Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has always been a huge hit in Brazil. And this evening (Sat., Oct. 25, 2014), it will put on an entertaining pay-per-view (PPV) card full of them with UFC 179, which will emanate from Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Headlining the card is a rematch for the Featherweight title, as division champion Jose Aldo looks to defeat Chad Mendes yet again, having already stopped "Money" in the main event of UFC 142 two years ago. Much like their first fight, the Brazilian backdrop makes this fight all the more interesting.
And all the more challenging for Mendes.
In the co-main event of the evening, Phil Davis will collide with former Light Heavyweight title challenger Glover Teixeira, fresh off a lopsided decision loss to current champ Jon Jones. UFC 179 also features a host of talented Brazilian fighters taking on foreigners; therefore, without further ado, check out a punch list of the night's potential top performers:
Jose Aldo (Fighting Chad Mendes): The time is now for Mendes to prove everyone wrong in this fight. I think he's improved; however, not to the degree that some seem to believe. He's still not on Aldo's level. Aldo -- for all the shortcomings fans point out -- is a rare breed of fighter, boasting a massive repertoire of talent that I don't think anyone quite realizes. Aldo's defensive wrestling makes this fight one that will probably be on the feet, and that's one you expect him to win every day of the week.
Glover Teixeira (Fighting Phil Davis): As good as Davis is, he still needs fights to go to the ground because his striking is just horrendous. He leaves himself exposed after essentially every strike thrown, and he doesn't seem to grasp the concept of effective head movement or footwork unless it's used toward setting up takedowns. Teixeira may have not looked too hot against Jon Jones, but his takedown defense is solid and he is a dangerous striker and no pushover on the mat. Teixeira has more ways to win, especially considering he may very well be able to shut Davis' offense down entirely with his solid defensive wrestling.
Hans Stringer (Fighting Fabio Maldonado): Maldonado has the name value here, but not really any notable edge in actual ability. He has solid boxing fundamentals, depending on who you ask, sure, but he's relied on durability for far too long, which is going to be his undoing in the very near future. We've seen his head rattled far too often for me to be confident in his chin anymore, much less after his 35-second long mauling at the hands of Stipe Miocic. And Stringer has proven himself to be a finisher, albeit against weak competition in Holland. I don't know what to make of this fight, other than I want Maldonado to stop taking damage ... and I know that he won't.
Yan Cabral (Fighting Naoyuki Kotani): Kotani has had two runs in the UFC to prove himself ... and he hasn't done it. He's just not all that good. Now, Cabral may not be some type of world-beater, but he has a skill set that he implements effectively, and you can expect him to use it to his advantage here. Cabral's submission game is solid, specializing in the arm triangle, and I expect we'll see that work for him in this fight.
Felipe Arantes vs. Andre Fili: Arantes is a solid, well-rounded fighter, with solid skills everywhere and several decent names on his record. He moves very well and likes to work his striking game, but he can be susceptible to fighting ugly at times. Fili is a young, talented prospect who also sports a solid all-round game, with a high percentage of his wins coming by stoppage. I think this will be a fight where Arantes feeds off the Brazilian crowd, looking to make an exciting fight, and Fili will oblige, pressing Arantes wherever the fight may go. Both men are more than capable of taking a fair bit of punishment and returning it in short order, and I expect three rounds of this in a hotly contested fight.
And there you have it.
We have a solid night of fights on our hands, with one very interesting main event atop it. There will be plenty to talk about after UFC 179 is over, so let's just hope that great fights are the reason for that ... and not only some brash Irishman's antics or some silly controversy we're all too familiar with in MMA.
Overall, UFC 179 is a solid card with solid fights. Expect to be impressed.