UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes Preview and Predictions: Preliminary Fights

The Preliminary Fights!

Hello Maniacs, here is my preview of the upcoming preliminary fights at UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 14th, 2012. This is the second major mixed martial arts event and first UFC event of the new year. These fights should be appearing of FX the night of the pay per-view. I decided to add links to highlight vids of each fighter, I have to warn you: I didn't make these videos nor put the music on them... Proceed at your own risk.

*I know I'm writing a lot of these things, bear with me.

Featherweight bout: Felipe Arantes vs. Antonio Carvalho

Background: Arantes is 13-4 (2 NC) and Carvahlo is 13-4

-Felipe Arantes is 23 years old and was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil but fights out of New Jersey. He has been a professional since 2008 and is 7-1 (2 NC) is his last 10 fights. His decision loss against Yuri Alcantara last August at UFC 134 was his first since 2009, a fight he came in as a late replacement. He has 6 wins by (T)KO and 4 by submission; 76% of his wins are finishes. In total he's been to decision 6 times in 19 career fights. is a black belt in Muay Thai and a purple belt in BJJ. He is a wild but good striker and has developing/decent ground skills and ground and pound; a well rounded next generation fighter.

Youtube Video:

Felipe Sertanejo (Equipe Chute Boxe) - Highlight (via mdaluta)

Antonio Carvalho is 32 years old and was born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada. He has been fighting much longer than his opponent, making his debut back in 2002, however he is less active, fighting 2 or 3 times per year, sometimes only once. He has 6 wins via (T)KO and 3 by submission. He's been to decision a total of 6 times in his career. In his last 10 fights he is 6-4 with losses to UFC/ WEC/ PRIDE and Strikeforce vet Jeff Curran, and DREAM/ Strikeforce fighter Hiroyuki Takaya. In that time however, he defeated #2 Featherweight Hatsu Hioki by split decision in 2007. He is currently on a 3 fight winning streak and this is going to be his UFC debut. He has fought mostly in Canada and Japan and has never fought in Brazil before, so it will be interesting how he reacts to the location. He is a black belt in Shotokan Karate and likes to use it, mixing in fast kicks and punches, but he is capable on the ground as well, being a black belt in BJJ.

Youtube Video:

antonio carvalho highlight by KyokushinTruth (via KyokushinTruth)

My Pick: This has the makings of a very entertaining fight. By men like to kick and strike. Arantes is the more wild and explosive of the two and does more spinning kicks, flying knees and the like. Carvalho is more patient, throwing combinations. It's likely that Arantes is the faster of the two fighters, being 9 years younger than his opponent, and will use it to his advantage. Carvalho was able to survive the grappling attack of Hatsu Hioki, so don't expect Arantes to be shooting for take downs and submitting him. I'm gonna say speed kills, unless Carvalho slows it down and uses his (on paper) superior ground skills, Felipe Arantes by (T)KO in the 3rd.

Welterweight bout: Ricardo Funch vs. Mike Pyle

Background: Funch is 8-2 and Pyle is 21-8-1

-Ricardo Funch
is 31 years old and was born in Bahia, Brazil but now lives in Massachusetts. He has been fighting since 2006, and went undefeated until he met Johny Hendricks at UFC 107 in 2009. He then lost to Claude Patrick by guillotine at UFC 115 and he was released by the UFC. He as fought only once since that time and came out victorious over 6-3-1, Ryan Quinn on December 3rd. He is coming in as a late replacement for Paulo Thiago. Funch has 4 wins via (T)KO and 1 by submission, a 62% finishing rate. Funch is a black belt in BJJ under Marco Alvan.

Youtube video: Only 1 fight on youtube, taken by some dudes phone and it sucks.


-Mike Pyle is 36 years old and is a well known veteran of MMA, a professional since 1999 he's well known to many fans. He's fought in the Strikeforce, EliteXC, Affliction and held the WEC Welterweight Title, defending it once. He's been in the cage with many big names; he's lost to Quentin Jackson,(in his debut), Jake Shields, Jake Ellenberger, and Rory MacDonald. But he's defeated Jon Fitch, John Hathaway and Ricardo Almeida. He's been around the block, and his known for his submissions, with 16 wins via submission in 21 career wins. He has a finishing ratio of 85%. In his entire career, including the draw, he's only been to decision 5 times in 30 professional fights. He is 5-3 in his last 8, most recently being defeated by Rory MacDonald at UFC 133 by TKO. He is a brown belt in BJJ.

Youtube video:

Jake Shields vs. Mike Pyle (via jakeshieldsajj)

My Pick: I like Mike Pyle as a fighter, he always comes to fight and he defeated the previously undefeated John Hathaway. He as far more experience than Funch, and has fought better competition throughout his entire career. Funch may have the on paper grappling superiority, but Pyle has proven throughout his career how dangerous he is on the ground, and Funch is not Jake Shields. Mike Pyle takes down Funch and submits him.

Featherweight bout: Yuri Alcantara vs. Michihiro Omigawa

Background: Alcantara is 26-3 and Omigawa is 13-10-1

-Yuri Alcantara
is 31 years old and has been fighting since 2004, mostly in his native Brazil. He is a former Jungle Fights Lightweight Champion and has a great finishing percentage; 88% with 11 (T)KO's and 12 submissions. His last loss was in October of 2009, and since then he's gone 12 fights without a loss, including 1 in the UFC and 1 in the WEC. After a brutal schedule in 2010 with 8 fights, he fought only once in 2011. His competition hasn't been the best, but he is clearly someone to watch and at 31 years old he still has a lot of career left to go. His biggest win his over Ricardo Lamas at WEC 53. "Marjo" is a black belt in BJJ and a Muay Thai striker.

Youtube video:

Iuri Marajo x João Paulo - Iron Man 6 (via tarcisiopierre)

Michihiro Omigawa is 36 years old and was born in Ibaraki, Japan. He is 1999 gold medal winner in the Universiade Games in Judo, and a silver medalist in the 2001 Asian Championships. He is a veteran of PRIDE, Deep, Sengoku, and DREAM. A veteran since 2005, he's had a mixed career with periods of going winless, going 4-7-1 in his first 12 fights. Since dropping to featherweight, he's gone 9-4-1 with two of those losses coming in the UFC. He has fought many good competitors in the lightweight/featherweight divisions, with wins over Nam Phan, # 2 featherweight Hatsu Hioki, and WEC vet Miach Miller. But he has losses to Chan Sung Jung, Thiago Tavares, Matt Wiman and #1 contender Chad Mendes. He is a tremendously inconsistent fighter, who rebounded from two straight UFC losses wit ha victory over Jason Young at UFC 138. He has a lot more decisions than I would hope to see, going to decision 16 times in 24 career fights. He has a winning finish percentage of only 46%, with 4 TKO's and 2 submissions. He is a 3rd Dan black belt in Judo.

Youtube video:

Michihiro Omigawa - Highlight [HELLO JAPAN] (via HelloJapan05)

My Pick: This has the makings of being an exciting fight. Omigawa comes to fight, even with his less than stellar record he is still a fantastic fighter, Alcantara is rising force who needs to be looked at. Omigawa has fought much better competition than Alcantara, but clearly doesn't always have good results. It looks like a situation where the big fish has left the pond and arrived in the shark tank of the UFC, with Alcantara being the big fish in the metaphor. It's safe to say that Alcantara has hype behind him, and is riding a huge wave of momentum. Not long ago, Omigawa was on a 2 fight losing streak in the UFC and was looking the way of the cut. How much does the 36 year old Omigawa want to keep his job? Can he show why he was able to beat some of the best fighters in the world? Or will the home nation advantage, youth and confidence of Alcantara be too much? My heart says Omigawa, my head says Alcantara. Omigawa by split decision.

Heavyweight bout: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ednaldo Oliveira

Background: Gonzaga is 12-6 and Oliveira is 13-0-1(1 NC)

-Gabriel Gonzaga
is 32 years old and was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but now lives in Massachusetts. He is a longtime veteran, debuting in 2003. He spent five years in the UFC before going 1-3 in his last 4 fights in the organization. A one time title contender, Gonzaga forgot what got him into the UFC in the first place: his elite black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitstu. In all his wins he has finished his opponent, with 7 submissions and 5 (T)KO's, including his legendary head kick KO of Mirko Filiopvic. A very good striker, it's likely he would have had more success if he had used his BJJ skills, instead he's been KO'd 5 times in his last 9 fights.
With the exception of CroCop, Gonzaga hasn't always had success against top 10 fighters(CroCop was considered top 5 during their fight), with losses to Randy Couture, 2x Fabricio Werdum, Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos. He also has a loss to UFC vet Brendan Schaub. After taking nearly a year off from 2010 to 2011, Gonzaga fought and won his first victory in 2 years against unknown 5-3, Parker Porter. He was brought in as a replacement for injured Rob Broughton.

Youtube video:

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Branden Lee Hinkle (via victorggmartins)

Ednaldo Oliveira is 27 years old and was born in Brahia, Brazil. He is a tall heavyweight, standing 6'7"(2.01 m), but only weighs about 240lbs, not dissimilar to Stefan Struve a few years ago. He is a veteran of Jungle Fights in Brazil, and has finished 76% of his fights; 8 (T)KO's and 2 submissions. He made his debut in 2005 but this is his first fight with the UFC. His stand up is somewhat limited from the videos I've found online, powerful but rudimentary. This is a huge step up in competition for him, and it's very possible that the Octagon jitters may mess with his performance. He is a black belt in BJJ.

Youtube video:

Ednaldo Lula nocauteando Edson Conterraneo 2rd WFE Platinum 14/05/2011 (via ness2405)

Edinaldo Oliveira "Lula Molusco" x Geronimo dos Santos "Moondragon" - WFE Platinum (via tarcisiopierre)

My Pick: This is a weird situation, this maybe be one case where Gonzaga may want to keep it standing. It's ironic the biggest criticism I have of Gonzagas style may be his saving grace in this fight: His stand up. Both are black belts, so it's likely the battle on the ground will be amazing and fun to watch, but puts Gonzaga in a lot more danger than what he will be on he feet. Oliveira doesn't have the kickboxing skill/striking skill of anyone who's beaten Gonzaga on the feet. Because of Gonazagas extensive experience on the big stage, his superior stand up and probably better jiu jitsu game, he takes this fight over the rookie newcomer. Gonzaga by decision or TKO late.

Lightweight bout: Thiago Tavares vs. Sam Stout

Background: Tavares is 16-4-1 and Stout is 17-6-1

-Thiago Tavares
is 27 years old and was born in Florianopolis, Brazil(Kenny Florian's cult headquarters?). He has been a professional since 2003 and has fought in the UFC since 2007, going 6-4-1 in the promotion after going 10-0 outside of the UFC. He holds victories over Michihiro Omigawa, Manny Gamburyan, and Spence Fisher, but losses in the UFC to Tyson Griffin, Matt Wiman, Kurt Pellegrino, and Shane Roller have slowed his assent to the top of the division, despite 3 of them being Fight of the Night (FOTN) performances. He has a fantastic finishing record, 81% of his wins are by stoppage, including 11 by submission. Tavares is on somewhat of a rough patch, going 3-3-1 in his last 7. He is a black belt in BJJ and Muay Thai striker.

Youtube Video:


UFC - MMA - Combat - Thiago Tavares - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil - 2011 (via RiverdiesOfficial)

Sam Stout is 27 years old and was born in London, Ontario, Canada. He made his professional debut in 2003 and made his UFC debut in 2006. He likes to strike, and in 24 MMA fights hasn't been knocked out, he also has a 16-4 pro kickboxing record. He has 9 wins by KO/TKO, but 7 wins by decision. His finishing percentage is 58%. He has big wins over UFC vets Joe Lauzon, Matt Wiman, Yves Edwards, and Paul Taylor, but loses to Kenny Florian, Terry Etim and Jeremy Stephens. He is 1-1 with Spencer Fisher. Like his opponent, he has 3 Fight of the Night performances, and one Knockout of the Night award. Stout has some momentum behind him, going 4-3 in his last 7, winning 2 in a row, including his big KO of Yves Edwards.

Youtube Video:

Sam Stout Highlights (via Cantstopblack)

My Pick: With 6 FOTN performances between the two of them. Can we say this has the potential of being awesome? Yes, we can. We know Sam Stout is going to want to keep this on the feet, with him more than likely having the better striking. Tavares has good striking, but his ground skills exceed Stouts by a good margin. If he's smart, he'll get the fight down and look for submissions, (Stout has two losses via submission). Tavares however, may get sucked into a fast paced brawl that is a treat for us fans to watch. It being in Brazil will probably affect Tavares's judgment on whether or not to stick to his game plan, he'll wan to be exciting in front of his fellow Brazilians. I am thinking this fight goes to decision, I'm split on who wins, so I'm going to say Tavares by split decision.

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