This Sunday night (March 23, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Michel Prazeres and Mairbek Taisumov will square off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 38, airing live on FOX Sports 1 from Ginasio Nelio Dias in Natal, Brazil.
Prazeres recently picked up his first UFC win with a split decision over Jesse Ronson at UFC 165. Prior to that, he sustained the only loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career at last year's UFC on FX 8, dropping his Octagon debut to longtime vet Paulo Thiago.
Austrian Taisumov made his promotional debut earlier this year, winning a decision over Tae Hyun Bang at UFC Fight Night 34 in January. He'll make an incredibly quick turnaround to face the dangerous Prazeres.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for Prazeres vs. Taisumov:
Record: 17-1 overall, 1-1 UFC
Key Wins: Jesse Ronson (UFC 165)
Key Losses: Paulo Thiago (UFC on FX 8)
Record: 21-4 overall, 1-0 UFC
Key Wins: Tae Hyun Bang (UFC Fight Night 34)
Key Losses: None
With eight submissions wins and only one knockout on his MMA record, it's safe to say Prazeres is a grappling specialist. He'll be looking to get this fight to the ground and neutralize Taisumov's sizeable striking abilities, but he can't sleep on "Beckan," either. Taisumov has nine submissions of his own and should be a force anywhere the fight goes.
That gives him an edge over Prazeres. Taisumov has the option of keeping this fight standing or going to the ground, but if he's smart, he'll look to pick apart Prazeres on the feet. Prazeres has won eight decisions, but Taisumov has only one victory from the judges' scorecards.
That should mean a grinding affair favors Prazeres while a faster paced match leans towards a Taisumov victory. Prazeres will have the benefit of his home Brazilian fans behind him, but Taisumov has proven to be a stone cold killer in the cage.
With precious little Octagon experience between them, this bout could be an unpredictable one. However, expect Taisumov to be the fresher and more complete fighter of the two, giving him a small edge in Natal.
Michel Prazeres and Mairbek Taisumov have a chance to keep their UFC momentum rolling at UFC Fight Night 38. While both are lethal finishers on the mat, it's Taisumov's power striking that could make the difference here. If Prazeres struggles to find a dominant position on the ground, it's going to be a long night for him.
Final Prediction: Taisumov def. Prazeres via unanimous decision