust decision win. Maia is just too damn good on the ground that I’m still taking him despite the risks of a Magny runaway show.

Maia via 2nd round RNC

Claudia Gadelha (-440) vs Jessica Aguilar (+350)

Two of the better strawweights in the division square off between newly signed Jessica Aguilar, who was last seen defending her title successfully once again on WSOF, against the only woman to come the closest to defeating the current strawweight champ in Claudia Gadelha. The winner likely gets a shot against Joanna Champion (yes, if Aguilar wins maybe they would seriously consider giving her a title shot right away), so it’s a pretty pivotal match-up in a fast growing, super competitive division with names like Paige VanZant and Rose Namajunas rising up the ranks quickly. So why the heck is Gadelha such a big favorite?

CLAUDIA GADELHA

Strengths

  • A bantamweight masquerading as a strawweight, Gadelha is very strong and big for the division
  • Hard puncher, throws 1-2 combos with power and can land the counter-straight
  • Using her own strength and size advantage, Gadelha loves to get the fight to the ground using strong clinch work with hip throws or go for the double leg take-downs
  • On the ground is where she shines with her BJJ black belt, makes great passes and sets up submissions from anywhere
  • As is typical of apparently all Nova Uniao members, Gadelha also has very strong take-down defense that’s obviously aided by her strength/size advantage

Weaknesses

  • Bad gas tank that generally gets depleted after the 1st round if she’s unable to get the 1st round finish or ends up expending her energy early with wrestling
  • Struggled versus Joanna’s speed and quickness, was beaten to the punch early and often despite trying to counter back – got knocked down by an uppercut near the end of the 1st round
  • Seems to depend on counter-striking as her real means of damage standing, which explains why she struggles vs speedy strikers

JESSICA AGUILAR

Strengths

  • Was widely regarded as a top 5 strawweight during her time on Bellator and WSOF – strawweight champion on WSOF
  • Quick and disciplined boxer who waits for the right opening to land counters, jabs and prods her way into forcing windows to open up
  • Likes to bully her opponents up the cage to set up hard nosed take-downs and go to work on the ground
  • Brown belt in BJJ but prefers to keep top control and land some ground and pound, will go for the submission if it’s available
  • Uses good movement to set up her jab and follow up counters
  • Decent take-down defense that’s mostly predicated by her discipline on the feet, being ready to sprawl and use underhooks – also good at scrambling back up to the feet

Weaknesses

  • Will be at a strength/size disadvantage which makes her bully up the cage gameplan null and void against a better and stronger clinch fighter in Gadelha
  • Has been primarily a stand and counter fighter, may have to turn into a jab and run fighter against Gadelha as to avoid the take-down
  • Early in career she had the Jessica Eye syndrome in that whenever she would throw a 2 hit counter combo, she would leave her chin up high rather than going with the flow – has gotten better at diminishing that bad tendency but something to keep an eye on

Fairly simple fight to break down. Can Aguilar stay away from Gadelha’s numerous take-down attempts and avoid getting into a brawl? If she’s able to utilize the jab well and keep Gadelha away from her, she certainly can steal the fight and pull off the upset. Gadelha also has a history of gassing out badly late in fight which just favors Aguilar all the more. Gadelha truly is a top 5 strawweight versus anybody, but so is Aguilar and these odds just don’t make sense to me. I fully expect Gadelha to prove me wrong and show she can throw more than 1 combo and isn’t entirely dependent on her own size/strength advantage. Upset pick!

Aguilar via unanimous decision

Antonio Silva (+175) vs Soa Palelei (-210)

Sigh. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva has essentially crashed and burned into the category that seems destined for all the old, no chin heavyweights these days – retired. Silva has been knocked out so much in his recent fights (4 KO losses in his 7 UFC fights) that I am seriously worried for his health. He already has pituitary gland issues (acromegaly) that adding in brain damage to his list of health concerns doesn’t seem smart. Bigfoot quite simply has no chin whatsoever, as a stiff jab by Frank Mir was all he needed to badly rock Bigfoot for the 1st round knockout win. When the UFC banned TRT use including exemptions, Bigfoot’s career was in jeopardy, as he actually needs TRT in order to even be a healthy, normal person. His performances (and I’d imagine training as well) have been trainwrecks since the ban (actually got popped for elevated testosterone against Mark Hunt), and that trend likely continues against Palelei. The only way Silva will be able to win this fight is if he can get the big “Hulk” Soa Palelei down to the ground, as Palelei is just…..really bad off his back. Like laughably bad for a BJJ black belt. Not that Silva is any better of his back either, but I digress.

Palelei also only needs one punch to wipe out Silva from UFC’s heavyweight roster, and he can also simply take Bigfoot down to finish the job. Palelei is already known for his powerful hands as he owns 18 of his 22 wins by knockout, with the remaining 4 also finishes by submission. I suppose Bigfoot could also knock out Palelei as well, but that seems highly unlikely based on his past performances and struggles since being unable to resume TRT as he had done in the past. Whatever the case may be, I almost hesitate to say I will have Palelei on almost every line-up, as I do know it is a heavyweight fight which is still as unpredictable as Sea Level Cain. Both men also love to gas out and punch the air aimlessly. Shrug.

Palelei via 1st round KO

 

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (+145) vs Stefan Struve (-165)

This is a case of a true legend in Antonio “Minotauro” Rodrigo Nogueira fighting a monstrosity in 7 foot tall Stefan Struve, with all of his massive potential not being realized as of yet (still only 27 years old).

Minotauro should have retired 5 years ago, as both his chin and age have caught up to him badly. Long thought one of the best grapplers in the world and impossible to sub, Minotauro has been submitted twice in his last 5 fights, which also includes KO losses to Roy Nelson and Cain Velasquez. Even further back than that, he was getting badly hurt on the feet as evidenced by his apparent “injury fight” against Frank Mir in UFC 92, getting dropped twice by Mir. Minotauro is also 39 (along with his twin brother down below) and has been on a huge downhill slide, especially his speed deficiencies which had never been an advantage anyways but is even more pronounced nowadays.

Stefan Struve is a gigantic 7 foot tall black belt kickboxer with a wide array of attacks that can put anybody in the division to sleep, along with a brown belt in BJJ and long limbs that allow Struve to be a tough out even on his back. So, why isn’t he the champion? He clearly has a height/reach advantage over most in the division and has the striking/grappling to fight versus the elite. It’s really simple actually. His chin. It’s pretty awful, with 6 of his 7 career losses by knockout including a 2 fight losing streak caused by knockouts. He’s also pretty terrible at using his length, even if he is 7 feet tall. His injuries have also stalled his growth (as if he needs to keep growing….amirite????) and he actually had his fight against Matt Mitrione canceled due to blacking out in the locker room. He recently had heart issues back in ’13, and the apparent panic attack caused Struve to faint due to palpitations. Still, the potential is there for the towering heavyweight, and a win against the legend would be a huge boost to his confidence. It should actually be quite a feasible win for Struve.

This is a straightforward fight, with Struve possessing all the tools to frustrate and knock out the elder Minotauro in the 1st round, provided Struve doesn’t get stuck in the clinch and bullied by Minotauro. Even with his chin issues and Minotauro’s grappling prowess, the only way I can realistically see Minotauro winning the fight is if he lands that one punch that just obliterates Struve on the feet or somehow gets the “Skyscraper”down to the mat. The height difference and Minotauro’s nose dive in his performance tends to tell me that the aforementioned circumstances are very unlikely to happen. I’m sticking with the Skyscraper by anything he wants in the 1st round.

Struve via 1st round KO

 

Dileno Lopes (-340) vs Reginaldo Vieira (+280)

The bantamweight finalists of the slightly doomed season 4 of TUF Brazil (Anderson Silva was the coach before the whole PED situation) get their chance to shine and nab a lucrative UFC contract. Lopes is the runaway favorite due to having already defeated the man that knocked Vieira out of the tournament before an injury allowed Vieira back into the tournament. Brazil!

DILENO LOPES

Strengths

  • Complete fighter overall, with his counter-striking southpaw fighting style and great ground game leading the way
  • Stays in front of his opponents while circling around and trying to cut off the cage, looks to land his speedy but powerful left hand as a counter
  • Once he gets a direct hit, he will go bananas and do whatever he wants to do, which is generally start swinging for the KO win or land a take-down
  • Great top control as he looks to get into full mount as soon as possible, guard is very solid as well – just a truly complete fighter

Weaknesses

  • If he doesn’t get that direct hit, he will go for long periods without really doing much else – way too dependable on that power left
  • Not much in his game that would be considered a weakness, so I’ll say maybe Lopes should be aware of where his neck is if he goes for a take-down as his current opponent loves to spam the guillotine choke
  • He’s also kinda small for a bantamweight, so he could in theory get overpowered by Vieira on a take-down or something

REGINALDO VIEIRA

Strengths

  • Rebounded from his 1st round loss in the tournament to reach the finals using his favorite submission choke in the guillotine
  • Strong and powerful brawler who will at 1st stay in front and wait for his moment to land a counter, then go ballistic
  • Has a good double leg take-down that he uses as a pressure tool
  • Loves to use the guillotine choke whenever he can, discourages foolish take-down attempts

Weaknesses

  • Questionable chin, was rocked/dropped in several fights when I checked his past history
  • Spam usage of guillotine choke versus smarter, competent grapplers means Vieira gives up easy take-downs and positions on the ground
  • Whenever Vieira goes on his wild banshee striking with looping hooks, opens himself to counters and take-downs – Lopes is going to love such events

Sure, no one really cares about this season of TUF (or in general) but Lopes is an intriguing prospect. He seems good everywhere, with his speedy but powerful left straights and good knowledge and usage of take-downs and grappling wherever the fight goes. He doesn’t seem to favor one thing or another and just simply goes with the flow of the match. Vieira is much less disciplined than Lopes and is prone to moments of  randomness which, coupled with his questionable chin and Lopes’ seemingly more concentrated effort in being a smart fighter, makes me lean towards Lopes finishing the fight in whatever fashion he wants. Even though Vieira certainly loves the guillotine choke, I don’t think Lopes is stupid enough to get caught in it. Brazil!

Lopes via 2nd round KO

 

Fernando Bruno (+155) vs Glaico Franca (-175)

The 2nd set of finalists of TUF Brazil 4! Featherweights Franca and Bruno are pretty similar fighters as they are GnP based mediocre strikers with some pretty good take-down offense sprinkled in. I’m expecting a decision victory for either men, but let’s see if one of them actually has the chance for the finish.

FERNANDO BRUNO

Strengths

  • Goes for the take-down as much as possible, wide assortment of take-downs including some interesting throws from clinch
  • Stays heavy on top with ground and pound, opportunistic sub hunter but usually bides his time until opponents give up their back/neck
  • Decent usage of kicks but not much else

Weaknesses

  • Looks pretty uncomfortable standing, prefers to change levels/duck and shoot on striking exchanges
  • Gas tank issues in some of his fights late when he had to notch more take-downs than he’d like
  • Bad striking defense also does Bruno no favors, chin not the strongest

GLAICO FRANCA

Strengths

  • Better stand-up than Bruno with no pattern to his combos, but can land some 1-2 combinations and land high arcing kicks
  • Take-downs more of the power variety, bullies his way through his opponents or tries for double leg take-downs – even will attempt suplexes!
  • GnP game more refined than Bruno’s, uses postures and lands more punches
  • Has a pretty effective guard with smart usage of sweeps and getting reverses, better grappler and submission seeker than Bruno

Weaknesses

  • While he should be better than Bruno standing (also reminds me a little bit of Yair Rodriguez from TUF Latin America) he’s pretty sloppy and unpolished with his attacks, has gotten taken down because of it + getting his kicks caught for the take-down
  • His guard is good enough versus weaker opponents, but against a top heavy guy like Bruno, getting taken down may be the worst thing for Franca since he can be controlled a little bit by stronger guys
  • Meh, who cares they’re both whatever

Franca is better than Bruno everywhere other than possibly take-down offense. Better ground and pound, better stand-up even if it is sloppy, better grappling. Bruno may be stronger and could feasibly hold Franca either up the cage or on the floor, but Franca just looks better period. Only way I see a finish is if Franca is able to destroy Bruno on the feet, otherwise it’s probably a lame decision. B R A Z I L!

Franca via unanimous decision

 

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+165) vs Mauricio Rua (-190)

The twin brother of Minotauro has already fought Mauricio “Shogun” Rua quite a long time ago in what is regarded as one of the classic fights of that generation. The rematch likely won’t look anything like the 1st meeting, as Minotouro has barely fought in the last 4 years due to numerous injuries and Shogun’s skills has eroded over the years.

Unlike his brother, Minotouro still seems to have all of his skills intact, including his boxing and fast jab. The only thing he seems to share in common with his twin brother other than his grappling skills is his chin. Anthony Johnson made sure that the world knew about Nogueira’s brittle chin with his quick 1st round knockout. Other than his questionable chin, it seems that Minotouro’s career isn’t quite over as his twin brother, though he should have still retired years ago considering his body continues to break down at an alarming rate, forcing him to pull out of many fights over the last 3-4 years. He’s always been known as an excellent boxer even as his speed has regressed over the years. That’s what he’s going to need to rely on if he stands a chance of leaving the 1st round conscious.

Shogun Rua, dating back to his PRIDE days, has always been a powerful and electric Muay Thai striker, with thunderous leg kicks and sheer power in his hands. He’s not as old as the Nogueira brothers (33 years old compared to their 39), but he’s still had his own issues including terrible camps and awful training regimens that has plagued his conditioning. He routinely would gas out badly after the 1st round in most fights, even when he was clearly winning after one round. Rua has recently changed camps to Kings MMA, which might turn out to be the best move he’s made in a while. Rua still has all the power from his past and the thunderous leg strikes to go along with the power, but as do most aging veterans, his speed has diminished over the years as well as his chin. It’s not as bad as the Nogueira brothers or even most of the heavyweight division, but it is an issue nonetheless. Rua recently got knocked out by Ovince St. Preux in surprising fashion, and he lost the rematch against Dan Henderson after seemingly on his way to knocking out Henderson before Rua got brutally Hendo’d by the right hand H-Bomb. Still, even with such bitter losses, Rua should still have 1 round at the very least to put away Minotouro, taking advantage of his still dangerous power and leg kicks to keep Minotouro off guard. Then all it takes is a perfectly placed punch to the chin for the victory.

I do expect a little bit of a brawl between the two veterans that could conceivably go either way, whether by finish or to the judges. I still believe in Rua to show up for at least one round against Nogueira, regardless of his past troubles. Rua’s camp change to Kings MMA should be fantastic for his late career revival, as that camp has been tremendous for several fighters including new champions Fabricio Werdum and Rafael Dos Anjos. Maybe if both Nogueira brothers lose tonight, they finally decide to call it quits. One can only hope.

Rua via 1st round KO

 

Bethe Correia (+1100) vs Ronda Rousey (-1500)

Look, this is the truth quite plainly. Ronda Rousey is so far above and beyond better than ALL of the fighters in her division (yes, her division) that until she fights Cristiane Justino (aka Cyborg), no one is a real threat to take away her belt. Correia has some very good boxing and technical striking skills along with better than average clinch work, but all of that means nothing when facing an elite judoka like Rousey. Her aggressiveness and willingness to push the pace also suits Rousey’s fantastic grappling skill-set as she is able to quickly get into her favorite position out of the clinch – the head lock. Correia will literally have to run away from Rousey and force it to stay standing with crisp, timely boxing and leg kicks while being cognizant of where she is located inside the octagon at all times so she doesn’t get cornered. If (and that’s a big if) Correia is able to utilize that gameplan for the FULL 5 rounds, then god bless her. Correia would be a true champion if she was able to pull that off. That likely won’t happen, and the two will most likely meet each other in the clinch at some point during the fight. From there, it’s all elementary.

Rousey via 1st round armbar

13 fights!!!! LOADED CARD!!!! Ronda Rousey! 50 year old men! Brazilians! What more do you want? Oh, another video? FINE.

As I say every time at the end of the articles, FOLLOW ME ALREADY!!!! @4000Pounds and don’t forget the DailyRoto regulars like….well, me! I guess that Dinky guy too.

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