Old School vs. New School ... Part LXII.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title contender, Demian Maia, will look for a second straight win at Welterweight before his countrymen this weekend (Sat., March 21, 2015) inside Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Standing in his way in UFC Fight Night 62's main event is undefeated prospect Ryan LaFlare, who has dispatched all four of his UFC opponents.
Before those two duke it out, though, Josh Koscheck will attempt to rebound from his epic submission loss to Jake Ellenberger against Erick Silva, while The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" 2 winner, Leonardo Santos, faces American Top Team-trained prospect Tony Martin at Lightweight.
The main card will take place on FOX Sports 1, with four of the six "Prelims" under card matches gracing FOX Sports 2 and the two prior occupying Fight Pass online.
Here's the first half of that line up:
155 lbs.: Leonardo Mafra vs. Cain Carrizosa
The heavy-handed Leonardo Mafra (11-2) competed on TUF: "Brazil" as a Middleweight, falling to eventual winner Cezar "Mutante" in the quarterfinals and to Thiago Perpetuo at UFC 149. After five straight knockouts on the local circuit, he re-entered UFC as a late replacement on the "Cerrone vs. Miller" card, where he succumbed to the grappling prowess of Rick Story.
This will mark Mafra’s 155-pound debut.
Having earned victories under the Tachi Palace Fights and Bellator banners, Cain Carrizosa (6-1) faced Chris Wade in the first fight of the ill-fated UFC 177. Unfortunately, "The Insane" did not get a chance to show his skills before Wade slept him with a guillotine choke just 72 seconds into the first round.
He stands three inches taller than Mafra at 6’0."
This one has a lot of questions attached to it -- Mafra was visibly undersized during his run at 185 pounds, but there’s no telling how he’ll handle the cut to Lightweight. On Carrizosa’s end, there’s limited footage of him floating around and he didn’t exactly impress in his Octagon debut.
I think I’ll go with the Brazilian.
In addition to his experience advantage, Mafra’s power gives him the edge on the feet and the drop in weight should help him avoid getting overpowered the way he did against Perpetuo and Story. The Chute Boxe product earns his first UFC win sometime in the second round.
Prediction: Mafra via second-round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Jorge Oliveira vs. Christos Giagos
Kickboxing veteran Jorge Oliveira (7-1) debuted in UFC in Nov. 2014 on short notice, stepping up in weight to face TUF: "Brazil" runner up Dhiego Lima in Uberlandia. "Blade" struggled with the size and grappling prowess of his opponent, ultimately dropping a split decision after spending the majority of the fight on his back.
While his first fight does not have a listed finishing time, the rest of his victories have come in the first round.
Greece’s Christos Giagos (10-3) punched his ticket to the big show with a brutal flying knee knockout of regional standout Dakota Cochrane for the RFA lightweight title. In a clash of prospects, he faced Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns in the latter’s native Brazil in Oct. 2014, tapping to an armbar in the waning seconds of the first round.
He has stopped eight opponents ... six by form of knockout.
I’m not seeing terribly much in "Blade’s" favor here. He’s up against a superior grappler with greater experience against high-level opposition. And, despite Oliveira’s kickboxing experience, the threat of a takedown should make the stand up somewhat even.
Giagos’ debut loss shouldn’t be held against him -- Burns is a true blue-chip prospect and a tough stylistic match up for "The Spartan." Oliveira is not. Expect Giagos’ grappling to overwhelm the Brazilian, piling up damage in transition before eventually putting him away with strikes.
Prediction: Giagos via second-round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Fredy Serrano vs. Bentley Syler
As with UFC 184’s Fullen vs. Torres, I had this written up for UFC 180. Since my knowledge of these two was much more fresh at that time, I think I’ll just use it here.
Colombia’s Fredy Serrano (1-0) brought an impressive freestyle wrestling pedigree into TUF: "Latin America," having won bronze at the Pan-American Games and made it to the Round of 16 at the 2008 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, his run ended in the opening round, losing a close decision to eventual finalist Alejandro Perez.
At 5’2," he is two inches shorter than his opponent.
Bentley Syler (5-0), fighting out of Bolivia, faced the much larger Jose Quinonez in the opening round, giving up more than five inches in height. Despite a spirited effort, he fell to the eventual finalist, succumbing to strikes in the first round.
He owns four professional finishes ... three in the first round.
Honestly, I liked what I saw out of Serrano. He’s pretty quick and has a very good shot. He does have an issue of running into his strikes and is probably a bit too old to make a run in the division, but he’s certainly better than the label "first-round loser on TUF" would suggest.
After watching Syler get manhandled by Quinonez, I am not confident at all in his ability to stay on his feet. Serrano’s Olympic pedigree carries him to a decision win from top control.
Prediction: Serrano via unanimous decision
Three more UFC Fight Night 62 "Prelims" bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including what I consider one of the most interesting fights on the card.
See you then!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 62 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims and main card, slated to begin at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, respectively.