Four years and quite a bit of divisional upheaval later, we have a Heavyweight rematch.
Two dangerous punchers will collide once again this Saturday (Sept. 13, 2014) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Brasilia, Brazil, for UFC Fight Night 51, which will air live on Fight Pass from Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil.
In the main event, Andrei Arlovski will try to avenge his decision loss in Strikeforce against Antonio Silva, who is coming off one of the best fights of 2013 opposite Mark Hunt. Gleison Tibau will return to action in the co-main event against Piotr Hallmann, who was last seen choking out veteran Yves Edwards.
Further, Leonardo Santos will look to score his second UFC victory against late replacement Efrain Escudero.
We examined the first three of five scheduled "Prelims" under card matches yesterday evening right here. Let's now check out the top two priorities on the under card docket:
145 lbs.: Godofredo Castro vs. Dashon Johnson
Godofredo Castro's (10-3) grappling carried him through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" house, taking him to the Finale before suffering a loss to Rony Jason. Though he opened his UFC career 1-3 -- with the sole win a controversial decision over Milton Vieira -- he impressed with his back against the wall, knocking out Noad Lahat with a flying knee in March.
"Pepey" has nine finishes among his ten wins, five via submission, and all but one inside the first round.
Dashon Johnson (9-1) cut his teeth in the Xplode Fight Series promotion, racking up eight first-round finishes. His poor strength of schedule caught up to him in his UFC debut, however, as he was systematically dominated by Jake Matthews before tapping to a triangle choke in the third round.
This will mark the Featherweight debut for "Flyboy."
Frankly, I’m not impressed by either of these two. Castro’s "win" over Vieira was a horrid decision and Johnson has the most bloated record since Jason Reinhardt. Stylistically, though, I favor Castro. Johnson’s ground game is sorely lacking and, for someone with his boxing credentials, his stand up is underwhelming.
Pepey should be able to handle him whether he works wrestling or pulls guard.
Johnson built his record on flat-out unethical matchmaking. I believe Pepey has the skills to show him the error of his ways, tapping him out late in the first round.
Prediction: Castro via first-round submission
170 lbs.: Igor Araujo vs. George Sullivan
As part of Team Shane Carwin on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16, Igor Araujo (25-6) made it to the quarterfinals before losing a decision to eventual winner Colton Smith. He has since done somewhat better than Smith in UFC proper, winning decisions in his first two appearances in the promotion.
He has 17 submission wins among his 18 finishes.
George Sullivan (15-3) entered UFC an underdog, taking on Roufusport prospect Mike Rhodes in Jan. 2014. Despite the odds, Sullivan won the striking battle, extending his current winning streak to seven. He has knocked out ten opponents, including the three prior to his decision over Rhodes.
Ah, another takedown offense vs. takedown defense fight, where the entire thing will be decided solely by which one is superior. My favorite.
Let’s go with the former.
Sullivan has some power and should be markedly superior to Araujo in the striking department. Igor’s ability to dictate position is his lynchpin; if he can’t take Sullivan down, he’ll lose the decision. Based on his experience, though, I believe Igor should be able to control Sullivan on the mat for a decision win.
Prediction: Araujo via unanimous decision
Somebody's going to sleep in the main event ... at least (hopefully).
See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 51 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET, right on through the Fight Pass main card that will start at 8 p.m. ET.
Current UFC "Prelims" Prediction Record 2014: 133-56 (1 NC)