Former Middleweight standouts trying their hands at 205 pounds have had mixed success, but Ronaldo Souza will look to be more Thiago Santos and less Luke Rockhold when he challenges Jan Blachowicz in Jacare’s native Brazil. Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo will also see the legendary “Shogun” Rua face Scottish grappling ace Paul Craig and Charles Oliveira look for his sixth consecutive finish against Jared Gordon.
We’ve for three more UFC Fight Night 164 “Prelims” undercard bouts left to dissect (check out the first batch here). Grab your latex gloves and let’s dig into the meat:
170 lbs.: Sergio Moraes vs. James Krause
Sergio Moraes (14-5-1) put a loss to Cezar Ferreira in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Brazil” behind him to go 8-1-1 in his next 10 Octagon bouts, stopping the likes of Neil Magny and Omari Akhmedov along the way. The 37-year-old now finds himself on a two-fight losing streak, however, courtesy of Anthony Rocco Martin and fellow TUF: “Brazil” alum Warlley Alves.
He is the shorter man by two inches and will give up 1.5 inches of reach.
“The” James Krause (26-7) has quietly assembled a five-fight win streak since 2015, the only blemish a loss to eventual winner Jesse Taylor in the third round of TUF 25. His most recent effort was among the most impressive, as he defied significant odds to knock out Warlley Alves in Aug. 2018.
Fifteen of his 22 stoppage wins have come by submission.
Moraes is a frustrating man to analyze. He seems to spend 80 percent of his time as a wild brawler, completely forgetting that he’s a legitimately world-class grappler until I start to bank on him brawling. Moraes the slugger loses this by a wide margin; Krause is the rangier, more seasoned, and more versatile striker by a considerable amount. Moraes the grappler has a real shot at victory, as Krause has a paltry 46 percent takedown defense.
I already know I’m going to regret this, but I’ll bite the bullet and say Moraes takes it. He was willing to wrestle against Ben Saunders and Anthony Rocco Martin, the latter of whom is not easy to take down, and is up against a natural Lightweight he looks to be able to out-muscle. “The Panther” once again shows a young’un what-for, dragging him to the mat and tapping him from there.
Prediction: Moraes via first-round submission
145 lbs.: Ricardo Ramos vs. Eduardo Garagorri
Ricardo Ramos (13-2) earned “Lookin’ for a Fight” redemption in his second effort, choking out Alfred Khashakyan to land himself a spot in the Octagon. He’s gone 4-1 since that victory and was last seen defeating Journey Newson to bounce back from a February stoppage loss to Said Nurmagomedov.
He has scored six first-round finishes as a professional, three of them in less than one minute.
Eduardo Garagorri (13-0) rode a streak of six consecutive first-round stoppages into his August Octagon debut, which pitted him against Humberto Bandenay in the former’s native Uruguay. Though he had to go the distance for the first time in three years, Garagorri battled his way to a dominant victory over the three-fight Octagon veteran.
All but one of his 10 finishes have come in the first round.
Stats obviously don’t paint the whole picture, but when one fighter is an elite submission artist and the other one got taken down four times by a mediocre wrestler in his last fight, it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall. Even if Ramos is probably better-suited for 135 pounds than 145, he’s so much more proven than Garagorri and so stylistically favored that this looks like a wash.
While Garagorri’s gas tank means he’s a threat from bell to bell, he’ll be a lot less of a hassle once Ramos dumps him on his rear and gets to work. “Carcacinha” works his way to the back and it’s easy work from there.
Prediction: Ramos via first-round submission
155 lbs.: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Bobby Green
An unsuccessful TUF: “Brazil” run and shaky Octagon start gave way to seven consecutive victories for Francisco Trinaldo (23-7), capped off by an impressive stoppage of Paul Felder in Brasilia. “Massaranduba” has since lost three of five, though the mixed martial arts (MMA) media had him almost unanimously beating Alexander Hernandez in their July bout.
He is eight years older and an inch shorter than Bobby Green (24-9-1).
Four consecutive victories, among them a bonus-winning submission of Jacob Volkmann and split decision over Josh Thomson, brought Green to the brink of Lightweight contendership. Sailing hasn’t been quite as smooth since, as he’s gone 1-4-1 amidst a cavalcade of injuries.
This will be his first fight in 11 months.
As annoying as some of Green’s in-cage antics are, it’s hard not to feel for him. He absolutely deserved the win over Drakkar Klose last time out, and he’s become exponentially more fun to watch since that destructive loss to Dustin Poirier. Trinaldo’s a tank, though, and is coming off of a loss against Hernandez.
Both of these guys stand to benefit from karma.
Even though he’s over 40, “Massaranduba” is still my boy. His pressure looks like the answer to Green’s fancy boxing, and the former’s ability to deal huge damage on the inside should serve him well. A heavy body attack and relentless advance carry Trinaldo to the narrowest of victories.
Prediction: Trinaldo via split decision
UFC Fight Night 164 ain’t the prettiest card, but some of these fights look like guaranteed highlight-reel finishes. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 164 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 164: “Jacare vs. Blachowicz” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.