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UFC Fight Night 83 predictions, preview, and analysis

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) -- like it so often does -- will limp across the finish line this Sunday night (Feb. 21, 2016) after injuriesdrug tests, and blood-sucking mosquitoes ravaged the UFC Fight Night 83 line up, going down inside CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

But hey, the show must go on.

Headlining the FOX Sports 1 mixed martial arts (MMA) event is a welterweight battle pitting Donald Cerrone -- bumping up from lightweight -- against Brazilian stalwart Alex Oliveira. The talking point heading into their five-round fracas is which fighter is most deserving of the nickname "Cowboy."

That should tell you how important this card is, particularly in terms of the big picture.

Nevertheless, it's free and offers some fun fights scattered throughout the main card, as well as the FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass "Prelims." To get a closer look at those contests see what the quick-witted Patty Stumberg had to say here and here.

Odds, betting lines, and best bets can be located here.

With that out of the way, let's take a quick look at the six-fights on the main card to see what's doing.

170 lbs.: Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (28-7, 1 NC) vs. Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira (13-3-1, 1 NC)

Nostradumbass predicts: I actually like this match up better than the Tim Means fight because the long and lean Alex Oliveira is a much more dangerous opponent than "Dirty Bird." Not in terms of technique or skill set, but in the way the Brazilian "Cowboy" can exploit one of Cerrone's most glaring weaknesses.

The first five minutes of the fight.

While he's been steamrolling the competition at lightweight, the Jack-Wink star has incurred his share of close calls. I had him losing the Ben Henderson bout last year in Boston and Edson Barboza had him in all sorts of trouble at UFC on FOX 11.

With "Cowboy," it's never a foregone conclusion.

That said, there is just no way I can pick the Brazilian in this showdown. Not only is he stepping up on short notice, but he has yet to face or defeat anyone in the top 15. Knocking around Piotr Hallman or submitting KJ Noons does not give you the kind of experience needed to last five rounds with a savage like Cerrone.

Expect the white flag to be raised at some point in round three.

Final prediction: Cerrone def. Oliveira via submission

185 lbs.: Roan "Jucao" Carneiro (20-9) vs. Derek Brunson (14-3)

Nostradumbass predicts: After a dreadful run inside the Octagon back in 2007-08, Roan Carneiro was sent packing. Undaunted, the Brazilian worked his way back to the big show by recycling cans on the regional circuit, then rewarded the promotion's decision by strangling Mark Munoz.

Sounds great on paper, but Munoz, 38, was long past his expiration date.

He now moves on to fight a powerful middleweight who is five years his junior and one with a 5-1 record since crossing over from the ranks of Strikeforce. That lone loss -- a 2014 knockout to Yoel Romero -- is perhaps easier to digest now that we know "Soldier of God" is playing with loaded dice.

Brunson may not be a master technician, despite training under Greg Jackson, but he's a big, powerful wrestler and three-time Division-II wrestling All-American. That's terrible news for Carneiro, who will find it nearly impossible to get his foe to the ground.

Expect a stand-up war.

Neither fighter has an advantage on the feet, at least in terms of actual striking savvy, but I favor Brunson's power and pressure more than I do Carneiro's volume and movement. "Jucao" is probably too wily to go down on strikes, but I don't expect this to be a close fight.

Final prediction: Brunson def. Carneiro via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Cody "No Love" Garbrandt (7-0) vs. Augusto "Tanquinho" Mendes (5-0)

Nostradumbass predicts: Under normal circumstances, this would be my Nostradumbass upset special, but that would require me to hide from Team Alpha Male's Andrew Richardson for the next few months and that's simply not an option (he has a pretty mouth).

Let's recognize that Augusto Mendes is a very dangerous opponent.

It's also a high-risk, low-reward fight for Cody Garbrandt and one that may require him to choose brains over brawn. Until "Tanquinho" runs out of gas -- and he will on short notice -- "No Love" has to implement a calculated gameplan that keeps himself off the ground.

Mendes has next-level jiu-jitsu and it's simply too dangerous to test it.

Conversely, Garbrandt is the far superior striker and that's been established in his six violent finishes. Also working in his favor is the TAM wrestling background, so he's well versed in repelling the shot, as well as trips and throws. I doubt this fight will go south if Garbrandt doesn't want it to.

In the absence of a full camp, that leaves Mendes a spirited punching bag for about two rounds.

Final prediction: Garbrandt def. Mendes via technical knockout

145 lbs.: Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez (14-5) vs. Tatsuya "Crusher" Kawajiri (35-8-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: This is a fairly easy fight to predict and I say that with as much respect as I can possibly muster for Tatsuya Kawajiri, who is a nightmare for any fighter who can't wrestle (which is almost everyone in Japan). But when "Crusher" meets his match on the mat, things begin to fall apart.

His 2014 loss to Clay Guida comes to mind, as does his bouts against Gilbert Melendez.

Bermudez, while coming off back-to-back losses, is eight years younger than Kawajiri and holds featherweight wins over Max Holloway and the aforementioned Guida. He's a better striker than he's given credit for and certainly better than "Crusher," recently stringing together seven straight wins.

Kawajiri's experience should not be discounted and he's always a submission threat, but he's facing a younger, hungrier version of himself -- except with better striking. Outside of a boneheaded mistake, I think Bermudez cruises to the scorecards.

Final prediction: Bermudez def. Kawajiri via unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Joe "Diesel" Riggs (41-16, 1 NC) vs. Chris Camozzi (22-10)

Nostradumbass predicts: Joe Riggs is still just 33 years old, but we may as well double that (like dog years) when you consider how many wars he's endured over the past decade. Let's also recognize that he's looked pretty awful in recent fights, with his last "win" coming by way of disqualification.

What's left in the tank at this point is hard to determine, but I do know that Chris Camozzi is the fresher foe, though not dramatically superior in terms of skill set. In addition, his record is a bit misleading, as 2014 losses to Rafael Natal and Bruno Santos were close split decisions.

This may come down to cardio.

I have a hard time imagining Riggs staying competitive for more than a round. Camozzi hasn't been knocked out in 32 professional fights, which means the one-hitter quitter is pretty much off the table. Instead, look for "Diesel" to run out of gas and get pounded on until the ref decides to have mercy.

Final prediction: Camozzi def. Riggs via technical knockout

155 lbs.: Shane "Shaolin" Campbell (12-3) vs. "The" James Krause (22-7)

Nostradumbass predicts: I was very high on Shane Campbell when he made his Octagon debut last April (stupid mushrooms), mostly on the strength of his impressive kickboxing background. But he's also a decorated Muay Thai fighter, as well.

Didn't stop him from going limp against John Makdessi.

"Shaolin" followed that up with a unanimous decision win over Elias Silverio, which is nothing to sneeze at, but it's telling when a fighter runs the table on the regional circuit but then fails to replicate that same venom on the big stage. Granted, he's only two fights into his UFC career, but he's been competing since he was 16.

Campbell is now 28.

Like his "Pittsburgh" opponent, James Krause has been around the block a few times, having fought for WEC, Bellator, RFA, Titan, and just about every other stateside regional promotion. He's a well-rounded fighter with underrated submissions as well as good -- but not great -- stand-up skills.

While he was stopped by Bobby Green in front of the "Troops," it was his only knockout loss in 29 professional fights. I'm not expecting him to get smoked by Campbell, but he will need to be extra crafty to work in one of his patented submissions.

Partly because Campbell is a purple belt, but mostly because his wrestling game is nothing to write home about.

With neither fighter in any big hurry to play to the other's strengths, I would expect an uneventful three rounds that could end up going either way, but I think "Shaolin" will be the busier fighter and likely take the decision on volume.

Final prediction: Campbell def. Krause via split decision

That's a wrap. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 83 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 9 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.

You've heard from me, now let's hear from you. Who gets it done on fight night?

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