Prepare for violence!
Beatdown machine Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino will put her seven-year, 11-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) knockout streak on the line this Saturday evening (Sept. 24, 2016) when she takes on Muay Thai import Lina Lansberg in the main event of UFC Fight Night 95, which will take place at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil, airing live and free on FOX Sports 1.
UFC Fight Night 95 will also feature former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao taking on Phillipe Nover, as well as Francisco Trinaldo looking for his seventh consecutive win against Paul Felder.
We've four FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" undercard bouts to preview and predict this time around (check out the Fight Pass portion here), so let's not delay:
155 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Michel Prazeres
Gilbert Burns (11-1) -- a world-caliber Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist fighting out of the Blackzilians camp -- has won four of five since joining UFC, the lone blemish a decision loss to fellow blue-chip prospect Rashid Magomedov. In his last bout, "Durinho" rebounded from said loss with his third UFC armbar submission, this one over Polish grappler Lukasz Sajewski.
He has submitted seven opponents overall, five by armbar.
Michel Prazeres (20-2) has gone 4-2 in UFC, 4-1 at Lightweight, and picked up a decision win over the surging Mairbek Taisumov in 2014. Most recently, he battered late replacement J.C. Cottrell in July to earn his second win since losing to Kevin Lee in Feb. 2015.
"Trator" will give up two inches of height to the 5’10" Burns.
This is actually a pretty damn good fight -- the stylistic clash between Burns’ world-class grappling technique and Prazeres’ overwhelming physicality could make for an excellent fight. Prazeres is no slouch himself on the mat, which had me leaning toward him early in my examination, but I think "Durinho" has this upon further examination.
While Prazeres’ cardio looked solid against Cottrell, the latter had zero answer for "Trator’s" takedowns. Against opponents who can keep up with his grappling -- like Valmir Lazaro and the aforementioned Lee -- his gas tank empties with clockwork regularity. Burns is going to make him fight for every inch of progress on the mat and hold his own on the feet -- expect him to slowly take control of the fight as Prazeres’ explosiveness wanes.
Prediction: Burns via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Rani Yahya vs. Michinori Tanaka
Rani Yahya (22-8) -- a 14-year veteran -- ended his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) career on a two-fight skid and ran afoul of Chad Mendes in his second Octagon appearance. He has since gone 6-1 (1 NC), submitting prospect Matthew Lopez his last time out.
Seventeen of his 22 wins have come via submission.
Michinori Tanaka (11-1) split his first pair of UFC bouts, the second one a barnburner against Kyung Ho Kang, before testing positive for ephedrine and serving a nine-month suspension. He returned to action in January, when he scraped past former Bellator MMA champion Joe Soto at UFC 195.
He has earned five submission victories of his own.
Yahya’s fundamental issue is that his style is inefficient as all hell. Oftentimes, if he can’t get the early tap, he’ll spend the last third of the fight or so in survival mode. This causes him to lose rounds to the likes of Josh Clopton and should have resulted in a loss against Masanori Kanehara.
It will result in a loss against Tanaka.
Tanaka’s the younger man and a top-notch scrambler, the kind of opponent who is incredibly taxing to control on the mat. Yahya may have early success with his back control, but he’s not likely to force a tap and he’ll have less and less luck forcing the issue as the fight progresses. Tanaka comes on strong late to take 29-28s across the board.
Prediction: Tanaka via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Jussier da Silva vs. Dustin Ortiz
Jussier da Silva (18-4) -- once considered the best Flyweight in the world after wins over Shinichi "B.J." Kojima and Alexandre Pantoja -- opened his UFC career 1-2 with losses to John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez. The Brazilian went on to win three straight, but came up short against Henry Cejudo in Nov. 2015.
Six of the eight submission wins for "Formiga" have come via rear-naked choke.
Following a split-decision loss to John Moraga in his second Octagon appearance, Dustin Ortiz (15-5) picked up consecutive wins over fellow young guns Ray Borg and Justin Scoggins. Recent efforts have been more mixed, a beatdown of Willie Gates sandwiched between losses to Joseph Benavidez and Wilson Reis.
He owns 10 stoppage wins, six of them via technical knockout.
Before Ortiz’s loss to Wilson Reis, I’d be picking him to win this. Now, I’m not so sure. "Formiga" has the best back control in the 125-pound division ... bar none. The guy has an almost preternatural ability to get his hooks in and stay latched on until the bell saves his opponents. He’s limited by mediocre stand up and takedown games, but Ortiz doesn’t have much to offer on his feet and instead relies on aggression and impeccable scrambles to keep the fight south.
It didn’t work against Reis and it won’t work against da Silva.
"Formiga" has excellent takedown defense and decent striking, leaving him well-equipped to exploit Ortiz’s relentless wrestling attack. He may lose the third round, as he is wont to do, but he’ll dominate long enough to get the nod on the judges’ scorecards.
Prediction: da Silva via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Erick Silva vs. Luan Chagas
It’s been a rocky road for Erick Silva (18-7) -- once the talk of the town at Welterweight. The Brazilian has lost three of his last five bouts and two straight, most recently getting starched by The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 veteran Nordine Taleb at UFC 196.
He has submitted 11 professional opponents.
He was originally booked to face Shinsho Anzai, but injuries to both Anzai and prospective Silva foe Brandon Thatch resulted in this fight against Luan Chagas (14-1-1) coming together. Chagas reminds me of Silva in a lot of ways. He’s heavy-handed and a capable jiu-jitsu artist whose wins have all come by stoppage inside two rounds. He also had some cardio issues in his Octagon debut after starting extremely strong.
That said, he took that fight on two weeks’ notice.
He’s still nearly a decade younger than Silva, who looked totally pedestrian against a middle-of-the-pack Welterweight in Nordine Taleb. It’s not like "The Tiger" has lost to terrible fighters, far from it, but he’s just too damn inconsistent for me to pick him. Chagas pulls off the upset, landing hard shots midway through to put away a flagging Silva.
Prediction: Chagas via second-round technical knockout
That's a wrap for UFC Fight Night 95's "Prelims" undercard. At the very least, we'll get some quality action while it lasts. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that 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.