UFC 142 preview: Rest of main card
Rousimar Palhares (13-3) vs. Mike Massenzio (13-5)
In middleweight action, the slick submission stylist "Toquinho" faces an overmatched adversary in Massenzio.
Palhares, 31, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, is coming off back-to-back wins over Dave Branch and Dan Miller.
Known to possess a lethal heel hook, the 2011 Abu Dhabi Combat Club silver medalist has been a quality middleweight contender since his debut at UFC 84 with wins over the likes of Jeremy Horn and Tomasz Drwal. Palhares' only losses in the UFC came against former title challengers Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt.
A product of Brazilian Top Team, Palhares is a physical powerhouse who prefers to dominate opponents on the canvas.
Massenzio, 29, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt himself, recently defeated Steve Cantwell by decision to keep his UFC career alive.
The Ironhorse MMA pupil is 3-4 in his last seven outings with losses against the likes of Danillo Villefort, C.B. Dollaway, Brian Stann and Krzysztof Soszynski.
The New Jersey native, a former national high-school wrestling champion, also is a capable grappler. But the 2006 NAGA champion could be in over his head if he plans to trade holds with the Brazilian submission virtuoso.
Palhares will live up to his reputation by targeting the legs and ankles of his opponent, eventually latching on to a painful submission that forces Massenzio to tap out in agony.
Verdict: Palhares via Submission, Round 2
Erick Silva (13-1) vs. Carlo Prater (29-10-1)
Brazilian welterweights will see action as a highly touted prospect meets a crafty veteran.
Silva, 27, made his UFC debut last August a memorable one as he knocked out Luis Ramos in just 40 seconds.
A black belt in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, the Team Nogueira member proved he also packs power in his punches, which makes him a well-oiled machine.
Prater, 30, is riding a four-fight winning streak into his UFC debut, but he's taking this fight on short notice against a higher caliber opponent.
Most hardcore fans will probably remember the Thugjitsu practitioner from his WEC tenure where he dropped fights against Carlos Condit and Brock Larson.
Like his opponent, Prater is an apt Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo specialist with a black belt and a brown belt, respectively.
The Sao Paulo native has been known to get caught in submissions, however, while Silva has yet to be finished in his mixed martial arts campaign.
Look for Silva to come out swinging for the fences before they get tangled up and the action spills over to the mat. If it becomes a grappling match, Silva will be more dangerous and he will likely find an opening for a fight-ending choke.
Verdict: Silva via Submission, Round 1
Edson Barboza (9-0) vs. Terry Etim (15-3)
In an intriguing lightweight matchup, the unbeaten Brazilian prodigy Barboza faces the most arduous test of his career against the well-rounded Brit Etim.
Barboza, 25, viciously dissected Mike Lullo with leg kicks in his November 2010 UFC debut before recording successive decision victories over Anthony Njokuani and Ross Pearson.
A product of the Armory, the muay thai black belt has numerous accolades as a striker, transitioning well from traditional muay thai and kickboxing to modern mixed martial arts.
Now based in Florida, the Rio de Janeiro native is looking to make a statement in his second UFC bout on Brazilian soil.
Etim, 26, returned from a year of inactivity as he nursed broken ribs, submitting Edward Faaloloto in just 17 seconds this past November.
The Liverpool native has been on the roster since April 2007, amassing quality wins over the likes of Sam Stout, Brian Cobb and Justin Buchholz, while dropping bouts against Gleison Tibau, Rich Clementi and Rafael dos Anjos.
Etim is dangerous anywhere the fight goes, while Barboza will rely primarily on his striking to control the action.
It should be a highly competitive fight that could go either way. Etim's edge in experience could be a difference maker as Barboza will have to cope with the pressure of competing in front of his hometown fans. After missing a full year, Etim is eager to re-establish himself as an elite lightweight. They will go back and forth for 15 minutes, exchanging dominant positions and heavy strikes. After it's all said and done, Etim should eke out a tight decision.
Verdict: Etim via Decision