UFC is back on FOX Sports 1 with a six-fight main card that starts at 10 p.m. ET, because f--k your Saturday night plans, men want to kick the crap out of each other for a few hours after dark.
Deal with DVR it!
UFC Fight Night 40 welcomes Matt Brown back to the cage after an extended injury absence. Prior to his departure, "The Immortal" was living up to his nickname, making a mockery of the mid card and positioning himself for bigger and better things.
Erick Silva was probably not what he had in mind.
"Indio" has struggled since making his Octagon debut, but the UFC brass believe he's got the chops to be a contender in this division. They're not the only ones, either, as the bookies have the Brazilian as a 2-to-1 favorite, despite his recent inconsistency.
Someone will get the last laugh tomorrow night in Cincy.
Speaking of things that are funny, the remaining five fights on the FOX Sports 1 main card are populated with promising up-and-comers, as well as established veterans. Pretty much what you would expect to find on free television in between numbered pay-per-view (PPV) events.
Let's take a closer look.
170 lbs.: Matt "The Immortal" Brown (18-11) vs. Erick "Indio" Silva (16-4)
Nostradumbass predicts: Matt Brown has done a good job of kicking the shit out of the middle of the pack. Naturally, critics will point out that he's looked "Immortal" against ho-hum competition. While that may be true, you can't punish a fighter for matchmaking.
Nor can you reward him for it.
That's leaves us in a unique spot for this fight. Whether or not you believe Brown wins largely depends on whether or not you rank Erick Silva alongside names like Jordan Mein and Mike Pyle. We know what the bookies think, pegging the Brazilian a 2-to-1 favorite, but is that hype?
Or real life?
When in doubt, I try to strip away the outer layers and look at this contest for what it is. Two fighters with the potential to be great, but who still have some work to do in order to prove it. On paper, I immediately side with Silva, because Brown is coming off a nine-month layoff, during which "Indio" competed twice.
On the flip side, Silva has been known to gas out, while Brown has a Sonnen-esque track record of tapping out.
What intrigues me about this fight is the aggression factor. Brown loves to come in like a bulldozer and just hulk-smash his way to the win column. But we've seen Silva be just as ruthless. In a straight-up firefight, I would lean toward the "Immortal" puncher, but I think this is the bout where the Brazilian finally wises up and fights to win.
That's going to be bad news for Brown, who gets a little too hasty in the exchanges, and pays for it with a submission.
Final prediction: Silva def. Brown via submission
185 lbs.: Lorenz "The Monsoon" Larkin (14-2) vs. Constantinos "Costas" Philippou (12-4)
Nostradumbass predicts: I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that neither of these guys is interested in the ground game, since they have just one submission finish in a combined 34 professional MMA fights. That makes me wonder why they even bother with MMA in the first place, instead of just going into boxing or kickboxing.
Philippou is actually a former pugilist himself, so perhaps that answers my question. To be successful in the "sweet science," you need to have great hands. To be successful in MMA, you need to have okay hands, because the gloves are small and most guys have sloppy defense.
We last saw "Costas" doubled over and gasping for air after Luke Rockhold annihilated him with a kick to the body. It was his second straight loss after a nice string of five-straight wins. Coming up short in Cincinnati could be the end of his run under the ZUFFA banner, since he's only in it for the money.
Not that it has been all wine and roses for Larkin, who hasn't been able to win consecutive fights since working the local talent under the Strikeforce: "Challengers" banner. He's got serviceable hands and good athleticism, but the loss to Brad Tavares was telling.
This is a toss up.
Unless someone decides to go off script and take things south, these guys will probably slug it out for 15 minutes in a forgettable affair. I'm leaning toward Philippou in the exchanges, but I wouldn't call this a confident pick by any stretch of the imagination.
Final prediction: Philippou def. Larkin via split decision
155 lbs.: Daron "Detroit Superstar" Cruickshank (14-4) vs. Erik "New Breed" Koch (14-3)
Nostradumbass predicts: Some of the awful things Erik Koch had to do to make the featherweight limit is probably better left unsaid, but it's no secret that nearly dying before each fight will take a little something out of you when it comes time to throw down.
And roasting in a tanning bed for six straight weeks certainly wasn't helping.
Now that "New Breed" can relax and make an easy cut to lightweight, he's likely to be able to live up to some of that potential. We saw what he was capable of against Rafaello Oliveira and I expect more of the same tomorrow night against Daron Cruickshank.
I'm not getting on the "Superstar" hype train just yet.
His flashy wheel-kick knockout against Mike Rio was sensational, but I won't let it overshadow a tepid run at 155 pounds in the two years that preceded it. Cruickshank was just 2-2 and got finished by Adriano Martins. That doesn't make him a scrub, but a split-decision win over Yves Edwards was the only thing that kept him from losing three straight.
Tomorrow night belongs to Roufusport.
Final prediction: Koch def, Cruickshank via technical knockout
170 lbs.: Tim "Dirty Bird" Means (20-5-1) vs. Aoutneil "Neil" Magny (9-3)
Nostradumbass predicts: Tim Means calls himself the "Dirty Bird" and whenever I hear that, I immediately think of Saturday Night Fever from Lordz of Brooklyn because there is something not right in my head. Anyway, Means finally wised up and ditched lightweight for a run at 170 pounds, which is much better for his frame.
He's still not sacrificing much in the way of size.
Incredibly, he's still the smaller guy in this fight. Neil Magny is 6'3" and has a six-inch reach advantage. What he doesn't have, is the kind of record that gives me the confidence to pick him to win. Snapping a two-fight losing streak by decisioning Gasan Umalatov does not have me breaking out the party hats.
Means is the better striker, but the question in this fight is whether or not Magny will exploit his poor takedown defense. I have a feeling the stand-and-bang principle will apply here, as both men will want to make a name for themselves, but when push comes to shove, the "Dirty Bird" will fly away with the win.
Final prediction: Means def. Magny via technical knockout
265 lbs.: Soa "The Hulk" Palelei (20-3) vs. Ruan "Fangzz" Potts (8-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: It's hard to get a read on what kind of fighter Soa Palelei is (or will become) inside the Octagon. Footage of his putrid performance against Nikita Krylov is used to interrogate P.O.W.s and his sophomore effort resulted in a takedown/ground-and-pound finish against Pat Barry, who is about as good at defending mount as ED-209 is at descending stairs.
Outside of those two fights, the jiu-jitsu black belt compiled an impressive resume by crushing cans on the international circuit. Whether or not Ruan Potts is above or below the Christian Wellisch's of the world is unknown, because all we have to go on is a body of work in Africa.
Eight wins, eight finishes.
But Potts is also 36 years old, like Palelei, and was a dental technician before he was an MMA fighter. He does have a legitimate background in judo, but I just don't have the confidence to pick him. It's his Octagon debut, he's the smaller fighter, has much less experience than "The Hulk" and perhaps most importantly, calls himself "Fangzz."
Get it? Dental tech? FangZZ with a double Z? Ugh...
Final prediction: Palelei def. Potts via technical knockout
125 lbs.: Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso (16-5) vs. Louis "Da Last Samurai" Smolka (7-0)
Nostradumbass predicts: Chris Cariaso did a nice job of getting his career back on track after suffering back-to-back losses in late 2012/early 2013. While "Kamikaze" has been able to string together consecutive wins -- including a technical knockout over Iliard Santos -- all that glitters is not gold.
Just one finish in nearly five years, across a span of 11 fights.
That's a bit troublesome coming into his flyweight fight against Louis Smolka, who has a marked advantage in size. "Da Last Samurai" has also finished six of seven opponents and has purged his system of Octagon jitters by out-pointing "The Turkish Delight" back in January.
Smolka is 10 years younger and has a significant reach advantage. He also loves using the jab and is no slouch on the ground. I just don't see anywhere Cariaso can go where he has the upper hand. For my money, Smolka is the all-around better fighter and will prove it when it counts.
Final prediction: Smolka def. Cariaso via submission
That's a wrap.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 40 fight card tomorrow night (May 10, 2014), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 2 under card action at 8 p.m. ET and the FOX Sports 1 main card at 10 p.m. ET.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC Fight Night 40 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Brown vs. Silva."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.