UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi Crystal Ball Predictions
FEB 12, 2014 3:45p ET
Now that the unexpected disappointment and vitriol that followed UFC 169 has died down, it’s time to get back to business.
While the annual Super Bowl Saturday event was short on finishes, it was a great night from a predictions standpoint, as your friendly neighborhood fight-picker posted an 8-4 mark, which included going 4-1 on the main card.
Decisions or not, being right two-thirds of the time is great. Now let’s just hope that run of success continues after a week off.
Here are the UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi Crystal Ball Predictions.
Lyoto Machida (20-4) vs. Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)
Mousasi is a tremendous talent and someone that can be a contender in the middleweight division (or light heavyweight division if he opts to fight there again later), but coming back off knee surgery to topple Machida is asking too much.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion looked amazing in his middleweight debut against Mark Munoz, knocking out “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” with a head kick midway through the opening round. Machida didn’t lose any speed moving down in weight, and packs a little more power than he did fighting at 205 pounds, which, combined with his hard-to-hit counter-striking approach, makes him a serious threat to both the returning Mousasi and everyone else in the middleweight ranks.
This will be a classic Machida performance with plenty of movement, a low output of strikes, but a high level of efficiency as he frustrates Mousasi for five rounds, working the stick-and-move style to secure a unanimous decision win.
Prediction: Lyoto Machida by Unanimous Decision
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (19-3) vs. Francis Carmont (22-7)
Carmont carries the lengthier winning streak into this second pivotal middleweight match-up, having won 11 straight to Souza’s five, but it is the former Strikeforce champion that should emerge victorious.
2013 was The Year of the Middleweights, as Chris Weidman rose to the top of the division with a pair of wins over Anderson Silva, and Vitor Belfort solidified his place as the No. 1 contender with a three-pack of head kick knockouts that each brought “The Phenom” a Knockout of the Night bonus.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle was Jacare’s three-fight winning streak, which started in Strikeforce and continued in his first two UFC appearances. All three bouts ended in the first round, with the standout grappler showing improved power and continued development by knocking out former title challenger Yushin Okami last time out.
Simply put, Souza is on a different level than Carmont, and that will show as the Brazilian picks up his third straight UFC victory, tapping out the Frenchman midway through the co-main event.
Prediction: Ronaldo Souza by Submission, Round 2.
Erick Silva (15-4) vs. Takenori Sato (17-8-7)
Silva has struggled in his climb up the welterweight ladder, dropping two of his last three as he started facing stiffer competition after beginning his UFC career with three impressive performances.
He should right the ship and get back into the win column in this match-up with Sato, the former middleweight and welterweight King of Pancrase who makes his UFC debut in hostile territory.
While Sato hasn’t lost in nearly four years, he hasn’t exactly been facing elite competition either. Silva is an aggressive, offensive fighter, and though that has cost him at times, it should work to his advantage here. Look for the former prospect to swarm Sato early, connecting with heavy strikes to end the contest early in the first.
Prediction: Erick Silva by TKO, Round 1.
Viscardi Andrade (17-5) vs. Nicholas Musoke (11-2)
Andrade enters riding a seven-fight winning streak, including a first-round knockout win over Bristol Marunde last time out, while Musoke drops down to welterweight after earning a first-round submission win over veteran middleweight Alessio Sakara in his short-notice UFC debut back in October.
While Andrade has “home court advantage,” Musoke showed a great deal of poise and confidence in tapping out Sakara last time, and with a full training camp under his belt, should be able to post a second consecutive UFC victory here.
Prediction: Nicholas Musoke by Unanimous Decision.
Zubair Tuhugov (15-3) vs. Douglas de Andrade (22-0)
Originally scheduled to get a stern test from promotional mainstay Thiago Tavares in his UFC debut, Tuhugov now meets the 28-year-old de Andrade, as Tavares was forced to withdraw from the bout in the middle of last week.
Don’t get fooled by de Andrade’s impressive record—most of the guys he’s faced have losing records, with his last five opponents sporting a combined 26-21-1 mark in their careers. While you can only beat the guy they put in front of you, at some point you’d like to see an unbeaten fighter like de Andrade ask for more proven opposition.
But it doesn’t really matter because he’s not going to be undefeated for very much longer.
With polished striking and a background in Combat Sambo, Tuhugov has the potential to be a handful for many in the 145-pound division even with the benefit of a full training camp, and though it’s admirable that de Andrade stepped up on eight day’s notice, the best he can hope for in this one is a moral victory.
Prediction: Zubair Tuhugov by Unanimous Decision
Charles Oliveira (16-4) vs. Andy Ogle (9-3)
Like Erick Silva, this is a make-or-break fight for Oliveira, who started his career with a 14-0 mark before struggling to find consistency across two divisions in the UFC. Fortunately for the 24-year-old Brazilian, he should be able to halt his losing streak in this one.
Ogle is a solid young fighter who is getting a bit of a baptism by fire in the UFC. He’s acquitted himself well in three appearances following his time on Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter, but the Team Kaobon representative doesn’t quite have the experience or all-around skill set to work beyond the middle tier of the featherweight ranks.
Despite consecutive losses, Oliveira does still have that potential, as he had his moments during his UFC 162 loss to Frankie Edgar last July. His size and speed will be a factor here, and once he gets Ogle on the ground, look for “Do Bronx” to do work, tapping out the Ultimate Fighter alum to earn the victory.
Prediction: Charles Oliveira by Submission, Round 2.
Cristiano Marcello (13-5) vs. Joe Proctor (8-2)
Fighting for the first time in over a year, Proctor has a tough comeback assignment, heading to Brazil to take on fellow TUF: Live cast member Marcello, a wildly popular Brazilian veteran whose only UFC win to date is widely considered to be the result of a favorable hometown decision.
But the outcome shouldn’t be in question, even if this one does go to the scorecards. Marcello is wild and fights with his head straight up, which should afford Proctor the openings he needs to land with heavy hands and wear him down.
Going to the ground with Marcello is a dangerous proposition, so don’t be surprised if the Bridgewater, Massachusetts native opts to do a little headhunting instead.
Prediction: Joe Proctor by TKO, Round 2.
Rodrigo Damm (11-6) vs. Ivan Jorge (25-3)
In this battle of Brazilians, Jorge moves back down the scale to lightweight after winning his UFC debut against Keith Wisniewski at welterweight. The 33-year-old veteran seven straight and 11 of his last 12, while Damm enters of a split decision win over Mizuto Hirota, but has failed to put together consecutive victories while going 2-4 over the last five years.
Jorge should be able to use his superior size and strength to control Damm in this one, and he also boasts greater power should this turn into a kickboxing match. The only way Damm can edge this out is by employing a stick-and-move approach, but that’s not something he’s been wont to do in the past, and likely won’t happen here.
Prediction: Ivan Jorge by Unanimous Decision.
Francisco Trinaldo (13-3) vs. Jesse Ronson (13-3)
This one hinges on whether or not Ronson, who looked incredibly flat and uninspired in losing his UFC debut last September, can survive to the point where Trinaldo’s questionable gas tank hits empty.
Bank on the Canadian doing just that.
Though Michael Prazeres dragged him to the ground repeatedly in the first two rounds of their UFC 165 encounter, Ronson managed to hang tough and win the final round on all three scorecards, a moral victory of sorts for the Adrenaline Training Centre product. And while Trinaldo will look to duplicate the effort, he’s not as strong a grappler as Prazeres, and his conditioning is suspect.
Look for Ronson to get off early with his strikes, make Trinaldo work hard in the clinch, and pour it on late to earn his first UFC win.
Prediction: Jesse Ronson by TKO, Round 3.
Iuri Alcantara (28-5) vs. Wilson Reis (17-4)
Alcantara fights for the first time since losing to Urijah Faber last summer on the inaugural fight card on FOX Sports 1, while Reis looks to make it two-in-a-row in the UFC following his debut win over Ivan Menjivar back in September.
Though he it wasn’t the most action-packed performance, Reis did a good job of using his grappling to control Menjivar on the ground at UFC 165, and given that Alcantara has struggled against superior wrestlers inside the Octagon, he should be able to do the same against here.
Prediction: Wilson Reis by Unanimous Decision
Felipe Arantes (15-6-1) vs. Maximo Blanco (9-5-1)
Blanco was once considered a major prospect, but he’s struggled mightily between Strikeforce and the UFC, posting a combined 1-3 record, including being disqualified last time out for blasting Akira Corassani with an illegal knee.
Arantes has had trouble finding consistency in the Octagon as well, going 2-2-1 in his five appearances. What makes this so difficult to pick is that Blanco still shows potential—he swarmed Corassani to start their fight back in November, but shows horrible Fight IQ, leading to the aforementioned illegal knee.
If he’s the attacking, aggressive fighter that crashed across the cage last time out, Blanco should win handily. Here’s hoping that’s the guy that shows up.
Prediction: Maximo Blanco by TKO, Round 1.
Ildemar Alcantara (19-6) vs. Albert Tumenov (12-1)
While it’s rare that foreign fighters make the trip to Brazil and absolutely house a homegrown talent, this will be one of those rare exceptions.
Tumenov is a promising 22-year-old prospect with an impressive string of first-round finishes on the go heading into his UFC debut. While he hasn’t face much in the way of serious competition as of yet, Alcantara is a save lower tier starting point for the Russian newcomer who should extend his winning streak to eight in this one.
Prediction: Albert Tumenov by TKO, Round 1.