With the UFC making its return to Brazil this coming weekend, it’s time to take a look at some of the fights to watch out for on a solid card with some interesting matchups.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs Lina Lansberg
The female wrecking ball that is Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino makes her eagerly awaited return to the octagon this weekend at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia in what will be her second appearance in the UFC, her first being a swift demolition of the ultra-durable Leslie Smith which lasted a grand total of 1:21. With that violent victory Cyborg improved to 16-1 with 14 finishes and left UFC fans eager to see her compete again and she will do just that this Saturday night against “The Elbow Princess” Lina Lansberg.
Lansberg (6-1) will be making her UFC debut and potential first fights do not come much tougher than Cyborg, the woman who many regard as the greatest female fighter on the planet.
As a Muay Thai fighter “The Elbow Princess” has enjoyed a great deal of success, picking up gold at both the European and World IFMA championships. Her striking has served her well so far throughout her MMA career, picking up three TKO victories in her last four outings.
Although Lansberg has an abundance of finishes in her relatively young MMA career, expect to see her take a measured approach here against the Brazilian, mixing up jabs to the head and body and using the lead leg teep to push her opponent back whilst looking for an opening for a left leg high kick.
In her previous outing with Maria Hougaard, the Swede seemed eager to push her opponent against the cage and clinch, where she would stay busy with elbows and knees in an effort to wear her opponent down. Against Cyborg that task will be a great deal harder as the Brazilian will be the larger and stronger woman. Look for Justino to come out aggressively and make the Swede respect her power early as she pushes her back with punishing punches in what will be a vintage Cyborg display as she picks up her fifth first round finish in a row.
Outcome: Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino by KO/TKO Round 1
Renan Barao vs Phillipe Nover
Former Bantamweight king Renan Barao makes his return this Saturday, as he takes on seasoned veteran Phillipe Nover in a bout which will be his second at featherweight. The weight cut to 135 pounds was a notoriously tough one for Barao, this coupled with a pair of losses to TJ Dillashaw saw him make the decision to move up a weight class.
What welcomed him was a tough task against the much larger and stronger Jeremy Stephens. The first round brought with it a lot of promise for the new and improved Barao as he appeared noticeably lighter on his feet whilst striking from range. But as the second round rolled in the power of Stephens began to cause problems for the Brazilian, as his movement slowed, Lil Heathen began to walk him down and find a home for his right hand. Whilst the third round was closer, ultimately it was Stephens who picked up the victory via decision. With the debut of The Baron at featherweight in the books many were still unsure as to what his future held at this weight.
Whilst glimpses of the old Barao and his flaws were on show for all to see in his last outing, it is important to remember that it was against a man who was ranked 9th in the featherweight division at the time and it was also a very close fight. Phillipe Nover, although a veteran himself, is a completely different kettle of fish.
Largely underwhelming since making his return to the UFC, Nover has shown nothing of the man Dana White once compared to GSP, as he has gone 1-1, arguably losing both fights. This is clearly a showcase fight for the Brazilian, nothing more nothing less. Nover is heavily outmatched in this one and the UFC have clearly made this fight to give the fans in Brasilia something to cheer about. The 32-year-old is quite durable though so this one could well go the distance but it is hard to imagine anything but a Renan Barao win here.
Outcome: Renan Barao by Decision
Roy Nelson vs Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
If the Barao vs Nover fight was the UFC taking full advantage of a Brazilian fighting in Brazil, this one is something a little different. The two are polar opposites as fights go.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, a fighter known for getting knocked out in vicious fashion takes on Roy Nelson, a fighter known for knocking people out with his cannon of a right hand. In his last five outings, Bigfoot has been finished four times by KO or TKO, so it is only a matter of time before Big Country finds the chin of the Brazilian and leaves people wondering what despicable deed Antonio Silva carried out to deserve this, in his hometown of Brasilia of all places.
There is obviously an argument that the American is on a downward slope of his own – having lost four of his last five – but the last thing to go is power, and that power is Bigfoot’s kryptonite. Anything other than a Roy Nelson KO here would be surprising.
Outcome: Roy Nelson by KO/TKO
My other predictions for the Main Card
Francisco Trinaldo vs Paul Felder – Francisco Trinaldo by grinding Decision
Thiago Santos vs Eric Spicely – What did Spicely do to deserve this? Thiago Santos by KO/TKO
Godofredo Pepey vs Mike De La Torre – Godofredo Pepey via Submission
Fionnán Rowan, Pundit Arena
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