You (apparently) wanted it, and now you've got it.
Two of the most destructive mixed martial arts (MMA) pioneers will collide for a third time this Saturday (Nov. 7, 2015) in the UFC Fight Night 77 main event when Vitor Belfort takes on Dan Henderson in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The FOX Sports 1-televised card will also feature a clash between Glover Teixeira and Patrick Cummins, as well as an intriguing Lightweight showdown between Alex Oliveira and Piotr Hallmann.
Yesterday, we previewed and predicted the first three "Prelims" under card matches that will stream live on UFC Fight Pass (read it here). We've got four more "Prelims" fights left to break down, all of which will air on FOX Sports 1.
Let's get to it:
155 lbs.: Gleison Tibau vs. Abel Trujillo
After suffering perhaps the most devastating loss of his career -- a one-punch knockout courtesy of Michael Johnson --Gleison Tibau (32-11) went on to win three straight, including a decision over Norman Parke back in January. A quick turnaround proved ill-advised, as he suffered his first submission loss since 2008 at the hands of Tony Ferguson.
He stands two inches taller than Abel Trujillo (12-6) at 5’10."
Trujillo’s high-flying loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov and "No Contest" against Roger Bowling gave way to two straight knockouts of Bowling and Jamie Varner, the latter one of the best of 2014. Like Tibau, however, he fell victim to Ferguson and has not competed since that loss in Dec. 2014.
He’s had seven fights fall through since Varner, most recently pulling out of a UFC 186 clash with John Makdessi because of a broken arm.
Trujillo’s game has two fundamental issues: His ridiculous aggression opens him up to takedowns and he can’t maintain that kind of pace for all 15 minutes. That’s a bad pair of weaknesses to have when you’re fighting Tibau. The Brazilian goliath’s strength and wrestling prowess seem well-suited to defusing Trujillo’s assault and I’m not sure the latter will have enough left in the tank to capitalize when Tibau inevitably slows down.
Trujillo packs considerable power, sure, but so have plenty of other fighters Tibau’s ground down. Without the footwork, takedown defense and cardio necessary to beat the big man, "Killa" is in for a long night of grinding.
Prediction: Tibau via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Yan Cabral vs. Johnny Case
Yan Cabral (12-1) first began his UFC journey on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 2," where he picked up a pair of submission victories before withdrawing because of a broken hand. In UFC proper, he’s gone 2-1, winning his Lightweight debut one year ago against Naoyuki Kotani.
He submitted his first 11 opponents, Kazushi Sakuraba among them.
Despite entering UFC on the heels of a questionable split decision win, Johnny Case (21-4) has been on fire in the promotion, winning all three of his fights in dominant fashion. Most recently, he swept the cards against Francisco Trevino despite suffering an ugly eye poke in the first.
He’s finished 18 opponents, 12 of them via knockout.
Cabral’s submission prowess is not to be underestimated -- should he get on top, there are few members of the 155-pound division he couldn’t dominate from there. Case, unfortunately, won’t give him those opportunities.
"Hollywood" is the better striker of the two by far, has the wrestling to stay on his feet, and can inflict some real damage from top position should Cabral surrender it. Cabral’s avenues of victory are few and far between; expect Case to batter the Brazilian before ultimately polishing him off in the latter portion of the fight.
Prediction: Case via third-round technical knockout
145 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Thiago Tavares
Clay Guida (32-15) -- who recently had his nine-year anniversary of competing in UFC -- entered his April bout with Robbie Peralta having lost four of his last six bouts. In true Guida fashion, however, he managed to avoid his foe’s power punches and grind his way back into the win column.
He has scored 15 finishes in his professional career, though none in the last four years.
This past June, Thiago Tavares (19-6-1) returned to action after nearly one year away to face top prospect Brian Ortega in New Orleans. The two put on a terrific scrap, but it was Ortega who came out on top once the fight devolved into an exhausted slugfest.
Thirteen of his wins, including his last two, have come by submission.
This fight is most likely going to suck something awful. While Tavares’ wrestling is much better than it used to be, it’s not enough to keep Guida off of him and Clay’s so risk-averse from top position that Thiago’s bottom game won’t pose a threat. Thiago’s the cleaner of the two on the feet, but not enough so that he can stop Guida from tying up.
Basically, Thiago’s not winning this if he can’t get on top consistently, which he can’t, so he’s not winning this. Guida gonna' Guida.
Prediction: Guida via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Edimilson Souza vs. Chas Skelly
Though his seven-fight knockout streak came to an end in his Octagon debut, Edimilson Souza (17-3) nonetheless picked up the win against the very tough Felipe Arantes. "Kevin" has since gotten back on track with brutal finishes of Mark Eddiva and Katsunori Kikuno.
All but two of his professional victories are by way of knockout.
Chas Skelly (14-1) had the misfortune of facing arguably the best prospect in the sport, Mirsad Bektic, in his UFC debut, but managed to make it competitive on the way to a majority decision loss. He’s rattled off three straight since then, most recently knocking out Jim Alers in February.
He’s stopped 10 opponents overall, seven via submission.
Souza’s a guy I’ve been following since his debut because he’s such a fascinatingly flawed fighter. He’s a striker by trade, but his entire game comprises the right straight-left hook combination. He just hits so stupid hard that it somehow works.
Will it work against Skelly? I don’t think so.
Skelly’s incredibly durable and packs an excellent wrestling game that should be enough to overcome even Souza’s ridiculous size and strength. Skelly’s got the goods to put him on his back and tap him out before Souza has a chance to bring that power to bear.
Prediction: Skelly via first-round submission
Regardless of what you think of the main event, UFC Fight Night 77 has several damn fine matches to support it.
See you there, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 77 fight card, starting with the "Prelims" matches online (and on FOX Sports 1), which are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised main card at 10 p.m. ET.