RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 14: Felipe Arantes celebrates after defeating Antonio Carvalho in a featherweight bout during UFC 142 at HSBC Arena on January 14, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images / UFC.com.)
Math Teacher vs. The Axe Murderer, take two.
No, it's not the latest desecration of the "Friday the 13th" franchise. It's the UFC 147 main event, which takes place this Saturday night (June 23, 2012), featuring the unlikely rematch between Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva.
In addition to the 195-pound catchweight clash and bouts featuring Fabricio Werdum and Brazilian prospects Iuri Alcantara and Hacran Dias, the injury-plagued mixed martial arts (MMA) event from the Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, will also serve as a finale for the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil."
But, before we can hear all that noise on pay-per-view (PPV) we've got a half-dozen "Prelims" in store, four of which will air on FX and two through the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Facebook page.
Check out part one of our UFC 147 "Prelims" breakdown after the jump:
185 lbs.: Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo vs. Leonardo Mafra Texeira
Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo, who normally fights at 205 pounds, has six knockouts to his credit, but it was his impressive grappling assault that carried him to victory on TUF: "Brazil," crumpling Joao Paulo De Souza and Francisco Drinaldo with powerful ground-and-pound. His aggression proved fruitless, however, in the face of Cezar "Mutante’s" height advantage, finding himself on the wrong end of the "Knockout of the Season" in the form of a brutal left high kick.
While he put on one hell of a scrap in the qualifying rounds, one that had both coaches and Dana White on their feet, expectations weren’t high for Leonardo Mafra Texeira, who was Team Wanderlei’s last pick. Things looked grim when he was paired off against Team Vitor’s top pick, Cezar "Mutante," but the undersized "Macarrao" gave him everything he could handle, taking a round with his madcap aggression before finally being dragged down and guillotined. He’s demonstrated both heart for miles and a concrete chin, sure to make him a fan-favorite in the world’s largest MMA organization.
While I don't care for Leonard Garcia, as outlined in my last preview, I like "Macarrao" a lot. Even though he isn’t technical, he did an excellent job of using controlled bursts of aggression to shut down "Mutante’s" attacks in the early going and, despite an unbelievable size disadvantage, managed to stay on his feet throughout the entirety of the first round.
The thing is, I just don’t think he’s anywhere near as talented as Perpetuo, much less far enough above him to negate his huge weight disadvantage.
These guys, if I’m not mistaken, are effectively two weightclasses apart. While Leonardo kept "Mutante" at bay, Perpetuo won’t just wander in occasionally with weak takedown attempts -- he will bully "Macarrao." And I don’t see the latter staying on his feet for long before falling pretty to Perpetuo’s brutal ground-and-pound.
I sincerely hope Dana White gives "Macarrao" another shot, hopefully at 170, but I don’t see him winning this one. He’s tough enough to avoid being knockout victim number seven, but it won’t be a pleasant night as "Bodao" steadily flattens him from top position.
Prediction: Perpetuo via unanimous decision
Wagner Campos (11-3), who usually fights at 135 pounds, just never really got going in the house. Team Wanderlei’s last Featherweight pick, "Galeto" had one of the least-engrossing qualifying matches and offered Godofredo "Pepey" very little in their quarterfinal clash.
While his 100 percent stoppage rate and crushing knockout of Pedro Nobre in the qualifiers had fans drooling, Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini (19-3-1) never got going, either. Matched up against Team Vitor’s top featherweight, Hugo Viana, "Vina" found himself outgunned badly, and had no answer for "Pepey’s" grappling assault. Considering that one of the men who beat him is a finalist and the other I consider the number two featherweight talent from the show, though, it remains to be seen just how legitimate his impressive record is.
While "Vina" struck me as somewhat of a disappointment, I’m still not convinced that Campos is any good at all. He has no high-quality wins on his ledger, and despite "Pepey’s" effective lack of any striking ability whatsoever, still found himself beaten wherever the fight went. He hasn’t demonstrated any outstanding skills besides above-average takedown defense, which won’t matter a lick when "Vina" is so far ahead in the striking department.
I want to believe that "Vina" isn’t a Jason Reinhardt. He didn’t look terrible against Viana, but he didn’t look like how I expected him too. I firmly hope he’ll match my original expectations on the big stage, but even if he doesn’t, what I’ve seen is more than enough to handle "Galeto." Expect him to tear Campos apart from the clinch with his size advantage before a knee upstairs brings him crashing down.
Predicition: Borges Pancini via first-round technical knockout
145 lbs.: Milton Vieira vs. Felipe Arantes
While the name may not be familiar, Milton Vieira (13-7-1) has had a huge impact on the world of MMA: He is the inventor of the Anaconda choke. And while his record may not look that good on paper, there are several factors worth noting: "Miltinho" has never been stopped and has fought the likes of Jake Shields and Hayato Sakurai.
Vieira fights out of Brazilian Top Team alongside the likes of Rousimar Palhares and owns a black belt in both Luta Livre and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Chute Boxe may not be the powerhouse it used to be, but Felipe Arantes (14-4) is proof that it hasn’t faded away quite yet. "Sertanejo" has won eight of his last 10, with a no-contest to Andy Main and a decision loss to Iura Alcantara comprising the other two. Arantes most recently defeated Antonio Carvalho at UFC 142.
While Vieira has a fairly deceiving record and solid takedowns, there are just too many red flags for me to pick him to win. For one, he hasn’t fought in 10 months, when he beat Sterling Ford in Strikeforce. In addition, he’s making his UFC debut against a two-fight veteran of the organization who has demonstrated incredible upside.
True, both Alcantara and Carvalho had Arantes in a bad way, and Vieira most likely has the skills to finish him if it comes to that, but the aforementioned concerns make me think it won’t. I expect Arantes to employ sprawl-and-brawl tactics to wear down Arantes and light him up standing for 15 minutes, though I doubt a finish is in order.
Prediction: Arantes via unanimous decision
That's all for now, Maniacs. Be sure to check back tomorrow for a look at the remaining three UFC 147 "Prelims."
See you then.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC 147, beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 6:45 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the evening this upcoming Saturday night.