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UFC Fight Night 62 predictions, preview, and analysis

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

By the time you read this, I will have already secured my copy of Mario Party 10 for Wii U, which means I won't be able to respond to any of your hate mail until Monday morning (at the absolute earliest).

Sorry folks, I've got my priorities.

The good news is, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has plenty of mixed martial arts (MMA) action to keep you busy this weekend -- if you're into the whole FOX Sports 1 thing -- by way of UFC Fight Night 62, which pops off this Saturday night (March 21, 2015) inside some gym I can't pronounce in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But you knew that already, because I type the goddamn thing out in every post.

Leading the charge is welterweight mystery Demian Maia. One minute the Brazilian is choking his opponents with such vigor that plasma squirts from their nostrils, while the next minute he's huffing and puffing his way to the scorecards. Is this guy a legit contender or a fading veteran?

That's for Ryan LaFlare to find out.

The 31-year-old (cough) "prospect" has yet to secure a finish in four trips to the Octagon, so he needs to dazzle the doubters if he hopes to be taken seriously at 170 pounds, something that Josh Koscheck has been finding difficult in wake of his golden sombrero.

If he loses to Erick Silva in the co-main event, I'd reckon it's splitsville.

UFC Fight Night 62 features six total fights on the televised main card (preview the "Prelims" bouts here and here) and now it's time for us to break them down to see who's a cut above the rest, and who's just better off being cut. On that note, you can see what the oddsmakers had to say here.

Enough with the potatoes. Let's get to the meat.

170 lbs.: Demian Maia (19-6) vs. Ryan LaFlare (11-0)

Nostradumbass predicts: There seems to be this prevailing wisdom that Demian Maia is shot, or simply just over-the-hill, based on what I believe is his age and what appears to be a misleading record, courtesy of consecutive defeats to top competition.

His loss to Jake Shields was a razor-thin split decision and outside of Shields' drubbing at the hands of Injector Lombard, we can all agree the former Strikeforce champ is as tough as they come at 170 pounds. Keep in mind too, that Maia convincingly won his first round against Rory MacDonald.

The gassed and started shooting takedowns from 10 feet out.

Normally, I think a layoff hurts a fighter, but the time spent sidelined with a bone infection likely favors the division's elder statesman, as this will mark his 20th fight in just over seven years, a taxing schedule when you factor in training camps, weight cuts, etc.

And let's not pretend Ryan LaFlare is lighting the world on fire.

He's certainly a talented, well-rounded fighter who can push an exhausting pace, something that immediately concerns me against Maia. He's also the better striker, but doesn't have the kind of lights-out power to send the Brazilian ass over tin cups, a la Nate Marquardt.

Where does that leave us?

It's difficult for me to pick against Maia in this fight simply because we haven't seen LaFlare face anywhere near the caliber of competition his opponent has. John Howard is a tough out, but pales in comparison to the murderer's row that populates Maia's resume.

If LaFlare can survive the first round and not get suckered into a ground exchange, he can very easily grind his way to a decision. That's the safe pick, but I believe Maia comes out with a renewed vigor, bullies his way into the clinch, and reminds us why he's a legend in the jiu-jitsu community.

Final prediction: Maia def. LaFlare via submission

170 lbs.: Erick "Indio" Silva (17-5) vs. Josh "Kos" Koscheck (17-9)

Nostradumbass predicts: I am of the belief that Josh Koscheck took this bout because it quickly satisfies the final fight on his UFC contract and at age 37, every minute counts. Would "Kos" bail on UFC and go rematch Paul "Semtex" Daley in Bellator? He would for the kind of money Viacom is willing to pay.

Don't laugh, "Tito vs. Bonnar" drew two million viewers and this is the same promotion that booked "Kimbo vs. Shamrock."

What does that have to do with fighting Erick Silva?

Knowing that Koscheck has options (outside of mandatory retirement) may leave him feeling pretty good about his future, win or lose, so there may not be that sense of desperation required to beat Erick Silva, who is definitely beatable. Jon Fitch dumped and humped his way to the scorecards and there's no reason "Kos" can't do the same.

Unless pride gets in the way.

Silva is about as good -- and as violent -- as any welterweight on the planet in the opening round, with punishing strikes and stingy takedown defense. Koscheck needs to tuck tail and run for the first five minutes, then capitalize on the exhausted Brazilian in rounds two and three.

If he doesn't, it's goodnight Irene.

Final prediction: Silva def. Koscheck via submission

155 lbs.: Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira (10-1-1) vs. Gilbert "Durinho" Burns (9-0)

Nostradumbass predicts: Oh cool, another lightweight "Cowboy," a nickname that has become Pitbull-ish in its popularity. But does Alex Oliveira have the skills that Donald Cerrone has?

That much remains to be seen.

Unfortunately for the rookie, who took over on short notice for the oft-injured Josh Thomson, Gilbert Burns is one of the more promising prospects this division has to offer, with a rapidly-improving striking arsenal to complete his already potent grappling game.

While his UFC wins come over C-level competition, it's hard not to like what we've seen thus far and let's face it, Oliveira is on par with the two fighters "Durinho" has already bested, so I would expect a similar outcome. It may take him a few minutes to get warmed up but once he does, it's going to be a matter of when, not if.

Final prediction: Burns def. Oliveira via submission

155 lbs.: Tony Martin (9-2) vs. Leonardo Santos (13-3-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: I do not have high hopes for this fight. I understand that Tony Martin is the cat's meow after submitting Fabricio Camoes, who was expected to be the superior grappler, but let's not forget Martin was tapped himself by Beneil Dariush.

He's a well-round fighter, huge for the division, and at age 25, still has youth on his side.

The same can't be said for his Brazilian counterpart. Santos is a decade his senior and doesn't have a lick of striking, notching just one knockout finish in 17 professional fights. His ground game is above average but his methods for getting the fight south are not.

I wish there was more to deconstruct here, but this looks to be, at best, a three-round battle for position.

Final prediction: Martin def. Santos via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Shayna "Queen of Spades" Baszler (15-9) vs. Amanda "Lioness" Nunes (9-4)

Nostradumbass predicts: Shayna Baszler, a decorated grappler with 14 taps in 15 wins, came into UFC riding an impressive record on the regional circuit. But her first chance to prove she was the legend she claims to be, Bazzy was embarrassed by the younger and far less experienced Julianna Pena.

A fighter Baszler claimed "did not belong in the same cage as her" prior to their TUF 18 fight.

Then came her chance to right the ship against Bethe Correia at UFC 177 -- following a lengthy injury layoff -- and she got destroyed. That makes two straight losses to go with the TUF fiasco. What's more troubling is that Baszler looked wholly apathetic against the Brazilian, devoid of any skill or fight IQ.

If that happens tomorrow night, she's toast.

Nunes may not be the ground specialist that Baszler is, but she doesn't need to be. As we've seen in previous fights against aggressive punchers -- Cris Cyborg and Tara LaRosa come to mind -- the "Queen of Spades" shells up and tries to weather the storm.

Considering "Lioness" has eight knockouts in nine wins -- compared to zero for Baszler -- that's a death sentence.

The Brazilian has proven to be vulnerable because her cardio is suspect and her defense is below average. But these are not areas that Baszler can exploit because she's not the aggressive smasher that Cat Zingano is, who was able to take some to give some.

Unless Nunes completely self destructs, or Baszler took a bite of Andy's candies, this has the makings of a first-round slaughter.

Final prediction: Nunes def. Baszler via technical knockout

145 lbs.: Andre "Touchy" Fili (14-2) vs. Godofredo "Pepey" Castro (11-3)

Nostradumbass predicts: Godofredo Castro had a terrific 2014 fight campaign, winning (and finishing) back-to-back fights. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to erase the memory of 2013, in which he was KTFO in consecutive appearances and nearly cut.

"Pepey" has power, but his offense is serviceable, at best. In order to be a great striker, you must have defense to complement your flashy strikes, which the Brazilian does not. In addition, he has a formidable ground game, but "meh" wrestling.

That's going to cost him dearly.

Fili has better stand up, but his defense is also problematic, though not to the degree of his opponent. Since "Touchy" doesn't have to worry about the ground game -- what he lacks in shot repellent he makes up for in scrambles -- he'll have the chance to exploit the considerable holes in Castro's striking game.

A first-round finish would not surprise me.

Final prediction: Fili def. Castro via technical knockout

That's a wrap. will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 62 fight card RIGHT HERE, 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.

For more on tomorrow night's UFC Fight Night 62 event click here.

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