The UFC is back in Brazil and this time with all-time great Mauricio Rua in the headlining role. The card has suffered from injuries and last-second withdrawals. The co-main event between Ian McCall and John Lineker was scrapped after Friday's weigh-ins. Rua was originally set to face Jimi Manuwa, but Manuwa was forced out late due to injury.
What: UFC Fight Night 56
Where: Ginásio Municipal Tancredo Neves, Uberlandia, Brazil
When: Saturday, the five-fight Fox Sports 2 preliminary card starts at 8 p.m. and the five-fight Fox Sports 1 card kicks off 10 p.m.
Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince St. Preux
I hate to be that guy who points to what sort of Shogun shows up as the determining factor in his fights, so I won't. Instead, I'll focus on what the Brazilian has over the American, which is considerable. Aside from big game experience, he has a mobile guard, punishing clinch, thudding ground and pound and huge forward pressure standing. OSP might have better takedowns, but I just don't see him being able to get comfortable against the aggression of Shogun.
I like the Jacare-protege to do what Jacare does. Use well-timed, athletic takedowns into top control where a series of submission attempts or, more likely, ground and pound forces Jouban into the kind of error he can't recover from.
Claudio Silva vs. Leon Edwards
The Brit has his work cut out for him a) making his UFC debut and b) doing so in Brazil. Still, his ability to strike is leagues above Silva and while wrestling is hardly his strong suit, if it works, Silva is sunk. The Brazilian's submissions are great, but doesn't have much else to go on.
Dhiego Lima vs. Jorge de Oliveira
De Oliveira might be a tough customer and Lima has his issues with not applying pressure in ways he should, but the ultra-late notice of de Oliveira is impossible to overlook. Lima has to royally screw up to lose this.
I'm just a bit underwhelmed by Lima. I like Ansaroff to absorb being controlled early only to hang on long enough to make a comeback. Ansaroff can strike in the middle of the cage. Her issue is going to be finding a way to put it there. Lima is formidable early, but can fade under counter pressure. This is a very winnable fight.
From the preliminary card: