Grizzled veteran ... Fresh-faced prospect ... Natural enemies collide.
Rising Welterweight prospect Ryan LaFlare will take the biggest step up of his career this Saturday (March 21, 2015) when he takes on grappler extraordinaire Demian Maia in hostile territory, headlining UFC Fight Night 62 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Before that goes down, Erick Silva will continue his attempt to re-establish his place as a 17-pound fighter to watch against late replacement Josh Koscheck, while top finishers Amanda Nunes and Shayna Baszler battle in the card's sole women's bout.
We looked at the first half of the UFC Fight Night 62's "Prelims" under card matches yesterday right here.
Check out the remaining balance below:
155 lbs.: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Akbarh Arreola
The hulking Francisco Trinaldo (15-4) hit a rough patch from Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2014, going 1-2 with losses to Piotr Hallmann and Michael Chiesa. Almost exactly a year after the former, though, "Massaranduba" re-entered the win column with a narrow victory over Leandro Silva.
His 15 victories are split exactly between knockouts, submissions and decisions.
The three-fight win streak of Akbarh Arreola (23-8-1) came to a halt in his Octagon debut, dropping a decision to aggressive Brazilian Tiago "Trator" in San Jose. He righted the ship in a big way in his second appearance, dropping and submitting long-time veteran Yves Edwards in less than two minutes.
"El Caballero" owns 22 professional finishes, 17 by submission.
Trinaldo, like Masakazu Imanari, is a fighter who I feel like I’m punishing myself by being a fan. He’s got monstrous physical strength, knockout power and a very good top game, but he’s frustratingly inconsistent. Plus, he’s yet to fix his cardio. If he can just get on the treadmill, tighten up his punches, and focus more on his grinding grappling than on winging haymakers, he can be a headache for a lot of the division.
Still, he should beat Arreola.
Arreola, though the taller man by two inches, figures to be at a considerable strength disadvantage. If Trinaldo can manage his gas tank well, he’s more than capable of either knocking him cold with a left hand or overpowering him on the mat.
Even if he can’t score the finish, I expect the Brazilian to take at least two rounds.
Prediction: Trinaldo via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Edimilson Souza vs. Katsunori Kikuno
Edimilson Souza (15-3) -- or "Kevin," as he is known -- joined UFC with the Jungle Fight Featherweight title in two, having knocked out his last seven opponents. After edging talented spoiler Felipe Arantes in his debut, Souza returned to his finishing ways by beating down Filipino striker Mark Eddiva in Sao Paulo.
He has 13 career knockouts and a four-inch height advantage over Katsunori Kikuno (22-6-2).
Long-time "Deep" veteran Kikuno cruised past Quinn Mulhern in his Octagon debut, only for his lackadaisical approach to defense to cost him against Tony Ferguson. Following the loss -- his first by knockout -- Kikuno dropped to 145 pounds, where he choked out Sam Sicilia in his native Japan.
Half of his professional victories are by form of knockout.
Honestly, I find this one of the most intriguing fights on the card. Souza is a physical monster held back by a predictable attack and Kikuno, when he’s got his head on straight, is a tremendous striker.
The problem is, his head’s not on straight.
For reasons I can’t fathom, Kikuno has abandoned much of what makes him dangerous in favor of that plodding, hands-down style we’ve seen in the UFC. While Souza has his fair share of technical issues (seriously, take a shot every time he opens with a 3-2 and you’ll be unconscious before his opponent is), he’s got the kind of range and power to give the karateka fits.
Kikuno has the skills to take "Kevin" apart. Unfortunately, he’s just not using them. Souza blows him out with a right hand sometime in the first round.
Prediction: Souza via first-round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Leandro Silva vs. Drew Dober
"TUF: Brazil 2" competitor Leandro Silva (17-2-1) first joined UFC as a late replacement, falling to the towering Ildemar Alcantara at Welterweight. After five straight wins on the local circuit, he returned to the organization as a Lightweight, losing a close decision to Francisco Trinaldo before choking out Charlie Brenneman.
The submission marked the tenth such victory of his career.
After consecutive losses to Sean Spencer and Nick Hein, Drew Dober (15-6) entered his bout with Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX 13 as one of the card’s biggest under dogs. Defying the odds, Dober capitalized on a failed Varner throw to submit "C4" just two minutes into the fight.
He will give up two inches of height to Silva.
Varner knocking himself out doesn’t change the fact that Dober is extremely mediocre. He’s reasonably well-rounded, but in the negative sense; he doesn’t have any one facet of his game he can use to overpower opponents.
The Brazilian showed very solid wrestling and BJJ games in his bouts with Trinaldo and Brenneman. I fully expect him to put Dober on his back and keep him there for the majority of the fight, racking up ground-and-pound. Dober is extremely difficult to finish, but a decision loss is still a loss.
Prediction: Silva via unanimous decision
Eh, it's free.
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 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.