The baddest woman on the planet?
Former Strikeforce and current Invicta women's Featherweight champion, Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, makes her second Octagon appearance this Saturday evening (Sept. 24, 2016) when she takes on Muay Thai veteran Lina "Elbow Princess" Lansberg in a 140-pound catchweight inside Nilson Nelson Gymnasium Brasilia, Brazil.
The FOX Sports 1 broadcast will also see Renan Barao look for his first Featherweight victory inside the Octagon at the expense of Phillipe Nover, while Roy Nelson tangles with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in a clash of Heavyweight knockout artists.
UFC Fight Night 95 will feature seven "Prelims" undercard matches before the main card begins at 10 p.m. ET, three on Fight Pass and the rest on FOX Sports 1. Let's dig into the online line up first:
155 lbs.: Alan Patrick vs. Steven Ray
Alan Patrick (13-1) has enjoyed an up-and-down career since joining UFC in 2013, a knockout of Garett Whitely and questionable decision over John Makdessi leading into a hideously broken jaw in training and a knockout loss to Mairbek Taisumov. He last fought in March, taking a decision over late-notice replacement Damien Brown in the latter’s native Australia.
He stands an inch taller than Steven Ray (19-5) at 5’11."
Ray -- who entered UFC as the Cage Warriors Lightweight champion -- has yet to taste defeat in the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. He knocked out Marcin Bandel and Leonardo Mafra in his first two Octagon appearances, then picked up a decision over Mickael Lebout and was set to face Jake Matthews in July before suffering an injury.
"Braveheart" has scored six wins by form of knockout and eight by submission.
Four fights into his UFC career, I’m still not entirely sure what Patrick is supposed to be good at. He’s big and awkward, but his wrestling is underdeveloped and his striking is all flash and no substance. He’ll be at a marked disadvantage on the feet and his capable top game likely won’t be a factor considering the aforementioned wrestling issues.
Ray’s got some heavy hands and has never been stopped with strikes, making it hard to pick against him in the inevitable striking battle. Expect him to find more and more success putting hands on Patrick as the latter’s takedowns get increasingly desperate, possibly stopping the big Brazilian in the latter portion of the fight.
Prediction: Ray by second-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Vicente Luque vs. Hector Urbina
The Blackzilians-trained Vicente Luque (9-5-1) submitted Nathan Coy midway through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 21, but lost a razor-close decision to Hayder Hassan in the climactic battle and fell to Michael Graves at the Finale. He has gone on to win two straight via submission, one of them a "Performance of the Night"-winning anaconda choke of Hassan.
He has submitted five professional opponents and knocked out another three.
Team Frankie Edgar’s last Middleweight pick on TUF 19, Hector Urbina (17-9-1) lost a decision to Cathal Pendred in the quarterfinals, but managed to submit Edgar Garcia in his first UFC appearance. He wasn’t quite as fortunate against Bartosz Fabinski, who repeatedly took him down en route to a dominant decision victory.
This will be his first fight since that Nov. 2015 showdown thanks to George Sullivan’s United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) issues scrapping their planned showdown.
The last two Urbina bouts that fell through pitted him against Albert Tumenov and the aforementioned Sullivan. He’s not quite as boned here as he would have been against those two, but it’s still not going to be a fun night for him. Luque’s never been stopped with strikes and has the clear submission edge, not to mention a fairly robust wrestling game.
Urbina’s grit just isn’t enough to keep him afloat on the world stage. Luque grounds him early and locks up a choke soon after.
Prediction: Luque via first-round submission
155 lbs.: Glaico Franca vs. Gregor Gillespie
Glaico Franca (13-4) -- fighting as part of Team Shogun Rua on TUF: "Brazil 4" -- submitted all three opponents he faced in the house and did the same to Fernando Bruno at the Finale. His second UFC appearance saw him start strong, but ultimately lose a decision to James Vick’s long-range striking.
"Nego" is three inches taller than Gregor Gillespie (7-0) at 6.'
Gillespie -- a tremendously well-credentialed collegiate wrestler with a national championship and four All-American honors to his credit -- made his professional MMA debut in Jan. 2014 with a 93-second technical knockout. He has since stopped five more opponents in the first round, although he had to go the distance in his most recent effort.
He was originally set to face Joaquim Silva before the latter withdrew because of injury.
Watching Gillespie’s most recent fight, a split decision win over Sidney Outlaw, I really wasn’t impressed. He’s linear and hittable on the feet, doesn’t set up his takedowns terribly well, and struggles to maintain position on the mat. Silva would likely have been too much for him.
Franca will be too much.
The Brazilian may not be a world-beater, but he’s very big, very good on the ground, and hits reasonably hard in the stand up. Though his cardio seemed iffy against Vick, Gillespie’s only been out of the first round once and didn’t look terribly comfortable himself. I’m not sure why UFC is pitting an unproven young fighter against a well-traveled and well-rounded veteran, but it’s going to cost them. Franca fights off the takedowns and sweeps out of bad positions before locking up something nasty in transition.
Prediction: Franca via first-round submission
Four more UFC Fight Night 95 fights to preview and predict tomorrow, capped off by an excellent Lightweight showdown between top-tier grapplers. Same time as always, Maniacs!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 95 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.