The UFC holds its second event of the week Saturday night, this time with a high stakes light heavyweight bout that has middleweight title shot implications (which is slightly weird). In the main event, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson will fight for the second time, but with very different stakes in mind at this portion of their career.
Will Belfort hold onto his number one contender status? Does Henderson have it in him to stop his losing streak? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Saturday's fights.
What: UFC Fight Night 32: Belfort vs. Henderson
Where: Goiania Arena, Goiania, Brazil
When: Saturday, the five-fight Facebook card starts at 5:30 p.m. ET and the six-fight main card begins on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET.
I don't have a good reason on how this will go, especially with Henderson's back against the wall. If we have anything by which to make a judgment, however, it's momentum. Belfort has all of it and Henderson doesn't have much. We can amass all sorts of reasons for why that is, but such is the case. Henderson's offense is really narrow and not as dynamic as it once was. Belfort's has never been this varied. Henderson has looked languid and slow while Belfort has impeccable timing and movement. I have no doubts the H-Bomb can do the magic it always does if it lands, but something tells me Henderson is going to have a hard time finding a home for it.
Cezer Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian
Ferreira showed he can be startched at a moment's notice, but he's a moderately well-rounded fighter. Skills win fights, generally speaking, and I think he'll persevere here. Both he and Sarafian and strong finishers, but it's Sarafian that is looser with his defensive fundamentals standing and isn't likely to win against Mutante unless it's on the floor. Even there, it's no walk in the park. Sarafian is a bull and can run people over, but I bet Mutante will be able to use a variety of weapons to exploit Sarafian's weak gas tank en route to a unanimous decision.
Feijao is the heavy odds-on favorite here, but I'm not overly optimistic about his chances. Typically when Pokrajac loses, he's either submitted or it goes to a decision. Cavalcante can win this in any number of different methods, but his loss against Thiago Silva was less than inspiring. If Feijao can't put him away early, can he really hold on for three rounds? I'm going to say he'll find a way to get it done, but I have my doubts.
A firecracker like Thatch, for all the impurities in his game, is a bad match-up for a fighter like Thiago who either gets caught looking or finds himself reacting to his opponent's offense. Thatch has a long way to go and while the bloom is off the rose for Thiago, he's still servicable for A-level prospects like Thatch. He'll make a few mistakes along the way, but expect the American to mix up his game enough to get Thiago reacting more than attacking. Once that happens, he'll pour it on.
Santiago Ponzonibbio vs. Ryan LaFlare
The Argentine is going to shine here and the match was set up for him to do so. I suspect it'll end standing with strikes from the clinch, but whatever the case, it is written.
Jason is the favorite in this fight, which I find baffling. Jason is defensively sloppy and while Stephens is vulnerable to a qualified grappler like the Braziian, Stephens shouldn't have too much issue stuffing the takedown while busting him up standing.
From the preliminary card: