It's time for some Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Two of Brazil's premiere Heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) grapplers will clash once again when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum meet in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 10, which set to go down at Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil, this Saturday night (June 8, 2013).
In addition to the rematch of that dates back to Pride FC in 2006, the international fight card will also feature the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut of former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante, who will battle Thiago Silva in the first fight for both since respective suspensions.
As with all FUEL TV cards, UFC's Facebook page will host a solid set of "Prelims" under card bouts, the first four of which we examined yesterday right here. Today, we breakdown the remaining three that will air live -- and for free -- on the social site via video stream before the live FUEL TV broadcast.
Let's get cracking:
135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Vaughan Lee
Since a 1-3 stretch at Featherweight, which was capped off by a vicious knockout loss to Erik Koch, Raphael Assuncao (19-4) has taken the Bantamweight division by storm, winning three straight in impressive fashion. Most recently, Assuncao scored an upset win over Mike Easton in Dec. 2012, handily outstriking "The Hulk" and denying his takedown attempts.
Reflecting his record, England’s Vaughan Lee (13-8-1) has been hit-and-miss in his UFC career, submitting "KID" Norifumi Yamamoto between losses to Chris Cariaso and T.J. Dillashaw. His last time out, he won a dull decision over Motonobu Tezuka, just the second decision victory of his career.
Of his 11 finishes, seven are by submission, the majority by way of choke.
Lee is certainly an entertaining fighter, but I see this as a step down for Assuncao, who has added solid striking and wrestling to an impressive jiu-jitsu game. Indeed, he has cemented his place as one of the top fighters in the division. And I would not be opposed to him facing Eddie Wineland for a crack at Renan Barao when the latter returns from injury.
Lee has solid striking and a very impressive offensive jiu-jitsu game, but his wrestling deficiencies and poor defensive grappling are going to cost him dearly against Assuncao. Cariaso had all sorts of success once he went on the offensive against Lee and Assuncao is fully capable of doing the same.
It should be entertaining while it lasts, but it will end with Lee tapping to an rear-naked choke after an ill-advised scramble attempt.
Prediction: Assuncao by second-round submission
185 lbs.: Ronny Markes vs. Derek Brunson
Victories over Paulo Filho, Karlos Vemola and Aaron Simpson had many excited for Ronny Markes (14-1) and his rise through the Middleweight ranks. Unfortunately for the Nova Uniao-trained fighter, the built-up goodwill evaporated in a hurry during his atrocious battle with Andrew Craig, the only exciting moments of which came when Craig battered a tiring Markes in the third only to drop a unanimous decision.
Four years younger than Derek Brunson (10-2), Markes is in the midst of a seven-fight win streak.
Entering the Octagon on a two-fight losing streak and being the comeback opponent for a fan-favorite generally bodes ill for one’s debut, but Brunson beat the odds by outgrappling Chris Leben for a unanimous decision win in his promotional reveal. Prior to that victory, he had lost a narrow decision to Kendall Grove before being put to sleep by "Jacare" Ronaldo Souza.
Brunson, who had previously won three straight fights in Strikeforce, has stopped seven opponents, five by punches.
This fight has the potential to be the absolute worst fight in modern UFC history. Markes has zero offense when he can’t take down his opponent and Brunson isn’t much better. Just thinking about this fight makes me angry that my associates drank all my rum, making it difficult for me to repress the eventual horrid memories.
In all likelihood, this is going to come down to whoever spends more time pressing the other against the fence. Based on it being Brazil, I’m leaning toward Markes.
Let us never speak of this again.
Prediction: Markes by unanimous decision
Chute Boxe’s Felipe Arantes (14-4) had the unenviable task of taking on Iuri Alcantara in his Octagon debut, but has bounced back with solid performances against Antonio Carvalho and Milton Vieira, winning a decision over the former and being screwed by an inexplicable 28-28 scorecard for a split draw against the latter. The loss to Alcantara is Arantes’ only defeat in his last 12 fights.
"Sertanejo" owns a submission win over former Jungle Fight champion John Lineker and has only been stopped by the aforementioned Jason.
After consecutive submission victories on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil," Godofredo Castro (9-1) of Team Vitor Belfrot faced the oft-mentioned Jason of Team Wandereli Silva on the Finale, losing a decision after failing to impose his powerful grappling game. "Pepey" bounced back with a highly controversial decision over Milton Vieira this past January, the first victory of his to go the distance.
All but one of Castro's stoppages have come inside the first round.
Arantes’ big weakness is that he starts slow -- he lost the first round of all three of his UFC bouts. Afterward, though, he is a very effective, well-rounded fighter who gave Alcantara a tougher fight than anyone not named Hacran Dias.
This fight hinges on whether or not Castro can capitalize on that poor opening round.
His striking is rough and his wrestling poor, but his guard game is sufficient to wreak havoc on Arantes. I’ve little doubt that Arantes will be forced to deal with it in the first five minutes.
That said, I think Arantes has what it takes to survive the submission onslaught and take control of the remaining 10 minutes, soundly outstriking Castro and steering clear of his guard pulls.
Prediction: Arantes by unanimous decision
UFC on Fuel TV 10 is a night that features truly elite heavyweights with truly elite jiu-jitsu skills. Not bad for a free card.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire card on fight afternoon (Sat., June 8, 2013), starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, as well as the main card, which is slated to air at 8 p.m. ET on FUEL TV.