Do you want to be a f***ing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title contender?
After four dominant victories in the Octagon and a 19-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) win streak that dates back to 2006, Glover Teixeira is ready to claim his place among the Light Heavyweight division's elite. Standing in his way is Ryan Bader, winner of three of his last four since consecutive losses to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz.
Teixeira and Bader will duke it out in the main event of UFC Fight Night 28, the promotion's third show on FOX Sports 1, this Wednesday night (Sept. 4, 2013) at Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
In addition, former Strikeforce champion and Brazilian jiu-jitsu demigod Ronaldo Souza will attempt to take out one of the finest spoilers in the UFC, Japan's Yushin Okami, who is fresh off a pair of upsets over Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard.
Due to some injury troubles, there are just five "Prelims" under card bouts this time around. The first match will stream on Facebook and the remainder will air on FOX Sports 1.
We take a look at the first three UFC Fight Night 28 "Prelims" below
185 lbs.: Joao Zeferino vs. Elias Silverio
A lack of prep time cost Joao Zeferino (13-5) dearly in his Octagon debut opposite Rafael Natal, finding early success, but ultimately losing steam for a decision loss. The defeat snapped a seven-fight win streak that dated back to 2011, his first fight back after a two-year absence from the sport.
Of the five career defeats for "The Brazilian Samurai," three came in his first four fights, making him 12-2 since then.
Elias Silverio (8-0), the undefeated Jungle Fight welterweight champion, might already be on his way to the UFC brass’s good side, replacing Kenny Robertson on short notice less than a month ago. After debuting in 2011, Silverio has competed in his native Brazil in all but one of his fights, winning a split decision in Ring of Combat this past January. In addition to the aforementioned weight discrepancy, he will give up two inches of height to Zeferino.
Silverio is a solid fighter with some strong hips, but I haven’t seen anything out of him to make me pick against the size disadvantage. Zeferino is a powerful grappler who, with a full training camp, should be able to put more pressure on Silverio than anyone in his short career ever has. Further, while a competent striker, Elias is not a great finisher, five of his eight wins coming via submission.
In short, I do not believe Silverio is capable of overcoming an opponent with the size and skillset of Zeferino. So long as his fading against "Sapo" was a product of the short notice, I see Zeferino overpowering Silverio before eventually locking up a second-round arm-triangle.
Prediction: Zeferino by second-round submission
170 lbs.: Keith Wisniewski vs. Ivan Jorge
After a string of five consecutive losses from 2005 to 2007, the experienced Keith Wisniewski (28-14-1) earned his way back to the Octagon with six consecutive victories, including a rear-naked choke of veteran Pete Spratt. He has so far been unable to capitalize on that momentum, getting sliced and diced by Josh Neer’s elbows before losing a narrow split decision to Canadian striker Chris Clements.
Two inches taller than Ivan Jorge (24-3), "Polish Connection" originally made his pro debut in April of 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured veterans in the organization.
The man they call "Batman" may not be the hero the UFC needs, but he’s treated the Brazilian circuit like his own personal Gotham, winning 10 of his last 11 appearances, all by submission. Like Silverio, Jorge is a Jungle Fight champion, the current holder of its Lightweight title.
Jorge, stepping in on short notice for Marcelo Guimaraes with less than one month’s notice.
Picking an underweight short-notice replacement with quite a few soft wins on his resume in his UFC debut may seem crazy, but I have been thoroughly unimpressed by what I’ve seen out of Keith. Watching him repeatedly trundle into the clinch against Neer, get decimated by elbows, and continue pressing forward made me think of someone repeatedly putting his hand on a hot stove; it’s a level of terrible fight IQ that I didn’t even know existed.
Plus, 43 fights and more than a year out of the cage do little to bolster my confidence.
Jorge may have been beating up the Calendar Mans and Ventriloquists of his personal rogue’s gallery so far, but Wisniewski is not an A-list baddie. Jorge’s powerful takedown and top control games should work wonders here as he constantly threatens with the rear-naked choke he’s finished his last four fights with. Wisniewski’s experience will keep him from succumbing to Jorge’s submission attack, but fifteen minutes on the bottom and a trip to the judges will look the same on his record.
Prediction: Jorge by unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Yuri Villefort vs. Sean Spencer
The younger of the two Villefort brothers, Yuri Villefort (6-2) impressed mightily in his first six fights before, after almost two years away from the sport, finally making his Strikeforce debut in May of 2012. Unfortunately, he had little answer for fellow prospect Quinn Mulhern’s wrestling, dropping a split decision, and was also unsuccessful in his UFC debut against Nah-Shon Burrell.
Villefort, 22, is one of the youngest in the organization, will enjoy two inches of height on Sean Spencer (9-2).
Despite the prospect of going up against someone fifteen pounds larger, Spencer was ready and willing when Joe Silva gave him the call to face Rafael Natal this past January. Sadly, he couldn’t quite get the "able" part down, tapping to the larger man’s arm-triangle in the third round.
Spencer had previously won three straight, racking up a win in both Bellator and Legacy Fighting Championships.
It’s difficult to know how much stock to put into Spencer’s last performance, as we can’t really tell by sight how much of that domination was vulnerability to strong jiu-jitsu or vulnerability to general hugeness. He does, however, have a loss via triangle to the currently 2-3 Ali Hanjani four fights ago, so Villefort’s chances are looking good.
I have spoken out about the deficiencies of the "good striking, good off your back" model of fighting that fighters like the Villeforts use and I believe his lack of wrestling will keep Yuri from achieving his potential, but that skillset should be sufficient here. Spencer is not the striker Nah-Shon Burrell is, and while he can wrestle well, I am not convinced that he’s safe from Villefort’s highly-aggressive submission attack. Whether from the top or bottom, I see Villefort locking up a fight-ending submission in the early going, picking up his first victory in more than three years.
Prediction: Villefort by first-round submission
As always, all you have to do to learn more about the remaining UFC Fight Night 28 "Prelims" is come back here tomorrow at the same time and we'll have the goods.
See you then.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 28 card on fight night (Weds., Sept. 4, 2013), starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under- and main-card bouts at 5 and 7 p.m. ET, respectively.