Team Alpha Male vs. Nova Uniao, Part ... some BIG number. The latter finally got a title earlier this year thanks to T.J. Dillashaw's upset of Renan Barao. This weekend (Sat., Oct. 25, 2014), it's time to see whether that's the new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) status quo.
After cruising past Ricardo Lamas in his last defense, Featherweight champion Jose Aldo will face newly-minted knockout machine -- and one-time former foe -- Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 179, which will take place inside Maracaniazinho Gymnsasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition, former title challenger Glover Teixeira will try to reaffirm his place among the elite after his loss to Jon Jones, facing recent "Rumble" victim Phil Davis in the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event.
That's not all.
We looked at the first three UFC 179 "Prelims" under card bouts yesterday right here. Tonight, we preview and predict the remaining balance below:
170 lbs.: William Macario vs. Neil Magny
William Macario (7-1) battered his way through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 2" house, picking up three stoppage wins before being tapped by Leonardo Santos at the Finale. "Patolino" rebounded impressively in Dec. 2013, thrashing Bobby Voelker, but was forced out of a May fight with Neil Magny (12-3).
The 23-year-old finished every fight prior to his UFC tenure, scoring five knockouts and ending all but one fight inside two rounds.
After a loss in the semifinals of TUF 16 and a 1-2 start to his UFC career, Magny seemed destined to be another TUF washout. The current 2014 fight season proved a banner year for him, however, as he rattled off four straight wins, including upset victories over Tim Means and Alex Garcia.
At 6’3," he is four inches taller than Macario.
Though Voelker is by no means elite, Macario impressed me enough in that fight for me to pick him. In particular, his defense and ability to mix up takedowns with power shots seem to spell bad things for Magny. Magny struggled with the wrestling of both Rodrigo "Monstro" and a hobbled Garcia, neither of whom possess the sort of striking acumen that Macario does.
Magny has won four straight, but he’s been put in some very bad spots along the way in his last two fights. Macario isn’t going to let him out of those spots -- "Patolino" opens him up with takedowns before battering him into submission against the fence.
Prediction: Macario via second-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Yan Cabral vs. Naoyuki Kotani
Yan Cabral (11-1) -- an early favorite to win TUF: "Brazil 2," was forced to bow out because of a broken hand after winning his match in the Round of 16. He nonetheless earned a call to the UFC proper, soundly outgrappling David Mitchell in Oct. 2013 before struggling through a decision loss to Zak Cummings in May.
Cabral owns 10 wins via submission, including five via arm-triangle.
The first UFC run for Naoyuki Kotani (33-11-7) was less-than-successful, resulting in a winless (0-2) record before his release. Thirteen straight victories -- 11 of them finishes -- earned him another crack in the world’s largest fight promotion, only for TUF: "Smashes" winner, Norman Parke, to finish the Japanese veteran with strikes.
He has spent the vast majority of his career at 155 pounds, but will be moving up to Welterweight for this bout, giving up four inches of height to Cabral.
I am no sage, but I have to question the logic of moving up in weight in response to being overpowered and battered at Lightweight. Kotani had no luck imposing his grappling on Parke and I expect him to have a similar lack of success against Cabral.
Cummings upset the Brazilian via his size, strength and wrestling experience, none of which Kotani possesses.
Barring a serious cardio meltdown, it’s hard to imagine Cabral losing this. Expect him to ground Kotani early and advance to his signature arm-triangle.
Prediction: Cabral via first round submission
125 lbs.: Scott Jorgensen vs. Wilson Reis
Scott Jorgensen (15-9) -- the final World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Bantamweight title contender -- ran into a major roadblock after starting his UFC career perfect (2-0), losing five of his next six bouts. Luckily, he earned a much-needed victory in June, surviving a hard knockdown to defeat Danny Martinez by decision.
He stands two inches taller than his Brazilian opponent.
Wilson Reis (18-5) earned his way into UFC following his Bellator release via four straight victories, debuting against veteran Ivan Menjivar. After winning that bout, Reis split subsequent bouts with Iuri Alcantara and Joby Sanchez, losing an extremely narrow decision to the former and defeating the latter despite being nearly finished via head kick.
Eight of his professional victories have come by submission.
Jorgensen is done as an elite fighter. His current slump included enough quality opponents to make that statement questionable, but his performance against Martinez was too poor for any doubt to remain. Reis, meanwhile, has looked excellent so far, displaying the sort of wrestling sorely missing from the arsenals of many Jiu-jiteiros.
Short of latching onto Reis and clinging for dear life, Jorgensen’s avenues of victory are limited at this point. Reis controls the clinch and threatens from the back for a decision win.
Prediction: Reis via unanimous decision
Well, the top two "Prelims" under card matches are pretty good at least. Anything extra is gravy.
See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 179 fight card on fight night, starting with the two Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
Current UFC "Prelims" Prediction Record 2014: 154-65 (1 NC)