Brazilian fighters take centre stage on Saturday night at UFC 198 in front of what is sure to be a passionate home crowd at the Arena Da Baixada in Curitiba.
Heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is joined on the card by fellow Brazilians Jacare Souza, Vitor Belfort, Cris Cyborg, Damien Maia, Shogun Rua and a host of other natives in what is sure to be the greatest celebration of Brazilian MMA in history.
Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino makes her long awaited UFC debut in her home town of Curitiba and she will be hoping it will be the first of many fights in the promotion. Cyborg joins Shogun Rua in being the only fighters born in Curitiba but the fans will have a lot to cheer for as there is a Brazilian fighter in every fight on the card.
After a perfect 6/6 last week, we look to emulate that performance in our predictions. In Part 1 we look at the feature fight on the prelim card, a welterweight fight between Demian Maia and Matt Brown and the first two fights of the main card, including MMA legend Shogun Rua’s fight against rising star Corey Anderson.
Feature Fight on the Preliminary Card
Demian Maia vs Matt Brown (Welterweight)
Maia (22-6) is an elite level jiu-jitsu player who most recently bested SBG product Gunnar Nelson over 3 rounds in one of the most anticipated grappling affairs in MMA history. Maia is riding a four-fight win streak and is looking to place himself in title contention with another big win. The Brazilian’s six losses have come at the hands of six of the biggest names in the welterweight division in the past decade.
Matt ‘The Immortal’ Brown (20-13) is a long standing ranked fighter who always comes to fight. 8-2 in his last 10 fights, Brown has looked a world beater at times and his only two losses in that time coming to current champion Robbie Lawler and former titleholder Johnny Hendricks. Brown will be looking to gain some momentum in the division and a win over Maia would certainly see him move up the rankings. The veteran will definitely be looking to keep the fight standing as nine of his 13 losses have come by submission.
Warlley Alves vs Bryan Barberena (Welterweight)
Alves (10-0) will be looking to make the most of his fights late promotion to the main card, after Anderson Silva was forced to withdraw through illness. The unbeaten TUF Brazil winner has looked unstoppable so far in the UFC beating Colby Covington, Nordine Taleb and Alan Jouban, all seasoned veterans, since winning The Ultimate Fighter Brazil season 3. With six submissions and three already in the UFC Alves will definitely be one to watch going forward.
Barberena (11-3) is another hot prospect in the welterweight division, coming off the back of a submission win over UFC superstar Sage Northcutt. His prominence has never been greater and he will be looking to use this platform to announce himself as a contender at 170lbs.
Shogun Rua vs Corey Anderson (Light-Heavyweight)
Shogun (23-10) will be looking to put his recent form behind him. The former champion has lost four of his last six, although he did beat Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his last bout.
Corey Anderson, who is eight years his junior will be an extremely tough test. Shogun who has 19 KO/TKO victories in his 23 wins certainly still has the capability of causing an upset in any fight but he hasn’t won by stoppage since December 2013, when he knocked out James Te Huna in just over a minute.
Anderson (8-1), the winner of season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter, has never fought as big a name as Rua before and doing so in front of his home fans could prove to be the toughest test of the Illinois fighter’s career. With three wins on the spin though, Anderson will be hoping that his recent run of form continues and climb the ladder at 205lbs.
In Part 2 we will look at the remaining three fights on this huge PPV card.