Two of the Lightweight division’s most prolific finishers lock horns for five rounds of mayhem this Saturday (March 14, 2020) when Kevin Lee takes on local favorite Charles Oliveira inside Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. The ESPN+ stream also features a clash of world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu aces in Demian Maia and Gilbert Burns, the 155-pound debut of Renato Moicano, and a Light Heavyweight war pitting Johnny Walker against Nikita Krylov.
Before that, though, UFC Fight Night 170 features seven “Prelims” undercard bouts to set the main stage. Let’s begin!
125 lbs.: Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Maryna Moroz
Mayra Bueno Silva (6-0) punched her ticket to UFC with a 62-second ninja choke finish of Mayana Souza on “Contender Series: Brazil” then made her Octagon debut less than two months later. There, “Sheetara” handed grappling specialist Gillian Robertson the first submission loss of her career with an armbar off of her back.
This will be her first fight since Sept. 2018.
A 3-1 Octagon start for Maryna Moroz (9-3) — kicked off by a 90-second flying armbar finish of Joanne Calderwood — gave way to a two-fight losing streak at the hands of Carla Esparza and Angela Hill. A broken foot kept her out of action for the next 13 months, after which she returned to the cage with a decision over undefeated Sabina Mazo.
She ends a nearly year-long layoff of her own, as yet another injury scrapped an August date with Poliana Botelho.
I’ll admit to being a little short on data from which to extrapolate — Silva’s short on pre-UFC footage and didn’t get a chance to show much besides her grappling prowess in her debut. Unfortunately, it’s not her jiu-jitsu, but her offensive wrestling that’ll decide the outcome here. Moroz figures to be the stronger striker and is unlikely to throw herself into Silva’s world the way Gillian Robertson did.
Though this prediction lacks concrete evidence behind it, Moroz is the more proven of the two, and her striking skills should be enough to earn her a competitive victory.
Prediction: Moroz via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Bruno Silva vs. David Dvorak
Bruno Silva (10-4-2) scored a knockout in the opening round of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Brazil 4,” only to tap to eventual runner-up Dileno Lopes’ guillotine just 65 seconds into their fight. A 3-1-1 run, including a draw with Casey Kenney, brought “Bulldog” to the Octagon, where he fell to Khalid Taha in his debut in Oct. 2019.
His stoppage wins are split 4/3 between knockouts and submissions.
The Czech Republic’s David Dvorak (17-3) has not tasted defeat in nearly eight years, racking up 13 consecutive stoppage victories on the European scene. “Killa Khroust” has not even seen the third round in that span, dispatching nine of those opponents in five minutes or less.
He steps in for the injured Sumudaerji on a month’s notice.
Dvorak is an excellent signing, a brutal combination puncher with sharp counters and a strong ground game to lean on if things get hairy. Sure, he’s a natural Flyweight, but so is Silva, so size shouldn’t be an issue. He’s definitely the crisper boxer, though Silva’s got the wider kicking arsenal, and his takedown defense looks stout enough to stymie any attempt the Brazilian makes at taking it to the mat.
Outside of intangibles like the short notice and inexperience fighting outside of Europe, this has all the makings of a dominant debut for Dvorak. He catches Silva with a counter right for a brutal finish.
Prediction: Dvorak via first-round technical knockout
135 lbs.: Veronica Macedo vs. Bea Malecki
Venezuela’s Veronica Macedo (6-3) stumbled out of the UFC gate, dropping three straight over the span of 2.5 years while struggling with injuries. Undeterred, she finally secured her first Octagon victory last August by tapping jiu-jitsu ace Polyana Viana with a 69-second armbar, which also earned her “Performance of the Night.”
She owns two professional wins by submission and one by (technical) knockout.
Malecki represented Team Kelvin Gastelum on TUF 28, where she fell to Team Daniel Cormier’s Leah Letson in the opening round. She ultimately joined UFC one year later, choking out Duda Santana in Stockholm.
She is the taller of the two by six inches and has a 10-inch reach advantage.
The big complicating factor here is size. Malecki is defensively lacking on the feet and comprehensively outclassed on the mat. She’s also a natural Bantamweight fighting a natural Flyweight who’s been physically overpowered before. Getting through nearly one foot of reach is no mean feat, even if the person with that reach has no idea how to use it properly.
What Macedo does have going for her, though, is speed. Malecki is painfully slow, giving Macedo plenty of chances to get inside, and the Venezuelan’s offensive wrestling has looked sharp lately. Macedo drags her to the mat and puts on the squeeze before long.
Prediction: Macedo via first-round submission
Three more UFC Fight Night 170 “Prelims” bouts remain to preview and predict, among them a sleeper “Fight of the Night” candidate between Elizeu Zaleski and Aleksei Kunchenko. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 170 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.
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