"Dragon vs. Doberman."
After impressive defeats of Cezar "Mutante" and Francis Carmont, long-time gatekeeper C.B. Dollaway has emerged as an unexpected player in the Middleweight division. This Saturday (Dec. 20, 2014), he'll look to prove he belongs in the 185-pound elite when he faces former Light Heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 58 from Ginasio Jose Correa in Barueri, Brazil.
Fifty pounds south, former Bantamweight kingpin Renan Barao will attempt to make a triumphant return when he collides with Canada's Mitch Gagnon, while Pat Cummins takes on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3" winner, Antonio Carlos Jr. up at 205 pounds in FOX Sports 1-televised main card action.
We took down the first three "Prelims" under card matches yesterday right here. Tonight, we preview and predict the final three "Prelims" bouts below.
Here's what we've got:
205 lbs.: Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Igor Pokrajac
Marcos Rogerio de Lima (12-2-1) -- after falling in his only Strikeforce appearance -- decided to try out for TUF: "Brazil 3" as a Heavyweight, choking out former Bellator champion Thiago Santos in the elimination round. Though he lost to eventual winner Antonio "Cara de Sapato" in the semifinals, "Pezao" picked up his first ZUFFA win on the Finale by knocking out Richardson Moreira in just 20 seconds.
Nine of his 12 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) wins are by form of knockout.
Igor Pokrajac (25-11) scored the biggest wins of his career in quick sequence by knocking out Krzysztof Soszynski and outgunning Fabio Maldonado in consecutive bouts. Unfortunately, he has yet to taste victory since, going winless in his last four with the one "No Contest" originally a loss as well.
He is two inches shorter than de Lima.
Pokrajac’s struggles, I feel, can all be boiled down to the fact that he has the fight IQ of an unplugged toaster. He hurt Joey Beltran every time he threw, but barely did so, not to mention that he willingly took Vinny Magalhaes to the ground despite the Brazilian clearly demonstrating his superiority there.
He has the tools to win this if he fights smart and mixes in takedowns, but I can’t reasonably expect that of him.
De Lima has serious power in his hands and some crushing low kicks as well, but has not developed the counter-wrestling to be a major player in the division. Luckily, Pokrajac will give him the fight he wants and wind up on the wrong end of something painful for his trouble.
Prediction: de Lima via first-round technical knockout
185 lbs.: Daniel Sarafian vs. Antonio dos Santos Jr.
Daniel Sarafian (8-5) tore through the competition on TUF: "Brazil," only for injury to pull him from the Finale. He has yet to find his stride in UFC, losing three of his four bouts in the promotion, although two were via split decision.
He has scored seven wins via submission.
The man they call "Junior Alpha" enters UFC as the Jungle Fight Middleweight champ, having won his last four bouts. In total, Antonio dos Santos Jr. (6-1) has scored five finishes in six wins, including four by form of knockout.
He is a late replacement for the injured Dan Miller, taking this bout on two weeks’ notice.
Sarafian has been an incredibly frustrating guy to pinpoint. The losses to Dollaway and Mutante are both understandable, but he just looked awful against Kunimoto. He’s alternated between looking like a monster and looking like a bust with such maddening irregularity that any clear assessment of his prospects seems impossible.
Still, he should be able to edge dos Santos.
Sarafian ought to be more comfortable back at 185 pounds and his Judo should allow him to impose his grappling on his late-notice opponent. While he may not be the killer we thought he’d be and I don’t recommend betting on him, I do favor him to break his current losing streak. Sarafian avoids his opponent’s power to score an early submission.
Prediction: Sarafian def. dos Santos via first-round submission
145 lbs.: Darren Elkins vs. Hacran Dias
Darren Elkins (18-4) five-fight win streak came to an abrupt halt at the hands of Chad Mendes, who knocked the former cold in just 68 seconds. He has since gone 2-1, a loss to Jeremy Stephens sandwiched between wins over Lucas Martins and Hatsu Hioki.
He is two inches taller than Hacran Dias (21-3-1), who coincidentally shares his exact same birthday.
Dias entered UFC having won his last eight fights, adding to the streak by defeating Iuri Alcantara in his debut. "Barnabe" has since struggled with his fellow wrestlers, losing close decisions to Nik Lentz and Ricardo Lamas.
He has stopped 12 professional opponents, nine via submission.
Though Dias had issues with other grapplers, Lentz and Lamas both present issues that Elkins does not, namely Lentz’s freakish pace and Lamas’ athleticism. Elkins is a very capable wrestler, but seems to lack any real explosiveness, instead winning through attrition.
Not gonna work against Dias.
The Nova Uniao veteran should be the superior striker and I expect him to win the wrestling exchanges thanks to his size and strength. Elkins will be going for takedowns and looking to impose his will until the final bell, but it won’t be enough. Dias by wide decision.
Prediction: Dias via unanimous decision
It's an interesting match up in the main event and we get to see Barao in action against an extremely game opponent. Not bad for a free card.
See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 58 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.