This Saturday Night (February 15, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Viscardi Andrade and Nicholas Musoke will square off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 36 from Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
Both fighters recently made their UFC debuts with a splash. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil veteran Andrade finished Bristol Marunde with a first round technical knockout at UFC 163. He's won his last seven mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts.
Musoke scored an upset over Octagon veteran Alessio Sakara at UFC Fight Night 30, submitting "Legionarius" with a first round armbar. "Nico" is on a seven-fight unbeaten streak of his own.
With both of Andrade and Musoke proven finishers, this bout could be an under-the-radar candidate for "Fight of the Night." Let's take a look at the keys to victory for Andrade vs. Musoke:
Record: 17-5 overall, 1-0 UFC
Key Wins: Bristol Marunde (UFC 163)
Key Losses: Yuri Alcantara (Jungle Fight 19: Warriors), Charles Oliveira (Predador FC 9)
Record: 11-2-1(1) overall, 1-0 UFC
Key Wins: Alessio Sakara (UFC Fight Night 30)
Key Losses: None
Andrade is an extremely well rounded fighter who has spent his entire career fighting in his native Brazil. He's racked up five knockouts, six submissions, and six decision wins. With only two stoppage losses on his record, he's also extremely tough to finish.
He'll face a very tough opponent in Musoke. Andrade has finished his last three opponents with strikes, so expect him to come out looking to end this one early with a barrage a punches. If he can't accomplish that goal, he'll likely seek a dominant position on the ground to go for his lethal rear naked choke.
Musoke has a similarly well-balanced way of dispatching his opponents, but he goes to the judges' scorecards a bit less. In recent bouts, "Nico" has relied on his grappling more than his striking. With Andrade on a vicious streak of striking stoppages, expect that trend to continue at UFC Fight Night 36. Musoke should look to weather Andrade's initial storm and turn this bout into a grappling contest.
That's far from a guarantee of success, but at least Musoke will be more in his comfort zone. This is a match-up of two fighters who have mirroring skillsets and nearly identical win streaks, so every possible advantage will be crucial. It won't only be crucial in terms of picking up the win, but also in making an impression with the UFC brass. Welterweight is a tough division right now; going undefeated in your first two bouts looks great on the resume.
These fighters are motivated to make a name for themselves. A slugfest favors Andrade, while a submission battle tips the scales in Musoke's favor. Don't be surprised if these two both end up taking home a bonus check late on Saturday night.