Twelve knockouts, six submissions and one pissed-off wrestler standing in his way.
The Pit-trained Glover Teixeira has taken the Light Heavyweight division by storm, defeating four consecutive opponents and setting himself up as one of the most highly-touted challengers to the 205-pound throne of Jon Jones. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 winner Ryan Bader, unhappy with that situation, intends to halt Teixeira's impressive rise, taking on the Brazilian in the main event of UFC Fight Night 28, which takes place tomorrow night (Weds., Sept. 4, 2013) at Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Likewise, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight grinder supreme Yushin Okami will look to stop surging Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend and former Strikeforce champion "Jacare" Ronaldo Souza, who has finished his last three opponents inside the first round.
We took a look at the first three (of five) UFC Fight Night 28 "Prelims" under bouts scheduled for Facebook.com and FOX Sports 1 yesterday right here. Tonight, we take a look at the top two mixed martial arts (MMA) matches that will headline the remainder of the FOX Sports 1 broadcast below.
Here we go:
145 lbs.: Felipe Arantes vs. Edimilson Souza
Felipe Arantes (15-5) may take a little while to get into the swing of things, but he does some damn good work once he gets warm. After a well-fought loss to Iuri Alcantara in his Octagon debut, "Sertanejo" is undefeated in three fights, the lone draw a bizarrely-scored bout against the inventor of the Anaconda choke, Milton Vieira. Most recently, he scored his first UFC stoppage, escaping the mount of Godofredo Pepey to finish off the jiu-jitsu specialist with vicious elbows from guard.
He will give up four inches of height to the power-punching Souza.
The six-foot Edimilson Souza (13-3) was choked out twice in 2011 and immediately decided he was done with that nonsense, knocking out his last seven opponents. In that time, he took home the Jungle Fight Featherweight title and raised his number of knockout wins to an astounding 12.
Interestingly, the original scheduled fight involved neither of these fighters -- Arantes replaced Pepey against Sam Sicilia, only for Sicilia to withdraw, too, and be replaced by Souza.
Souza’s level of opposition may be questionable, but there is no question that he can thump. The man has legitimate one-punch power in his hands, and as one of the tallest fighters at 145 pounds, this makes him extraordinarily dangerous. In addition, Arantes is historically a slow starter, dropping the opening rounds against Antonio Carvalho and Vieira before taking over in the middle portion of the bouts.
The reason I’m picking "Sertanejo" anyway is because, for all his firepower, Souza is a bit too vulnerable.
In addition to a lacking ground game that has cost him all three of his wins, Souza is not a technician on the feet; he likes to throw a lead right hand with his head forward and his left hand at his waist. There are large holes in his standup for the brave striker to exploit, and despite Arantes’ Chute Boxe background, he is a very solid striker. Further, Arantes has a surprisingly-effective takedown and grappling game.
This fight hinges on how well Arantes can survive in the early going -- if he lets Souza tee off on him, he is going to sleep. If he can get his rhythm, exploit the weaknesses of Souza’s brawling and use his takedowns, however, he can win it.
I think he’ll do so. Look for Souza to get his fair share of licks in early, only for Arantes to kick it into gear, put him on his back, and take home his first UFC submission.
Prediction: Arantes by second round submission
135 lbs.: Lucas Martins vs. Ramiro Hernandez
Lucas Martins (13-1) may have the ignoble honor of being the most recent UFC fighter to submit to strikes, but he more than proved his heart his second time out, pulling off a miraculous comeback knockout over Jeremy Larsen after being battered repeatedly for the first 10 minutes. The knockout win was the ninth in the career of "Mineiro," with three submissions rounding out his finish-filled career.
In the span of three months, Ramiro Hernandez (13-4) lost decisions to UFC Lightweight Michael Johnson and Bellator Featherweight Jared Downing. Since that Feb. 2010 loss, "Junior" has tasted defeat just once, picking up victories over the likes of Eric Wisely and the very tough Drew Dober.
Like Martins, Hernandez will be making his 135-pound debut.
Martins has power ... that much is pretty much indisputable. It just strikes me as bizarre that someone so utterly focused on striking can be so lacking in defense. Lucas is there to be hit, and no amount of weight cutting is going to fix that -- to get hit so many times so cleanly by the likes of Larsen spells doom no matter how much you weight.
Hernandez has faced much better competition, has gone five hard rounds before and is quite well-rounded. In short, he’s a lot of things Martins wishes he wasn’t. Barring another freak comeback -- or the ever-present threat of a bomb landing in a random exchange -- I see Lucas just getting outworked all night, picked apart on the feet and occasionally dumped on his back if Hernandez starts getting bored of the butt-whooping.
Prediction: Hernandez by unanimous decision
Three fights between Top 10-ranked fighters ... not bad for a Wednesday event.
See you then, Maniacs.
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.