Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Whatever one thinks of the pay-per-view purchase worthiness of this card, there's no denying there are some very good fights on it. And it is something of an important milestone. The UFC is planting roots in what is the fastest growing economy in the Western Hemisphere. This show is the first fruits of their labor, resources and initiatives. Maybe North American pay-per-view customers aren't lining up to fork over their disposable income, but it'd be irresponsible to not recognize the growth of the sport in Brazil in large part because of the UFC's push.
And on this card we get one good heavyweight fight, a catchweight bout that should at least be entertaining, the finals of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brasil and a new Nova Uniao product. Who will come out the victor? I try to answer that with these predictions for UFC 147.
The only x-factor here for me is the length of the bout. Silva's going to be hard to put away if Franklin is trying to circle out and keep distance. That gives Silva the opportunity to do what he did in the Le fight: get beat up for most of the bout only to come back and score one Silva-Smash at the very end. I don't see that as particularly likely, but I certainly can't rule it out either. In the clinch, Franklin will get crushed, but if he can keep his distance or get on top after a takedown without eating a ton of damage, 'Ace' should walk away from Brazil a winner.
Russow had no problems getting in the guard of decorated jiu-jitsu champion Jon Olav Einemo's guard. I wonder if he'll use the same strategy against Werdum. There's a couple of problems with the strategy this time if Russow goes in that direction. For starters, Werdum likely won't gas as Einemo did. I also think Werdum's guard is a little bit more disruptive, hunting for submissions and to off balance opposition equally. Russow is definitely a dark horse candidate for an upset, but I just don't see him having his way with Werdum the way he needs to to win.
Moraes is the significantly more decorated jiu-jitsu player of the two and even won one of his bouts on the reality show by submission from the 50/50 guard. That's rare and that's talent. But there's two problems. First, Ferreira is a black belt himself and quite capable on the ground. Second, Moraes is coming off a bad knockout loss to Daniel Sarafian. It didn't happen last week, but that's still a tough rebound. There might be a few tense moments, but this should go to the Team Belfort product.
Godofredo Casto vs. Rony Mariano Bezerra
Two fighters with reasonably similar skill sets and strong submission ability. Bezerra, though, has looked impressive enough on the reality show and is probably the more aggressive of the two. That should probably be enough.
Dias should be able to do what he's done in many bouts in his career: get the takedown and hold position on top. He might get a submission or a TKO stoppage, but I'd say a decision is more likely. It also may not be the prettiest fight, but Dias is dominant when he fights the way he prefers.
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