This? This is a grudge match.
This Saturday evening (Aug. 1, 2015) inside HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the unstoppable Ronda Rousey puts her women's Bantamweight belt on the line against her most hated challenger yet, unbeaten Bethe Correia, in the main event of UFC 190.
In addition, local legends Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will square off in a rematch 10 years in the making, while The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" 4 finalists vie for supremacy at 135- and 155-pounds.
The seven-fight pay-per-view (PPV) main card will be supported by six "Prelims" undercard bouts, two of which will stream live online via Fight Pass and the rest televised on FOX Sports 1.
Here's the first batch:
185 lbs.: Vitor Miranda vs. Clint Hester
The heavy-handed Vitor Miranda (10-4) smashed his way through TUF: "Brazil" 3 with three straight knockouts, only to come up short against Antonio "Cara de Sapato" on the Finale. Dropping to Middleweight, the Team Nogueira representative survived a rough start to stop Jake Collier at the last second of the first round, his fifth win in six fights.
The 36-year-old’s only decision win came in his debut, seven of the remainder coming via knockout.
Though Clint Hester (11-4) fell short on TUF 17, he made a name for himself by rattling off four straight wins in UFC, including a split decision over top prospect Antonio Braga Neto. In his most recent bout, "Headbussa" put on an entertaining brawl against Robert Whittaker before ultimately succumbing to strikes in the second round.
He matches his opponent’s knockout total with seven.
I recognize that this is a risky pick, but I’m actually leaning toward "Lex Luthor" here. Hester is big, quick and powerful, but not any sort of technician despite his professional boxing background. I’d favor Miranda’s powerful kicks over Hester’s wild haymakers, and while Hester can wrestle if needed, he responded to adversity against Whittaker by brawling.
Not a good idea against a precise powerhouse like Miranda.
Hester has a ton of physical tools and -- with the proper guidance -- could be a terror. He’s just not there yet. Miranda holds his own and frustrates Hester into swinging wild, at which point a head kick brings a halt to proceedings.
Prediction: Miranda via second-round knockout
135 lbs.: Hugo Viana vs. Guido Cannetti
After losing a narrow decision to eventual winner Rony "Jason" on the inaugural TUF: "Brazil," Hugo Viana (8-2) established himself as one to watch with wins over John Teixeira and Reuben Duran in his first two UFC appearances. "Wolverine" has dropped two of three since, suffering stoppage losses to T.J. Dillashaw and blue-chip prospect Aljamain Sterling. T
his will be his first Octagon appearance since the latter defeat, which took place in July 2014.
The outspoken Guido Cannetti (6-2) got a second chance on TUF: "Latin America" after a narrow decision loss, only to suffer a knockout defeat against eventual winner Alejandro Perez. Despite his setbacks, he was invited to compete at UFC 180, where a counter uppercut and subsequent rear-naked choke from Enrique Briones ended Cannetti’s night.
He has only ever gone past the first round once, knocking out and submitting three apiece.
Let’s just be upfront about this: Cannetti is screwed. The Argentinian leads with his face and lacks any sort of nuance in his striking or wrestling attacks. Viana, by contrast, has some nasty power in his hands, not to mention superior speed and wrestling.
It’s not a question of if Viana wins, it’s a question of when.
Viana’s two losses came against the current champion and one of the division’s best prospects; he’s still multiple levels above Cannetti. TUF veteran runs into one of "Wolverine’s" sledgehammer blows sometime in the first round.
Prediction: Viana via first-round knockout
Four more "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, which is capped off by an intriguing clash between the surging Neil Magny and long-time standout Demian Maia.
See you there, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 190 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.