UFC 198 will be sure to deliver TONGHT (Sat., May 14, 2016) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. With a slew of high-profile bouts, including one title fight and a long-awaited promotional debut, UFC 198 packs a lot of punch.
The main event will be a Heavyweight clash between current champion Fabricio Werdum and hungry contender Stipe Miocic. It is the perfect matchup of grappler vs striker, which will further feed into the unpredictability that this card possesses.
On top of the Heavyweight championship tilt, UFC 198 will feature an abundance of Brazilian superstars, including Vitor Belfort, Ronaldo Souza, Mauricio Rua, Demian Maia, and Cris Cyborg, who will be making her highly-anticipated Octagon debut against Leslie Smith at 140 pounds.
Oh yeah, did we forget to mention Matt Brown is also on the card?
As you can see, a lot can happen tonight in Brazil. With countless division hopefuls playing for keeps, the action will be hard-pressed from the jump.
In preparation for the madness, we're making some predictions. Who will have the best fight of the night? Which fighter will secure the sickest finish?
Find out below:
Demian Maia vs Matt Brown
In one of the more intriguing matchups of the night, Brazilian grappling expert Maia looks to continue his winning ways opposite hard-nosed veteran Brown, who has only lost to current Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks since 2011.
On the surface, Maia has the advantage. He arguably possesses the best ground game in mixed martial arts (MMA) today and has shown come capability of surviving on his feet. He has won four fights in a row en route to staying afloat in ongoing 170-pound title talks at the ripe age of 38.
But when you dig a little deeper, it is Brown who possesses the intangible skill set to rise to the occasion and capture victory on foreign turf. While the former TUF standout does incorporate a high level of technicality in his offense, he's at his best when he's able to draw his opponent into a brawl.
That's why this matchup is so interesting. It's going to force both fighters out of their comfort zones, into a battle of attrition, and move the winner closer to title contention.
Prediction: Maia wins via second-round submission (Performance of the Night)
While Lineker's sample size at 135 pounds is small, it's safe to say his knockout power has carried over from his days as a menacing Flyweight.
As the 26-year-old Brazilian begins his Bantamweight ascension, he's going to encounter bigger fighters capable of eating his shots. When Lineker submitted Francisco Rivera at UFC 191 in his divisional debut, it came on the tail end of a barrage of strikes that usually would have ended the fight first.
At UFC 198, Lineker will again try to harness his natural punching power to get past the ultra-underrated Rob Font, who will make only his second Octagon appearance since July 2014. Font possesses incredible length and a well-rounded standup game.
But as good and shifty as Font is on his feet, Lineker is going to find a way in. And when he does, it's lights out.
Prediction: Lineker via first-round knockout (Performance of the Night)
Many people believe that Cyborg is going to run over Smith like a runaway truck. While it's difficult to negate that outlook considering the Brazilian striker has finished three-straight fights via first-round knockout, Smith is way tougher than people think.
Smith trains alongside Nick and Nate Diaz out in California. She's used to getting beat up by bigger and stronger strikers, many of whom are more technical boxers than Cyborg. To discredit Smith at this point in time, especially after seeing the type of punishment she's capable of enduring, would be like saying Conor McGregor doesn't know how to promote a fight.
If Smith can withstand the early onslaught of Cyborg as she attempts to make her presence felt inside of the cage, she has a good chance of dragging the Brazilian into deep water. The fact that Cyborg made a difficult cut down to 140 pounds certainly isn't going to help her conditioning at UFC 198.
Prediction: Cyborg via third-round TKO (Fight of the Night)
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 198 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.