Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has made a habit of going to Brazil just about every month, usually providing free cards with Brazilian fighters in most, if not all of, the matches on the card. UFC Fight Night 58 is one of those cards, featuring at least one Brazilian fighter in each and every match up for this event.
In the main event, former Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida looks to improve to 3-1 at Middleweight when he takes on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 runner up, C.B. Dollaway, in a five-round contest.
The co-main event features former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao, on the heels of his first defeat in nine years and subsequent failure to make it to the cage for his scheduled rematch for the title. He will face the unheralded Mitch Gagnon, who stands to gain a lot from this fight, even with the odds stacked against him.
As stated before, the rest of the card features mostly Brazilian fighters, very few of whom I'd expect anyone to know much about aside from Erick Silva. Without further ado, I'll break down some of the fighters I believe are most likely to earn performance bonuses at this event:
Lyoto Machida (Fighting CB Dollaway): There's a vocal few mixed martial arts (MMA) fans wagging their fingers at those who are overlooking Dollaway in this fight, but there's not much in it. Sure, "Doberman" has improved markedly in recent fights, perhaps more than people are willing to admit. But, Machida is a brilliant fighter, sporting the versatility and experience to dispatch of a fighter of Dollaway's skill with ease. I've harped on a point that Machida may have a suspect chin in the past, but Dollaway isn't the guy you expect to land a knockout strike, so I'm comfortable in predicting that Machida will finish him violently.
Renan Barao vs. Mitch Gagnon: Look, I love Barao, but seeing him so helpless against T.J. Dillashaw made him look oh so very mortal. Gagnon is not a world beater, he isn't even that experienced, but I think he's got the mindset and style to push Barao to get the best out of him. I expect Gagnon to come on early and push Barao, and for the Brazilian to settle in more as the fight goes on, all while exchanging at range, in the clinch and on the ground. Barao is a level above in all of these areas, but Gagnon has the pressure and strength to make this a battle nobody will be expecting.
Erick Silva (Fighting Mike Rhodes): Rhodes was (and is) a solid prospect, but he got thrown into UFC far too early into his development. Silva, similarly, was thrown in with Jon Fitch way before he should've been fighting opponents at that level, but managed to impress in defeat. That's been the story with Silva -- he either loses in good efforts against high-level opponents or blitzes right through opponents who are a step below him. Rhodes belongs to that latter group. Silva by swift finish, however he wants it.
Renato Carneiro (Fighting Tom Niinimaki): Carneiro happens to have trained with Rani Yahya, who Niinimaki defeated in his Octagon debut. Despite only winning by split decision, Niinimaki impressed many with his aggressiveness and his insistence on fighting on the ground in that fight, even against his decorated and dangerous opponent. He tangled with perhaps the best grappler in the division, and he came out on top, so he must have some pretty good submission defense, right? Wrong. Niinimaki has lost his last two since the Yahya fight, both by submission, in addition to two submission losses earlier in his career. Carneiro is an excellent grappler and is solid everywhere else, and I expect that Niinimaki's downward trend when facing submission grapplers to continue here.
Yuta Sasaki (Fighting Leandro Issa): Sasaki is every bit the more skilled fighter than Issa, and is also bigger and younger. Both men are grapplers, but Sasaki is better there. I expect Yuta finishes Issa in short order, even in hostile territory.
And there you have it.
This is a fight card that caters to the Brazilian audience, and even then, not all the Brazilians on this card are even that notable. This is a card I'd watch solely for the main- and co-main events, even though many consider both of those fights squash matches.
Overall, not the best card, but there could be some impressive performances scattered throughout UFC Fight Night 58.